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Passed CCSA, where to next as a Network Engineer?

Discussion in 'Networks' started by BraderzTheDog, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    Hi CF,

    Hope you guys are all well,

    I have a quick question, I've now passed my CCSA (Checkpoint Firewall R75 Qualification) after getting a job in the Network Security industry approx 5 months ago. I'm so pleased to have accreditation in the industry I work in, however at the back of my mind I'm still thinking should I do CCNP?

    At the moment my company don't do any Cisco as we are a solely Network Security and as far as security goes with Cisco kit, its not that good :p
    I still feel as though I want to learn the more advanced networking concepts, and not get too bogged down in security.

    I know my next port of call at work would be to get the Juniper SSG / Checkpoint CCSE cert, by I still wonder to myself... How does BGP work... I want to learn about an MPLS etc... I do understand these basic concepts as firewalls usually tie sites together over an MPLS etc.

    So what do you guys recon? Get more experience in the Security sector or train for the CCNP / CCIE?

    Regards,
    Brad.
     
    Certifications: CCNA R&S, CCNA-SEC, CCSA, JNCIA FWV, MCITP, MCTS, MTA, A+
  2. Coupe2T

    Coupe2T Megabyte Poster

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    If it were me I would learn it but probably not take the exam just yet. Generally CCNP would be for people with several years good experience with Cisco kit etc, and you may find it almost hinders you a little should you look for another job later on down the line actually using Cisco kit.

    I would say it is better to get certified in stuff you use all the time and can back up, then if you do move to work with Cisco kit later, get a years or two's proper experience behind you then look toward CCNP and so forth.

    Just my opinion, but as said you may get caught out later on if you are over qualified and underskilled on the equipment, especially as many interviewers now ask you to do lab stuff to see what you know, and real lab stuff is always very different unless you have worked in a production environment imo.

    Good luck with whatever you decide though matey! You seem to be knocking the certs out in a short time period! lol.
     
    Certifications: ECDL, Does that Count!?!
  3. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    Sound Advice I thinks,

    I do enjoy security and I know you have a Networking job Coupe? I don't know where abouts you are on the cert ladder, but I always look at things like this.

    For all the policy amendments / migrations I do on a day to day basis, my colleagues know I can do this but does anyone else? I suppose thats why most people get certs to show off sort of and thats kind of what I did by taking to CCSA today. I found the questions quite straigh forward (even though written in Israel-ish ;) )

    With the CCNP in R&S its not really that I want the cert to show off, its that I want to understand the core foundations of IP networks; the cert is always nice the knowledge is even nicer :D

    Think I should stay where I am for the time being, maybe do the Juniper SSG Firewall cert (as this is also my bread and butter) then maybe take a proxy training course such as Bluecoat or Bloxx, then once I have these nailed it will give me a good year in networking!

    OMG can you believe I've been working as a network engineer for 6 months already! How time fly's!

    Hope your doing well in your studies and work, and thanks for the advice :)
     
    Certifications: CCNA R&S, CCNA-SEC, CCSA, JNCIA FWV, MCITP, MCTS, MTA, A+
  4. Coupe2T

    Coupe2T Megabyte Poster

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    Haha, studies just ain't happening mate! Between work and a young family I essentially have no time to myself whatsoever!

    I've not done any Certs at all yet, I've always relied on my ability to manage people and arrange things to progress! I'm a big believer though that I can do anything almost in IT etc, I just need a year or two learning what is likely 95% repetition and spotting a problem and so forth.

    Having said all that, I really need to do my CCNA. If I don't do it soon then the exams will change loads and will have loads more study to do on things like IPV6! Yay! Lol.

    If I was you I would go Bluecoat with proxy training, in my experience etc that seems to be the most widely used in decent organisations! Obviously not always the case but just from what I have seen! :-)
     
    Certifications: ECDL, Does that Count!?!
  5. johnmartin

    johnmartin New Member

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    If you want to pass CCNP / CCIE exams, do not worry just use ****** exam preparation material and pass your final exam with ease.
    Please check
     
  6. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    Hmmm... Not sure what this is but it sounds braindumpy? Correct me if im wrong... Not really too concerned about the cert, I just want the knowledge of advanced routing protocols and especially the configuration of MPLS.
     
    Certifications: CCNA R&S, CCNA-SEC, CCSA, JNCIA FWV, MCITP, MCTS, MTA, A+
  7. johnmartin

    johnmartin New Member

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    You are not wrong but these are really helpful for exam preparation.But if you are looking for practical knowledge then these are not might help you.
     
  8. Coupe2T

    Coupe2T Megabyte Poster

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    Braindumping is not helpful for anything. It only serves to devalue certifications that others work very hard to obtain.

