Thoughts on the CWSP…

So, today I passed the Certified Wireless Security Professional (CWSP) exam. For those of you not familiar with the CWNP program, it’s an intensive vendor-neutral certification path that delves deeply into 802.11 tech… VERY deeply. It’s been very beneficial for my career, and it’s one of the few educational courses that I truly enjoy. Anyone interested in learning more about how wireless ticks should take a look at the CWNA at least.

The CWNP program begins with the CWNA as the foundational wireless cert, then it branches into three separate specializations – Security, Analysis, and Design. Once all four exams are completed and a lengthy application submitted (essay questions and all), you can become a candidate for the Certified Wireless Network Expert designation. It’s pretty elite, with only ~150 or so CWNE’s in the USA. I’m gunning to complete the CWNE application by the end of 2017.

For the CWSP course, I used the following resources:

  • CWSP Official Study Guide PW0-204
  • CWSP Official Study Guide CWSP-205
  • Extensive use of the Sybex online companion included with the CWSP-205 book
  • Sample tests available directly from CWNP

I did NOT use the Certitrek guide published in 2015, as those books have not been well received.

The CWSP course covers wireless encryption methods, EAP, fast roaming mechanisms, the different handshakes and key hierarchy, RADIUS, LDAP, MDM, and much more. The book was great. And HARD. Lots of detail to sink your teeth into. I had some issues with incorrect questions on the Sybex portal, so just remember that you can’t 100% trust what their exams tell you when you do your review.

As for the exam?

Honestly, it was disappointing. I won’t give much away, but it was way too easy compared to the level of knowledge demanded from the study guides… and I do have other concerns that I don’t want to share in a public forum. But don’t let that scare you away from the course – the knowledge gained was great, but I personally feel that the ease of the exam cheapened the certification a bit.

To those of you looking to take the exam, keep hammering through the practice exams from the CWSP-205 book. Once you can pass them reliably, you’ll be more than ready for the real thing.

What’s next for me? I had planned on taking the Wireshark course next to get more familiar with packet analysis, but my work is requesting that I chew through the VCP-NV next, so packet analysis will have to wait a month or two.

On to VCP-NV, WCNA, CWAP, then CWDP!

Merry Christmas to all.

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