Q

Will I get any benefit if I pursue CCIP before attempting CCSP?

I've recently completed CCNP certification and would like to pursue Cisco's security certification, CCSP. At Cisco's website I found that prerequisite for CCSP is either CCNA or CCIP. So, will I get any benefit if I pursue CCIP before attempting CCSP. Isn't it strange to have CCIP as prerequisite because anyone who holds CCIP is CCNA as well? Also, why not CCNP as a prerequisite if CCIP is there? I'm a bit confused over it.
Certification requirements don't always make completely rational sense. The CCIP is a credential aimed at those who work in service provider environments (ISPs, communications providers, telecomm companies and so forth). My gut feel is that this is mentioned as a possible prerequisite to let such people know that CCSP is as worthwhile for them as it is for other IP professionals. Looking at the exam line-ups for CCNP versus CCIP, here's what pops up:

CCNP: CCIP
642-801 BSCI: 642-801 BSCI (composite exam 642-891 also applies, but replaces 801 and 811 for CCNPs)
642-811 BCMSN: 642-642 QOS
642-821 BCRAN: 642-661 BGP
642-831 CIT: 642-611 MPLS (there's also a 642-691 that combines both BGP and MPLS)

What you see in the CCIP is much more emphasis on infrastructure and IP backbone/external routing and services delivery, as compared to the CCNP, which puts more emphasis on internal networks, switching and troubleshooting topics. My best guess is that topics in the CCIP are thought to be more relevant to CCSP than those in CCNP; as to why this is the case, however, I have no clue.

No need to let this slow you down, however, nor to distract you from your plans. Go for the CCSP if you like: as a CCNP you must also have a CCNA in there somewhere!

This was first published in September 2005

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