The Ultimate CCNP Study Guide

Are you looking to obtain your CCNP certification and don't know which resources to prepare with, where to start, or which path to follow?

Currently, there are a large number of networking professionals seeking this certification. The first and most important step is preparation with reliable resources; this is a key aspect for success. 

In the following blog, we will understand this certification, the benefits it offers, official resources, how to create an effective study plan, and the key aspects of this exam.

Understanding CCNP Certification

A. What is CCNP?

CCNP is an exam that assesses whether an individual is qualified for network management, network configuration, network installation, infrastructure, security, and local and wide area networks.

B. Benefits of Earning CCNP Certification

  • Professional Growth 

    With this certification, you can validate your knowledge and skills, add it to your resume, and this provides you with a broader professional reach.

  • Industry Credibility 

    As a professional, obtaining this certification gives you credibility within the IT industry since Cisco is a recognized and trusted certification provider in this field.

  • Job Opportunities 

    You can offer companies validity, experience, and expertise that enable you to pursue excellent job positions or higher salary compensation.

C. Different CCNP Tracks

CCNP offers different exams that cater to various areas of network management. Evaluate each of these and choose the one that best aligns with the professional focus you desire:

  1. 1

    Enterprise CCNP

    Assesses wide area network management, network troubleshooting, network infrastructure, virtualization, and configuration.

  2. 2

    Data Center CCNP

    Evaluates network security, computing, the use and implementation of core data center technologies, and data center management.

  3. 3

    Security CCNP

    Tests knowledge of security, network protection, cybersecurity, risk management, troubleshooting, data privacy, and automation.

  4. 4

    Service Provider CCNP

    Assesses IP infrastructure, its configuration, network architecture, service delivery, and network assurance.

  5. 5

    Collaboration CCNP

    Evaluates the use of collaboration technologies, call control, effective incident response, and quality of service.

  6. 6

    Cisco Certified CyberOps Professional

    Assesses cloud security, troubleshooting, and advanced risk mitigation measures.

  7. 7

    Cisco Certified DevNet Professional

    Evaluates the development of applications within Cisco, application management, system integration, design, and operational testing.

Types of CCNP Study Resources

There are various study materials, preparing with legitimate and reliable material provides you with greater assurance of the security of the information you are acquiring.

A. Official Cisco Learning Materials

Cisco | Understanding Cisco Network Automation Fundamentals (DEVNAE)

This Cisco course, aimed at intermediate-level individuals, covers all the concepts that a networking professional should acquire and be able to handle. 

It has a duration of 28 hours and 40 minutes, divided into 14 courses, 23 labs, and 6 documents. 

Cisco | ENCOR E-Learning and Exam Bundle  

This ENCOR E-Learning And Exam Bundle course includes practical labs, practice questions, and training videos.

With this course, you will learn the fundamentals of configuring networks, managing enterprise networks, wired and wireless networks, troubleshooting, and virtualization. 

B. Online Courses and Training Providers

Pluralsight | Cisco ENCOR (350-401) for CCNP Enterprise  

This course consists of 38 hours of continuous learning, covering network design, security protocols, network configuration, quality of service, and automation.

Udemy | Cisco CCNP Enterprise (ENARSI + ENCOR) Training

This Udemy course covers the key topics and aspects for your exam, addressing subjects related to security, troubleshooting, network management, providing you with the necessary knowledge.

It consists of 18 hours of on-demand video, available in English, accessible on mobile devices, and includes a certificate of completion. 

C. Books and Study Guides

Amazon | CCNP and CCIE Enterprise Core ENCOR 350-401 Official Cert Guide 1st Edition

This Amazon book covers the exam topics to prepare you effectively, encompassing subjects like virtualization, network configuration, automation, and security. 

Router Alley | Cisco CCNP Routing Study Guide  

The Cisco CCNP Routing Study Guide is a reliable source that covers everything you need for your CCNP exam, including key concepts. This is a free study guide. 

D. Practice Exams and Simulations

Learn Cisco | Free CCNA & CCNP Practice Exams  

Learn Cisco offers free practice exams to assess your knowledge and get acquainted with the actual exam. It includes concepts of security, virtualization, network infrastructure, and architecture. 

Cisco | Cisco Exam Review: ENCOR

This practice exam offered by Cisco helps you assess your knowledge and get familiar with the exam format and question style. 

E. Study Groups and Forums

Quora | How can I pass the 350-401 ENCOR exam?

