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Is it possible to adequately prepare for the CCNP on my own without taking any training classes?

I just finished CCNA 640-801. I plan to start studying for the CCNP soon. When will the current CCNP exam portion expire? Do you think I can adequately prepare for it on my own with the aid of Boson simulation tests? If I do get CCNP, what salary range should I expect?
Cisco has not made any announcements per se when the current revision of CCNP will retire. They changed the exam revision in September 2003 and the exams usually have a shelf life of at least 3 years (with minor revisions along the way).

Self-studying the CCNA is remarkable accomplishment so you must be a disciplined learner. The CCNP is equally if not more difficult to study solo since the exams are increasingly more difficult and also contain those nasty simulations which will require you to be familiar with a wider range of equipment types and configurations. The Boson simulation software (I assume you are referring to their Netsim product) luckily covers a portion of the equipment and configurations, but will not ultimately guarantee certification success by itself since the exams grill you above and beyond.

As far as a salary, the average salary in 2004 for a Cisco Certified Network Professional was around $72.000. However, value of the certification goes beyond the salary, especially if you are in the market for a new job.

This was last published in February 2005

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