CCNP Enterprise and Routing and Switching: What's The Difference?

CCNP Enterprise and CCNP Routing and Switching: What’s The Difference?

The CCNP Enterprise and CCNP Routing and Switching are similar certifications, but there are some key differences between the two that you should be aware of. Some IT Professionals think that if they have earned the CCNP Routing & Switching, then there’s no need to earn the CCNP Enterprise. But with the current state and future of the networking and infrastructure industry, we think that the CCNP Enterprise is more valuable than ever.


What Is The CCNP Enterprise?

The Cisco Certified Network Professional Enterprise certification, or the CCNP Enterprise, is Cisco’s ‘Professional level’ qualification for IT Professionals working on enterprise network technologies. It is one of the highest-paying and most in-demand certifications in the IT industry. This is something we’ve seen first-hand, as the CCNP Enterprise is one of the most highly-requested certifications by our clients.

There are no prerequisites such as exams you need to pass before you can take your CCNP Enterprise exam. However, Cisco recommends having three to five years experience in enterprise networking at a CCNA level. Meaning that those who earn their CCNP typically have or have previously held a CCNA.

Cisco certifications are valid for 4 years before you need to recertify. The same stayed true for the Cisco qualifications that were retired in 2020. Some people even had their certifications extended to 6 years due to the pandemic when Cisco stopped holding exams


CCNP Enterprise vs CCNP Routing & Switching

When the CCNP Routing & Switching was retired, the CCNP Enterprise was largely seen as its replacement. However, it’s not quite so simple. It also incorporates elements of the also retired CCNP Wireless and CCDP (Cisco Certified Design Professional). The three have been combined into one as engineers working on enterprise networks need a broader range of skill sets that has changed since the original CCNP Routing and Switching was created.

The CCNP Enterprise certification is an evolution of its predecessors; a reaction to changes in the world of Network and Infrastructure and the progression of technology. 

Here at Dynamic we see these changes before anyone else. The differences between the two certifications and the skills they provide become more and more apparent as the hiring needs of IT businesses change. 

Routing used to be troubleshooting, switches and routers. Now employers are looking for network engineers with experience in implementing and operating. The focus has shifted in recent years from the hardware to the software. As networks evolve and become more efficient and grow in size, there is a greater need for skills like automation.

So we’ve discussed the difference between the two certifications, but is one better than the other?


Should I Earn a CCNP Enterprise?

We would argue that the CCNP Enterprise is a more useful certification in the current IT market. The hands-on experience you gain working with automation, software defined and enterprise networks are in incredibly high demand. As enterprise networks rapidly grow in scale, skills like automation become more of a necessity.

As recruiters we would advise those who are looking to progress in their careers as Network Engineers to seriously consider earning a CCNP Enterprise. If you’re a Network Support Engineer, you could be promoted to or start applying for Senior Network Engineer positions when you’ve earned your CCNP.

Mark Humphreys on CCNP EnterpriseWe do still see positions that are looking for a candidate with a more typical routing and switching skill set. After all, the software still relies on hardware which it can run. But the jobs that ask for a CCNP Enterprise and the skills it brings are much more common and lucrative. 

If you’re considering taking the next step in your career, you can read our guide here to find out more information on earning your CCNP.


CCNP Enterprise Salary

The CCNP Enterprise is one of the highest paying IT certifications worldwide. However, it’s difficult to say exactly how much you can earn due to the varied career possibilities a CCNP Enterprise offers. For example: 

A Wireless Design Engineer earning their CCNP Enterprise would likely opt for the Designing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks speciality exam (300-425 ENWSLD), which covers topics like WLANs and wired & wireless infrastructure. The average salary for a Network Automation Engineer here in the UK is £41,823.

But a Network Automation Engineer would find it more useful for their career to opt for the Automating Cisco Enterprise Solutions speciality exam (300-435 EAUTO), which covers automation tools, and python programming. Meanwhile the average salary for a Wireless Network Design Engineer is £37,011

For some real examples of the salaries that become available with a CCNP Enterprise, have a look at our live roles here.

These salaries for these positions may not be entirely accurate and are dependent on a multitude of factors. (After all, the best way to find an accurate salary estimate is to reach out and talk to an expert!) But these figures do effectively highlight the discrepancy between the two positions. Despite both positions being jobs that benefit from earning a CCNP Enterprise, there is a 10%+ difference in salary. 

What we can say with certainty, is that if you can get it, you absolutely should. Having a CCNP Enterprise would be a significant boost to your career regardless of your chosen career path. The video below gives a breakdown the CCNP Enterprise Speciality exams and which is the best choice for you and your chosen career path.

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