I have just completed my CCNA certification and I wanted to continue further with this process. So I would like your advice on following points:
Thanks for writing. If you're interested in working on Cisco systems and equipment full-time, the CCNP is not a bad (nor terribly expensive) certification to obtain, but the CCSP is indeed growing in popularity, acceptance, and demand as well.
I'd let your interests dictate your certification direction: CCNP if you're more interested in networking infrastructure than in information security, and CCSP if vice-versa. I'm not aware of any free certifications, especially in the Cisco domain.
As for the ideal path to certification, that depends on the individual seeking same, and his or her technical interests and abilities (as well as budget, to some extent). If you'd care to tell me more about your education, experience, and interests, I can probably provide more pointed advice in return.
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