The Scoop on Cisco’s New CCNP Routing and Switching Certification

datacenterGuy1On July 29, 2014, Cisco announced the new Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Routing and Switching certification, along with related training curriculum and exams.

Cisco’s renaming of “CCNP” to “CCNP Routing and Switching” is to better align with the other CCNP-level certifications such as CCNP Security. In the spring of 2013, Cisco announced a similar naming scheme with the last iteration of CCNA, renaming it to CCNA Routing and Switching. The CCNP Routing and Switching content also now aligns better with the current CCNA Routing and Switching curriculum.

To determine the requirements for the CCNP Routing and Switching certification, Cisco conducted a job-role analysis. As a result, the new certification provides IT and technical professionals with the skills needed to plan, implement, verify and troubleshoot complex network solutions.

The CCNP Routing and Switching curriculum includes three updated Cisco-authorized recommended training courses. These courses reflect up-to-date technologies, including a big focus on IPv6. Topics that are covered in detail in other certifications, including wireless, voice and video, have been removed. The three courses are:

ROUTE – Implementing Cisco IP Routing v2.0
ROUTE provides you with the knowledge and skills needed to plan, implement and monitor a scalable routed network. You will focus on routing protocols for both IPv4 and IPv6: EIGRP and OSPF for within an enterprise, and BGP for enterprise Internet connectivity. You will also learn how to redistribute routes, implement path control and secure Cisco routers.

SWITCH – Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks v2.0
SWITCH provides the knowledge and skills needed to create an efficient and expandable enterprise network. You will focus on Layer 2 and multilayer switch functions, including VLANs, trunks, inter-VLAN routing, port aggregation, spanning tree, and first hop redundancy, as well as network security and high availability features.

TSHOOT – Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP Networks v2.0
In TSHOOT, you will learn and practice techniques to monitor and troubleshoot routed and switched networks through extensive hands-on lab exercises. You will first explore troubleshooting methods, approaches, procedures and tools. After being introduced to a series of different organizations, you will receive a set of troubleshooting scenarios for each. You will attempt to solve as many of the troubleshooting tickets as you can; the lab debrief includes review information that will help you further understand the specific issues raised in the scenarios.

There are also new exams based on updated exam topics, which are available on the associated exam pages (see the links in the table below). Note that the last day to take the old exams is January 29, 2015:

Old exam number (version 1)
New exam number (version 2)
ROUTE 642–902 300–101
SWITCH 642–813 300–115
TSHOOT 642–832 300–135

For those who have already started on the CCNP Routing and Switching certification path, there is no need to panic. Cisco says that any combination of v1 and v2 exams is acceptable. For example, if you have already passed the ROUTE 642–902 exam, you do not have to take the new ROUTE 300–101 exam. See the CCNP exam combination tool for details.

Note that the TSHOOT v2 exam assumes knowledge of ROUTE and SWITCH v2 topics, so be sure to review the appropriate exam v2 topics when studying for the TSHOOT v2 exam. Alternately, if you have already passed the ROUTE and SWITCH v1 exams, you may consider taking the TSHOOT v1 exam before it expires.

The ROUTE and SWITCH exams are also required for the Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP) certification; the new exam numbers are now reflected in the CCDP requirements.

Like all Cisco career certifications, CCNP Routing and Switching certification is valid for three years.