As of October 28th 2014 I'm officially a CCNP! After my ROUTE exam I jumped right into the SWITCH material. SWITCH was a lot easier for me to digest as I work with Layer 2/3 switches almost on a daily basis. This exam alone helped my day to day tasks tremendously along with giving me the confidence I need to tackle a few data center projects currently going on. The SWITCH exam took me 3-4 months to complete.
Today I finished up my CCNP by taking the TSHOOT exam, which was actually pretty fun. This is basically a lab simulation that tests your troubleshooting skills using CCNP level knowledge. If you aced ROUTE and SWITCH than this exam should be a breeze for you. I studied for about 2 months for this exam. I reviewed ROUTE topics since there was the 4 month gap between diving into the routing material.
With the SDN craziness on the way, I'm going to spend the next 3 months digging into Python. This will also give me a much needed break from certifications. After that I'm going to start hitting the Cisco designs certs for the rest of the year. I acknowledge that my design skillset is my biggest weakness. While I do not expect to walk away being able to take on a Network Architect type position, I do believe this will give me the foundation I need to head in that direction.