Is it worth it? Taking CCNA Course?

Discussion in 'Networking' started by SheHateMe, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. SheHateMe

    SheHateMe Diamond Member

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    I am weighing the Pros and Cons of spending $3,000 on 80 hours of courses for ICND1 and 2 for the CCNA. I think I am pretty confident that I can study on my own if I have the right books, but my main concern is that I might be losing out on valuable experiences because I don't have access to a lab or any Cisco equipment.

    What do you guys think would be best?

    A bit of background on myself for those who don't know me from other sub-forums. I am a 22 year Senior in College. My official Major is Telecommunications..but we don't learn anything about Networking that is in depth. I just finished an ICT Management class that was the most Networking type stuff I've ever learned during my time at the University. I don't regret coming to this school since I did not find out I wanted to be a Network Administrator until after my Sophomore year... originally, I wanted to be a Programmer, so I came to Michigan State University.

    I graduate from College in May.

    In addition to that, I have an Internship with Kellogg for IT Management and Infrastructure and I will be under one of the Sr. Network Admins there learning the ropes. I hope I grow so much from this opportunity. I was really lucky to even land a spot in this program in my opinion. The Internship starts in Mid May and ends in August.

    Anyway....I am really eager to get my CCNA, I've been dreaming about it for the past semester and I want to finally buckle down and do it since school is winding down and I will have a lot more time on my hands this semester.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. theevilsharpie

    theevilsharpie Platinum Member

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    Instructor-led courses are great for students that can't self-study (for whatever reason) or who don't know where to even begin studying.

    Having access to a lab is nice, but $3,000 can buy you a lot of used networking equipment off of eBay.
     
  3. SheHateMe

    SheHateMe Diamond Member

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    I don't have $3,000 but I could start saving up for a class. I can self study, I am just concerned that you wouldn't be studying enough to pass.
     
  4. theevilsharpie

    theevilsharpie Platinum Member

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    Instructor-led training has never worked for me. I need a more hands-on approach to really wrap my head around a topic, and I often find myself being hand-held way to much in a formal classroom setting. I had to take a 3-day-long $3,000 course to complete the requirements for my VMware VCP certification, and from an educational standpoint, I may as well have lit the money on fire.

    That being said, not everyone has the same pedagogical preferences. If you think that an instructor-led course is your best chance of learning the subjects covered by the CCNA, go for it. As an alternative to a bootcamp-style $3,000 course, many community colleges offer Cisco training with access to lab equipment. I will say this, however: an 80-hour course is not going to give you enough practice with Cisco equipment to pass the CCNA unless you already have some prior experience.
     
  5. pwnagesarus

    pwnagesarus Senior member

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    I like this idea; you get to learn the material at a slower rate, have access to lab gear / Packet Tracer and have discussions with others in person (if that helps you). In case you aren't familiar with it, Packet Tracer is a Cisco emulator that'll help provide CLI experience. One of my coworkers went this route and it worked well for him.

    Is this 80 hour course a bootcamp, meaning everything is compressed into a couple weeks? If it is, the 3 grand can be better spent elsewhere. I've been to one bootcamp (did not pay for it out of pocket) and the pace is too fast to really learn a topic for the first time.

    Here are my suggestions:

    1. Look into the ICND1 and ICND2 series from CBTNuggets. The instructor is Jeremy Cioara and he is amazing when it comes to explaining concepts. Combine this with the Wendell Odom books and a lab setup and you'll be well prepared for the test. This route will probably cost you at least $1000.

    2. Grab the CCNA certification series from TheBryantAdvantage. Chris Bryant is another great instructor. I have watched a few of his CCNP videos but have no direct experience with the CCNA series. Pair this with Wendell Odom's books and a lab setup as well. The video series should run you under $100.

    Hopefully, you'll have access to lab gear at your internship or better yet, production equipment!
     
    #5 pwnagesarus, Dec 27, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
  6. Mir96TA

    Mir96TA Golden Member

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    I agree to this
     
  7. CubanlB

    CubanlB Senior member

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    To me it really depends on your motivation and how you like to work. Honestly, if you take that course, you will most likely pass the exams, but what kind of retention of the material do you think you will be able to have?

    If your goal is to get a really good footing in networking, just work through the material and build a little lab. If you just want the Cert and have more money than time, rock the course and be done with it.

    If you put the cert on the old resume, you really need to be prepared to answer questions about it in an interview.

    In my last interview I was able to talk about each process I went through to get each of my certs (all basically entry level certs) which was a good way to talk more about myself and how I learn.

    Good luck either way!
     
  8. zCypher

    zCypher Diamond Member

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    I think so. I'm self studying for it, but only because I know it's going to be relevant to my career path. By the sound of it, you would benefit greatly from it as well. Consider pursuing CCNP once you are done CCNA, if you still want to progress in the same field. There are also some Juniper certifications that could be good, but it really does depend on what you are working with in the real world. You don't want to waste too much time studying for certifications that give you knowledge you won't be using, only to be forgotten.
     
