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Should I Bail on ROUTE, SWITCH, and TSHOOT in Favor of 300-401?

Jul 8, 2019 3:41:39 PM / by James Hanback

By now, you've heard that the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification track in its current form of three exams and a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) prerequisite is retiring. The last day to obtain a CCNP credential by using the current exam track is Feb. 23, 2020. On Feb. 24, 2020, the current track is being replaced with a track that requires passing two exams but has no prerequisite. This new credential is titled CCNP Enterprise.

The CCNP Enterprise credential requires a candidate to pass the core exam numbered 300-401 and one of any of the following concentration exams:

· Implementing Cisco Enterprise Advanced Routing and Services (ENARSI) 300-410

· Implementing Cisco SD-WAN Solutions (ENSDWI) 300-415

· Designing Cisco Enterprise Networks (ENSLD) 300-420

· Designing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks (ENWLSD) 300-425

· Implementing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks (ENWLSI) 300-430

· Automating and Programming Cisco Enterprise Solutions (ENAUTO) 300-435

Of particular note in this new track is that CCNP Wireless and CCDP are now concentrations in Enterprise instead of separate credentials.

However, until Feb. 24, Cisco requires you to obtain a CCNP Routing and Switching credential by already having a CCNA credential in addition to passing the 300-101 ROUTE exam, the 300-115 SWITCH exam, and the 300-135 TSHOOT exam. Furthermore, you can obtain a CCNP Wireless credential or a Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP) credential by obtaining the CCNP Routing and Switching credential and then taking the appropriate concentration exam.

Most CCNP candidates take the exams in succession over time. For example, you might choose to start studying for the 300-101 ROUTE exam immediately after you obtain your CCNA credential. After you take and pass the ROUTE exam, you might then study for and take the SWITCH exam. After passing the SWITCH exam, you might choose to study for and pass the TSHOOT exam to complete your certification. In other words, obtaining a CCNP credential on the existing track takes time.

If you've already spent a reasonable amount of time and money studying for the CCNP Routing and Switching credential in its current form, you might be wondering whether all that time and money have been wasted. They have not. Cisco has implemented a migration policy for candidates who are already invested in the existing exam track. Therefore, Cisco’s advice for existing candidates is to keep working toward your credentials on the current track. As of this writing, you have more than six months to complete the credential. That's at least two months of study time per exam for CCNP Routing and Switching. If you’ve already passed one or two of the CCNP Routing and Switching exams, then you have even more time to study for any remaining exams you must sit. Moreover, you’re in a better position to obtain the new credential even if you miss the Feb. 23, 2020, deadline.

If you just started studying for your first CCNP exam, two possible outcomes are awaiting you when the changeover date hits:

1. You completed only one or two exams on the existing track.

2. You completed the entire track and gained your CCNP Routing and Switching credential.

If you completed the entire CCNP Routing and Switching track, congratulations, your new CCNP credential will automatically become the new CCNP Enterprise credential on Feb. 24. In addition, you’ll receive two specialist credentials: Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Core and Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Advanced Infrastructure Implementation. You won’t need to take any additional exams to obtain the new credential, although you will need to recertify every three years by either submitting continuing education credits or by taking qualifying exams.

There are several possible outcomes if you were not able to complete the entire Routing and Switching track before Feb. 24. For your convenience, those outcomes break down as follows:


In other words, if you completed only the 300-101 ROUTE exam or only the 300-115 SWITCH exam, you’ll need to sit the 300-401 exam and choose a concentration exam from the list of six to complete your credential. However, if you manage to take and pass both ROUTE and SWITCH before Feb. 24, you automatically receive the Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Core credential. The Specialist – Enterprise Core credential means that you need only take one of the six new concentration exams to complete CCNP Enterprise Core.

If you take and pass the TSHOOT exam before Feb. 24, 2020, but still need ROUTE or SWITCH, you'll receive the Cisco Certified Specialist – Enterprise Advanced Infrastructure Implementation credential. On or after Feb. 24, 2020, you'll need to take and pass only the core exam, 300-401, to obtain the CCNP Enterprise credential.

Confusing? Yes. To make it easier, Cisco has created a Web-based migration tool that allows you to specify the exams you have passed on the existing track and then tells you what you’ll need to pass on the new track to complete your credential. There are similar migration tools for the CCNP Wireless credential and the CCDP credential. If you successfully obtain CCNP Wireless before Feb. 24, you will receive the new CCNP Enterprise credential and three Wireless specialist credentials. If you successfully obtain CCDP before Feb. 24, you will receive the new CCNP Enterprise credential and two Design specialist credentials.

Using the above information, you could theoretically obtain your CCNP credential by taking only two exams even if you start the process before Feb. 24. If you were to take and pass the TSHOOT (300-135) exam before Feb. 24, then take and pass the ENCOR (300-401) exam after Feb. 24, you will have obtained your CCNP Enterprise credential. However, playing it this way is risky because study materials are widely available right now for all three of the CCNP Routing and Switching exams. Nothing yet exists for CCNP Enterprise.

Regardless of the exam path, if you've already begun working toward your CCNP credential, you should keep going. Putting all that you've already invested aside to wait for the changeover only increases the amount of money and time you'll spend overall.

Topics: ccnp class, SWITCH exam, ROUTE exam, TSHOOT exam, CCNP, CCNP Network Simulator, Cisco Update, Cisco 2020

James Hanback

Written by James Hanback

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