It wouldn’t be a stretch to call Darby Weaver a subject matter expert when it comes to certain Cisco certifications. He is, after all, a Cisco CCNP/CCIE Wireless certification exam content developer.

A self-confessed “life-long learner,” Weaver, residing in the Alabama area and working as a systems integration consultant, recently took time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions about what it takes to earn the Cisco Certified Network Professional Wireless (CCNP Wireless) certification.

“I’m a life-long learner myself and as such I recommend everyone to take this approach in learning mostly any topic,” he says. “Don’t give up and always find something useful to apply to the next project or certification. Always!”

What follows is, first, a Q&A with Weaver and, second, more information about what people desiring to earn the CCNP Wireless certification can expect:

CCNP Wireless – The Q&A

InfoSec: What are the skill sets required to earn the CCNP Wireless certification?

Weaver: A firm networking background such as the one provided by the CCNA and then additional studies in technologies such as DNS, DHCP, security, authentication, Syslog, PKI, Multicast, SNMP, Visio and project management skills….The more switching, VoIP, QoS, and even Multicast, the better.

InfoSec: What was your motivation for going this route?

Weaver: I started working with wireless in 2000, doing a lot of ad hoc autonomous deployments, and over the years, I worked on progressively more advanced and complex environments supporting a full range of wireless networks.

InfoSec: What advice would you give to an IS/IT professional who is considering pursuing the CCNP Wireless certification?

Weaver: Get a lab. Hands-on rules the day. Learn to read packets and use advanced debugging techniques early and often. eBay is cheap, and a nice very decent lab can be obtained at an extremely low price points. Just do it.

InfoSec: Are there certain certifications that might make sense to pursue before taking on CCNP Wireless?

Weaver: The CCNA for sure. Cisco Switching is awesome. Wireshark. Don’t rule out courses in Excel, Word, MS Project and MS Visio. A CCNA Voice course or, better yet, certification would go a long way as would the CCNA Security and even the CCDA.

InfoSec: Are there certain certifications that might make sense to pursue after earning the CCNP Wireless certification?

Weaver: The CCDP and other CCNP specializations. The CCIE is a given.

InfoSec: How did the CCNP Wireless certification helped you on your career path?

Weaver: I utilized my CCNP Wireless certification as a fundamental foundation for successfully planning, designing, and deploying an array of wireless networks for a variety of customer vertical markets.

InfoSec: Is there a set path that an IS/IT professional typically takes after earning the CCNP Wireless certification — or are there many different career options?

Weaver: I would recommend completing a garden variety of CCNP level certifications particular to one’s own skill sets as mentioned above – Security, Design, and Routing and Switching, not to mention Voice, are the most obvious.

The CCIE Wireless would be on the agenda of any serious CCNP Wireless Certified Professional. WireShark certification would be very helpful. CWNP certifications are a given. The list can go on and [can] be as varied as each person’s unique personality might be.

CCNP Wireless – The Nitty Gritty

Overview: The CCNP Wireless certification, according to <a href= “http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/certifications/professional/ccnp_wireless/index.html”>a website giving an overview of the course</a>, addresses the need for designing, implementing, and operating Cisco wireless networks and mobility infrastructures. The website adds that the certification recognizes the know-how and technical expertise of wireless professionals who can evaluate and translate network business necessities into technical specifications that are ultimately incorporated into effective installations.

Prerequisites: The Cisco CCNA Wireless certification or any Cisco CCIE certification can serve as a prerequisite.

Exams and Recommended Training: According to Cisco’s CCNP Wireless website, the following are the required exams and recommended training:

Required Exam(s) Recommended Training

642-732 CUWSS Conducting Cisco Unified Wireless Site Survey (CUWSS)
642-742 IUWVN Implementing Cisco Unified Wireless Voice Networks (IUWVN)
642-747 IUWMS Implementing Cisco Unified Wireless Mobility Services (IUWMS)
642-737 IAUWS Implementing Advanced Cisco Unified Wireless Security (IAUWS)

The website also provides a list of Cisco-approved training options for people to take ahead of pursuing the CCNP Wireless certification as well as study materials.