    You should only tackle any exam once you know and understand the knowledge required to obtain said cert!!!
     
    Certifications: ECDL, Does that Count!?!
  9. Simonvm

    Simonvm Kilobyte Poster

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    Braderz. Just out of curiosity, how did you prepare for the Checkpoint Exam?

    I've looked at it, and saw the insane prices for the PDF on the Checkpoint site. Any books or public domain stuff you can recommend?
     
    Certifications: MCITP: EST, MCDST, MCTS, A+, N+, CCNP, CCNA Wireless
  10. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    Hi Simon,

    Well the preparation wasn't too difficult as I work with this pretty much all day everyday along with Juniper so the main topics in terms of configuring I found straight forward as I do it alot.

    The things I recommend to prepare:

    1. You get a free 15 day evaluation of Checkpoint products, you will need to create a login or source by other means.
    - the great thing is Checkpoint works by software blades so you don't need any additional boxes for monitoring / VPN / IPS setup at all, it can all be virtualised on vmware. (This kind of means you will need to take a migration and rebuild every 2 weeks)

    2. Read the older books, my work are a Checkpoint partner so we get the all the new books etc... Yes the kit that costs $600... its not very good. The best book to have is the R71 book. Its about 500 pages and covers everything for the exam.

    If you need any assistance on any of this PM me :)
     
    Certifications: CCNA R&S, CCNA-SEC, CCSA, JNCIA FWV, MCITP, MCTS, MTA, A+
  11. Simonvm

    Simonvm Kilobyte Poster

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    Awesome, thanks for the info! I have a couple of UTM's laying around at work. Something to play with during the winter :)

    First have to get that CCNP done though :twisted:
     
    Certifications: MCITP: EST, MCDST, MCTS, A+, N+, CCNP, CCNA Wireless
  12. Monkeychops

    Monkeychops Kilobyte Poster

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    If it's network security you like and want to progress through for a career then I'd guess the CCNP would be good to aim for.

    Whilst not security specific I would have thought that higher level network security roles would want people with a solid networking background backed up with some industry certs.

    Your current employer may not use Cisco, but a lot of other people do, so looking ahead it's technology you are likely to come across when looking for jobs in future.
     
  13. BraderzTheDog

    BraderzTheDog Kilobyte Poster

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    Yeah valid point,

    I sometimes think, everyone else uses cisco except us. I suppose if I never do cisco I'm limiting my career prospects drastically...

    Its a difficult decision to make. :(
     
    Certifications: CCNA R&S, CCNA-SEC, CCSA, JNCIA FWV, MCITP, MCTS, MTA, A+
  14. Monkeychops

    Monkeychops Kilobyte Poster

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    I'm not 'in' networking as such (but am in security) so I'm not sure how much stuff would be in the CCNP that is totally vendor specific, or whether there is a lot of info covered that has value outside of the Cisco world.

    But as you say a lot of people use Cisco, certainly all the places I've worked have (all large companies) so can't harm your career if it's network focused.
     
    BraderzTheDog likes this.
  15. benou

    benou New Member

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    Hi guys,

    I passed my CCNA Security a couple of days ago and I am now looking towards starting CCSA R75. I had a good look over the web and I am struggling to understand where to get study materials. The Checkpoint website recommends to purchase a $600 study guide, that I obviously can’t afford (who can for an entry-level cert?!).
    I was wondering what was the best course of action to find appropriate books for the certification for a decent price (similar to the Cisco ones)?

    Cheers,
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
  16. demarrer

    demarrer Byte Poster

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    Hi, congratulations on the CCNA sec... hopefully my next stop too.

    Don"t by the 600 study guide. It's not worth the money.
    Much better to signup for a free account on the checkpoint website and download the ISO for secureplatform or GAIA OS.
    In the iso you have all the consoles 'the gui for the firewall if you like'. You can use this in demo mode to learn EVERYTHING you need. Get a copy of all the administration guides from the check point website, they are free. Check out the blogs on the internet about check point technology. If you can get some experience on it too.

    Don't discount cisco in the world of security. The ASA is a good firewall and cisco have just bought Sourcefire for IPS. So things are getting interesting. For me Juniper is the most hideous pile of ***** I have ever worked with. ... but that's just and opinion of course :)

    good luck. Let us know if you need more help.

    PS --- completely agree Couple2T, braindumps are NOT helpful for exam preparation, it is CHEATING. You cheet yourself, the industry and your colleagues. o.k getting of soap box NOW!
     
    Certifications: A+, Security +, CCNA, CCSA
    WIP: music, (dreaming of) CCIE Security :D

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