  9. ScottMac

    ScottMac Moderator<br>Networking<br>Elite member

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    Self-study works OK, as long as you pull your study info from a variety of sources. No one source, not even the Cisco books (in some cases, ESPECIALLY the Cisco Press books) has all the info you need.

    Signing up for some Lab, either real or virtual, is highly recommended; the tests have / had areas where it's not a yes/no or multiple choice ... it requires some thought and knowledge of "how things work." You should know IP addressing inside and out and be able to work the subnetting out in your head.
     
  10. Mir96TA

    Mir96TA Golden Member

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    Lot of people are talking about it LAB. In all honesty Packet Tracer will gives enough CLI experince to be good CCNA cert guy. The only thing you would be missing is load IOS and teleneting and SSH to Router or switch.
    Sometimes learning how to install IOS in Tight place is a huge learning curve. ;)
    In CCNA harder Humps are Subnetting; Acesslist, Nat, DHCP, Sumerizing, Prefrix list, STP (Its important till CCIE) Vlan..................... Then it would be walk in a Park!
     
  11. SheHateMe

    SheHateMe Diamond Member

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    Thanks for the useful information guys, I havent heard about Wendell Odom but I've heard raving reviews about Todd Lammie books, I will try to follow pwnagesarus's advice with the coursework I should try out.
     
  12. airdata

    airdata Diamond Member

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    I went through the netacad course as part of a degree plan I was doing. Prior to that I had no idea what cisco was really.

    The course I attended, while instructor led, was still alot of self study. All reading ( and there is lots of it ) was done outside of class w\ class time dedicated to lab activities & quizzes/tests over the reading material.

    This could be a good setting for alot of people... to be around others who are studying the same materials and collaborate on lab activities. Some people might pick up the information more rapidly in that type of setting.

    At the end of the day... yeah, most of the stuff can be done w\ packet tracer or GNS3. But it's still nice to work w\ the actual hardware and cabling it up as you go. One could easily build a ccna lab from ebay hardware for a few hundred bucks as well.
     
  13. ScottMac

    ScottMac Moderator<br>Networking<br>Elite member

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    The LAB & Hands on will aid in understanding while learning the material for the test, but more importantly, it give you something to talk about when you are interviewed for the job after (assuming the training is to gain employment or add to the resume).

    Technical jobs frequently have multi-layer interviews; one of which will be a "technical interview" that usually includes some open-ended questions like "how would you {insert function here}" and (hopefully) questions that require you to call on your hands-on skills, knowledge, experience, problems solving, troubleshooting abilities.
     
  14. Mir96TA

    Mir96TA Golden Member

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    When new router or / and switch comes; I only configure SSH / Telnet (Rare) to acess the hardware. Then God know where it physically get installed and who really cared. Then you and your Terminal software are there.
    I hardly ever goes into Rack room or closet. They are noisy and hardly any room to sit or some time stand. Often its noisy and COLD.
    so its hardly any advantage in CCNA from real McCoy.
    To me its all about platform and IOS; actuall router and switch just meh.....
     
  15. Mir96TA

    Mir96TA Golden Member

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    Todd Lammie 7th Edition is the Shiznet Google Books and Jeremy Cioara will be best study material you have for CCNA
     
  16. SheHateMe

    SheHateMe Diamond Member

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  17. Mir96TA

    Mir96TA Golden Member

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  18. brshoemak

    brshoemak Member

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    My employer dropped $5K so I could go a CCNA bootcamp near D.C. It was led by a CCIE and the class was terrific, but if I had to foot the bill I would never do it. To me, it's like someone graduating college with a CIS/IT degree and thinking they are totally ready to handle an IT job - there's book learnin' and there's real world learnin' where a lot of your 'education' comes from solving tough problems. Anyway, those CCNA classes went by pretty fast and it can be like school work: you listen to a lecture, ask some questions, do a couple labs and call it a day.

    The best part for me was listening to the instructor just talk casually about problems they've run into with certain aspects of networking and how they handled that - I would pay for that just by itself.

    I am going to handle the CCNA on my own time with my own resources - Todd's book(s), Cisco Packet Tracer, some 2611XMs and 2950s I picked up for cheap, etc.
     
  19. SheHateMe

    SheHateMe Diamond Member

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  20. Mir96TA

    Mir96TA Golden Member

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    Get 3745 it is Multiservices Branch Router so you can have all sort modules in it. (Cheaper)
    Drop the 2950 get 3550 may be if you affor 3670 (IPV 6 support)
     
  21. Mir96TA

    Mir96TA Golden Member

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  22. SheHateMe

    SheHateMe Diamond Member

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    Im not familiar with any of those but I did find this: http://www.mtsac.edu/~jgau/P@ssw0rd/CISN51/labs/whnjs.htm

    It explains some things and has screenshots.

    This is probably from an older edition of the software..but I am sure not much has changed.