I’m a Cisco Certified Network Professional or CCNP in short. Many people doesn’t know what CCNP is unless they’re in networking stuff too. Although I’m a CCNP holder, currently I’m managing Checkpoint firewalls for my company and for that, I have to take Checkpoint Certified Security Advisor or CCSA and I’m looking to further my certification in Checkpoint by taking Checkpoint Certified Security Expert or CCSE sometime this year, hopefully. At the mean time, my CCNP certification will expire in this coming November so I have to resit for an exam for that too. That’s too much too handle I guess.
When you’re switching from a router/switch guy to a firewall guy, there’s a lot of things changing in your life. Before this, I learned a lot about routes, ip addressing, Cisco router and switch commands, but now I’m more exposed to Checkpoint System commands, Unix and Nokia devices commands and other security stuff. When you’re too attached with something like me at the moment, you will tend to forget what you have learned in the past. This is what happened to me. I need to get my knowledge in Cisco Systems polished again before I sit for the recertification exam.
The problem with Cisco Systems is the devices are expensive and it’s not something you will use at home unless you’re a very rich guy. Getting a new or refurbished switches, routers or firewalls to make your own lab will cost you a lot but it’s the best way for you to study and sit for certification. According to my past experience, you can’t live on books alone. A lot of hands on are needed for this type of certification. I’m also interested in taking Cisco System VOIP certification but my current state on Cisco System devices, it’s going to take a lot of efforts to do it.
Checkpoint is another story. The certification for CCSA is a lot on theories but that doesn’t mean you don’t need any hands on experience. The good news is you can install Checkpoint firewall system on any computer like the desktop that you own or you can buy any cheap HP Blade servers and install Checkpoint firewall on it. The bad news is the license for Checkpoint firewall is really expensive. You have to live on the trial license that should be valid on for 15 days. So that’s the only time you have before you need to reinstall the firewall again. If you ask me, 15 days is long enough to get around Checkpoint firewalls for CCSA certification.
Anyway, just take my ramblings for a tired and exhausted CCSA firewall guy who wants to keep his CCNP certification. Does anyone plans to take any certification soon? We might be in touch and perform a study group for it later!