In this study group, you can seek support from other professionals who have already obtained their certification and can provide you with tips and resources for success in your exam.

Cisco | Guided Study Groups  

Here, you can have guided sessions led by professionals to assist you with your training for 180 days. With personalized guidance and at your own pace.

Evaluating Study Resource Quality

To succeed in obtaining your certification, you need to prepare with reliable and legitimate resources.

A. What Makes a Study Resource Effective?

  • Up-to-Date Information 

    The primary consideration is to ensure that the material you are using contains up-to-date information so that you acquire knowledge that is relevant to the current exam.

  • Trustworthy Provider 

    Make sure to use trusted providers, recognized within the industry, such as Udemy, Amazon, Coursera, Whizlabs.

  • Reviews 

    Read reviews from individuals who have purchased these resources, assess whether they are positive or negative to determine if it's a good resource to use.

B. Reading Reviews and Recommendations

  • Names of Reviewers 

    Check and ensure that the names of the individuals leaving reviews are real and not gibberish names.

  • Up-to-Date Reviews 

    Make sure that the dates of the different reviews and comments are current, not from years ago. This ensures updated information and that people have used these resources in recent times.

  • Review Websites 

    Search for the provider and resource to be used on websites like Trustpilot. On this website, people share their recommendations and experiences in various areas.

C. Cost vs. Value

  • Cost-Effective Study Materials

    This involves assessing whether a study material provides the necessary content and quality to justify its price tag. 

  • Evaluating Content Quality

    We emphasize the significance of choosing materials that are accurate, up-to-date, and aligned with the CCNP certification exam objectives.

  • Long-Term Value

    Investing in high-quality materials can yield dividends by equipping you with valuable skills and knowledge that will benefit your career in the long run.

Creating a Customized Study Plan

A successful study plan is different for each person, both the approach and the resources to be used should be evaluated to create it.

  • Identifying Your Learning Style

    Identify the way in which it's easiest for you to acquire knowledge, whether it's through practical resources like videos and courses or if you find it easier to learn with study guides and books. 

  • Setting Study Goals

    Establish daily, weekly, or monthly goals so that you can be consistent and organized in your preparation. Consistency is the key to a successful study plan.

  • Selecting the Right Resources for Your Plan

    Adapt the resources to your study plan and your learning style. Make a list of your options, such as tutorials, courses, guides, and practice exams, and choose reliable and legitimate resources that suit you.

Best Practices for Using Multiple Resources

The best way to make your learning dynamic and without overwhelming yourself is by using various study resources, although it's important to do it correctly.

  • Combining Different Study Materials

    Combine different study materials; use guides for a theoretical approach, courses for a theoretical-practical approach, exams, and simulations for a practical approach. 

  • Avoiding Information Overload

    Proper training takes time; take it step by step and at your own pace. Don't overload yourself with information as it can be overwhelming, and you won't acquire knowledge correctly.

  • Tracking Your Progress

    Continuously assess your progress in your training, identify what you still need to learn, and figure out how to implement and refine the skills you already have.

Staying Motivated Throughout Your CCNP Journey

As you prepare for your exam, various obstacles may arise, such as demotivation, physical and mental exhaustion, and a lack of concentration. However, there are solutions to these challenges.

  • Setting Milestones

    Establish weekly and monthly goals for better preparation management. This helps you stay consistent and organized, a key point for success.

  • Rewarding Your Achievements

    Promise yourself a reward each time you complete a set milestone or goal. It keeps you motivated and aids in your continuous learning.

  • Dealing with Study Burnout

    Meditating every morning helps maintain a calm mind, provides peace and relaxation, which will also benefit you when taking your exam.


A. Recap of Key Resource Types

There are resources with theoretical approaches, such as study books, as well as theoretical-practical resources, like courses, and practical resources, such as exams and simulations.

B. Tailoring Your Study Approach

Create a well-structured study plan, identify the type of study material that suits your learning style, find a reliable provider, and start your preparation.

C. The Road Ahead to CCNP Success

Be consistent, organize your study plan, and educate yourself with legitimate resources. This guarantees success in your exam and helps you grow professionally by refining and acquiring new skills.


Explore and make the most of all the resources available to you. Obtaining your CCNP certification will open many doors in the IT industry, so start researching them right away and secure your success and future as a networking professional.

About the author


Youssef is a Senior Cloud Consultant & Founder of

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