With technology making advances at a rocketing speed, it’s important to take advantage of data center teams to scale and secure data infrastructure.
Thus, to capitalize on these opportunities, data center professionals need a wide range of skills, which is exactly what the CCNP Data Center certification provides.
Let’s learn more about the CCNP Data Center exams and how to prepare for them.
What is CCNP Data Center?
The CCNP Data Center certification helps you prepare for professional-level job roles in data center technologies like Cisco. The certificate also includes programmability and automation to help scale your data center infrastructure.
a. Definition and Overview
Attaining the CCNP Data Center certification is a testament to your skills with data center solutions.
Candidates wishing to sit for the exam need to have a deeper focus on strategic technology areas. To acquire the certification, you need to take two exams:
Thus, you can customize the certification according to your technical area of focus.
b. Importance in the industry
The CCNP Data Center exams are developed to test and explore industry-standard topics like switching and routing protocols. The exam thus proves an IT professional’s comfort level when implementing core Cisco data center technologies.
c. Ideal candidates for the certification
The ideal candidate will have three to five years in implementing security solutions. Nonetheless, there aren’t any formal prerequisites for the CCNP data center, so any network engineer aspiring to take the exam can do so.
The CCNP Data Center exams include two major components. Let’s look at them in detail.
1. Core Exam
The core exam tests the candidate’s knowledge of implementing core data center technologies like computing, automation, storage network, security, and network.
DCCOR 350-601 (Implementing Cisco Data Center Core Technologies v1.1)
Implementing Cisco Data Center Core Technologies v1.1 (DCCOR 350-601) is a 120-minute long exam that candidates take as a part of the CCIE and CCNP Data Center Certifications.
The list of topics and their relative percentages are given here:
2. Concentration Exams
The concentration exams certify a candidate's knowledge. It provides engineers and other IT professionals proof that the candidate has the expertise and high-demanding skills that make them a perfect candidate.
300-610 DCID (Designing Cisco Data Center Infrastructure)
The Designing Cisco Data Center Infrastructure is a 90-minute long exam. It is a concentration exam taken with the core exam for the CCNP Data Center Certification.
The exam focuses on the candidate's knowledge of data center infrastructure design, including network, compute, automation, and storage networks.
Here is an overview of the focus areas in the exam. However, other related topics may also appear on the exam.
300-615 DCIT (Troubleshooting Cisco Data Center Infrastructure)
The second component is also a 90-minute exam that fortifies a candidate’s knowledge of troubleshooting a data center infrastructure including computing platforms, automation, storage network, management, networks, and operations.
The basic topic list is given below. However, also note that the question’s scope in the exams can be related to an extension of these topics.
300-620 DCACI (Implementing Cisco Application-Centric Infrastructure)
The Cisco Application-Centric Infrastructure is a component exam that is 90 minutes long. It validates the test taker’s knowledge of Cisco switches in ACI mode including how to configure, implement, and manage them.
Here’s a broad range of topics that are included in this exam component:
300-625 DCSAN (Configuring Cisco MDS 9000 Series Switches)
The Configuring Cisco MDS 9000 Series Switches assesses your knowledge of implementing, managing, and troubleshooting Cisco 9000 Series Switches to help with its performance, scalability, resiliency, and enhanced operations for data centers.
The topics in the exam don’t have a specific percentage, but here are some of the general topics:
Exam Registration Process
You can take the certification exams offered at locations throughout the world. You need to create a Cisco profile before registering for the exam and also set up your Cisco Certification candidate profile on Cisco’s tracker portal.
a. Eligibility criteria
There aren’t any formal prerequisites for taking the CCNP Data Center Exams. However, it is recommended to have 3-5 years of relevant experience in the network.
b. Steps to register
For registering for the CCNP Data Center Exams, you need to see which exam you want to take and note its name and number. You can access the exam names and respective codes from Cisco’s official website.
Make sure you have all the personal information you’ll need, including:
c. Cost and payment options
The CCNP core exam, 350-601 DCCOR, costs $400. The concentration exams cost $300 each. For payment, you can use the following options:
CCNP Data Center Study Resources
There are many online resources you can utilize to boost your learning for the CCNP. Let’s have a look:
1. Official documentation and study materials
Cisco | Implementing and Operating Cisco Data Center Core Technologies (DCCOR)
This Cisco course has everything you need to know about the core exam. It includes self-paced material that lets you prepare for the exam effectively and cover every topic.
Cisco | Data Center Certification Training Videos
Cisco also offers official training videos that you can take. These videos are conducted by experts and cover topics like Virtualization and Automation.
2. Platforms offering Online Courses
Koenig Solutions | Cisco CCNP Data Center Certification Courses Training
This set of courses provides you with the skills and knowledge required for both the core and concentration exams. You can tailor the course to your concentration exam.
Udemy | Cisco ACI DCACI - (300-620) Certification Course
The course helps you prepare for the Concentration Cisco ACI DCACI exam. It walks you through every small topic so you can ace the exam.
3. Helpful Practice Tests and Simulations
Udemy | 350-601 ~ Cisco DCCOR Data Center Technologies Practice Test
The course stimulates two practice tests that are designed to help you assess your knowledge. It contains single-answer and multiple-answer questions so get an idea of what to expect in the exam.
Prep away | CCNP Data Center Certification Exam Questions
4. Easy-to-follow YouTube tutorials
YouTube | Cisco Data Center Roadmap review
This video is great to get an overview of the Cisco Data Center Professional certifications. You learn on how to prepare for the exam, the job opportunities, learning potential, and accelerated career growth.
YouTube | CCNP Data Center Core DCCOR 350-601 Complete Video Course
This playlist by Muhammad Talebi covers the core concepts and topics of the CCNP Data Center exam. The video courses provide in-depth explanations, practical examples to mastering data center networking concepts and technologies.
5. Recommended books and Guides
Cisco Press | CCNP and CCIE Data Center Core DCCOR 350-601 Official Cert Guide
The book contains proven strategies to help you attempt the exam in a structured manner. It also contains self-study resources approved by Cisco.
NWexam | CCNP Data Center Certification Study Guide: Crucial Preparation Tips
This guide contains great study tips and preparation strategies that help focus on both the core and concentration exams.
Exam Preparation Tips
Let’s see what you should do when preparing to take the exam.
a. Day Before the Exam
b. Exam Day Strategies
c. After the Exam
After you attempt your examination, there are two things to do:
1. Passing Score and Certification
2. In Case of Failure
Career Opportunities For CCNP Certified Professionnals
Some of the job roles you qualify for after passing the exam include:
Salary Range To Expect as a CCNP Certified Expert
Average Salary (USD)
$68,000 - $148,000
$65,000 - $140,000
$52,000 - $127,000
Consulting Systems Engineers
$80,000 - $160,000
Technical Solutions Architects
$90,000 - $170,000
$55,000 - $125,000
Data Center Engineers
$70,000 - $150,000
$65,000 - $140,000
The CCNP Data Center exams consist of two parts, both of which require regular and consistent effort. Utilizing online resources, official study material, training videos, practice exams, and other materials can help you prepare fully for the exam and ace it.
The difficulty of the CCNP Data Center exam varies depending on your preparation and experience.
Preparation time for the exams varies but typically ranges from a few months to a year.
The certification is valid for three years.
Yes, you can take the exams online.
You can retake the exam as many times as needed, but there is a waiting period after two consecutive attempts.
A comprehensive understanding of each exam topic is essential.
The typical pass rate for CCNP Data Center exams is around 70% to 80%.
Practice exams are designed to simulate the actual exams in terms of content and format.