The sad state of the Cisco Official Certification Guides

I think that part of the key to my success with the CCIE Routing and Switching when compared to my lack of achievement with the CCIE Security, was that I started from the bottom. I bought all the Cisco Official Certification Guides, worked my way through CCNA, then through CCNP and finally to CCIE. This lead to a solid foundation built up over many years.

So I started to contemplate this approach for having another crack at the CCIE Security. Not intending to go for the CCNA, but starting at the CCNP. So naturally I went over to Amazon to check out the books.

I was totally shocked.

The CCNP Security has four exams, but only one Official Certification Guide (OCG) has been published (only covering 25% of the course).

Seeing that Natalie Timms name as an author on one book that was “Unavailable” I tweeted her. She replied that no others had been written. But it looks like they were supposed to, and I did hear a rumor that they were canceled.

I did some digging, and I was even more shocked at the state of all the tracks and Cisco’s support of them.

Cisco’s lack of Official Certification Guides at a glance

Here is a table to outline the problem. If an OCG is available the cell is green or red if not:

Routing and Switching 200-125 200-105 300-101 300-115 300-135 400-101
Security 210-260 300-208 300-206 300-209 300-210 350-018
Service Provider 640-875 640-878 642-883 642-885 642-887 642-889 400-201
Data Center 640-911 640-916 642-999 642-997 642-998
Collaboration 210-060 210-065 300-070 300-075 300-080 300-085 400-351
Wireless 200-355 300-360 300-365 300-370 300-375 400-052


Frankly, it’s shameful that Cisco does not offer the support to the students by way of the Offical Certification Guides.

Service Provider is totally screwed, from start to finish. Security is not even 25% completed for the CCNP track. If you want to stay on CCNA then (apart from the SP track), you are pretty well supported. However, going by the exam numbers, the SP and DC (Data Center) will change to the new versions, then there will either be new Official Certification Guides or none at all.

Cisco does show the love for the Routing and Switching and Collaboration tracks, though. If you look at the previous post about CCIE numbers, then you’ll see that the R&S accounts for about 75% of all CCIE certifications, and it’s not too much of a supposition to think that this is the same at all levels, hence the support for R&S. This preference for R&S is taken further, by making it easier than other tracks at the CCNP level, but only having three exams, instead of four.

What to do without the Official Certification Guides?

With the lack of OCGs, where do you turn?

The official Cisco training courses will come with the relevant material but run to the 1000’s of dollars. Apart from the courses, it is the student’s responsibility to research and read as much as possible, hoping for best.

Investing in a provider such as INE is also a good idea if money permits. The issue here is that it is hard for them to keep adding new content to keep up with Cisco’s changing certification landscape.

Tell Cisco what you want!

I think that a stand needs to be taken. A cry needs to be heard.

If your chosen track is under-supported by Cisco then send a tweet to @ciscopress asking them. With enough traction, they might start to support the certifications that you are paying them money to take.


  1. fkuris October 4, 2016
  2. jean October 10, 2016
    • Stuart Fordham October 10, 2016