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.
Dig Deeper on Networking careers and certifications
Related Q&A from David Minutella
Get advice on which wireless networking certificate to pursue after completing a CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) course, from our expert ... Continue Reading
Learn in depth details about the cost and logistics of how and where to take the two part CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) exam. Continue Reading
Becoming a Cisco Certified Network Associates (CCNA) takes much more than memorizing brain dumps or taking short cuts to pass the exam. Get advice on... Continue Reading