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CCNA - Where should i start?

Discussion in 'General Cisco Certifications' started by DaveyB1981, May 19, 2009.

  1. DaveyB1981

    DaveyB1981 Byte Poster

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    Evenin all,

    The more observant (or interested) of you may have noticed CCNA on my WIP for a while. In truth it's more a "to do" than an actual work in progress.

    My plan was always to move onto this after "catching up" with a few MS certs. Once i have taken 70-270 this will be done (pass or fail, i will give myself just my Second Shot and then thats it on that one for now!)

    So, i have started to think about how i am going to do my CCNA. As a background, i have spent 4 years supporting a Cisco network from a standpoint of patching, CallManager and Unity configurations and now have a role that once i have built some knowledge will involve maintaining Cisco firewalls and switches.

    On to the actual purpose of my post (never one to cut a long story short!) I want to get some hands on experience and dont really have the space or resources to get a home lab. I have tried routersims and havent as yet got on too well with them. I feel that my current knowledge level is such that a 5-day boot camp is not appropriate, as i want to learn how to do things properly and dont think this gives me sufficient time to absorb the information and use the hardware. Looking into Cisco Network Academy, this looks really promising (have a meeting at my local college on Thursday to discuss) but i am concerned at the 2 year course length. From speaking to the tutor and looking at some literature it seems that this course is aimed at people just starting out. A colleague used this route to get his CCNA but was able to complete ahead of time (in his case in 9 months). The tutor tells me that this is no longer possible and you can only sit the course at the same speed as others (the course is guided learning rather than the online setup my colleague did). Finally, i have looked at the OU, who run a 9 month course from February with 4 days of workshops. Really I could do with getting started before this and again i am not sure about the amount of time i will get to spend with the hardware, especially dependant on the ratio of equipment per student. Also, i could do with getting started asap rather then wait 9 months before the course...

    In summary, i am just not sure which way to go. Does anyone know if the model whereby you do the course online at college and gain access to the physical hardware on site is still available? Anyone any experiences of any of these?

    If you are still reading my rather lengthy and badly written post, i appreciate your time greatly!

    Welcome your thoughts...

    Thanks,

    Dave
     
    Certifications: CISMP, ITIL Fdn, MCDST
    WIP: the day job...
  2. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    I would say start off with Cisco's entry level cert the CCENT, then work your way up. UKDarkstar, I believe, is currently doing a CCNA course over several weekends that may be of interest to you. Hopefully when he pops up, he'll let you know the details :)

    Are you sure it's two years? Our local college is a Cisco academy and is offering the CCNA (part-time in the evenings) over the course of 1 year (ok really it's 34 weeks, 1 academic year) and it's a joint CCNA/BTEC award, so at the end you gain your CCNA and a BTEC level 3 cert.

    -ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  3. DaveyB1981

    DaveyB1981 Byte Poster

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    Hi Ken,

    Thanks for the reply.

    My understanding is that in order to obtain CCENT you need to pass ICND1, which along with ICND2 makes up the CCNA cert. On that understanding i assumed that i would gain CCENT along the way? Im pretty new to Cisco certs though and am also a little confused by the "discovery" and "explorer" versions.

    Unfortunately he did definately say 4 modules over 2 years. I have seen this before but was hoping as i said to be able to learn at my own pace. The course offered by your local college sounds ideal - do you have a link at all and i can see if anyone can offer anything comparable in my area? The path taken by UKDarkstar sounds good too - hopefully he will read and respond to my post :biggrin

    Dave
     
    Certifications: CISMP, ITIL Fdn, MCDST
    WIP: the day job...
  4. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    I assume it depends if you do the 1 or 2 exam route for the CCNA - there's nothing on Cisco's website that say that if you do the 1 exam route you'll gain the CCENT.

    Here's the link for you :)

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  5. DaveyB1981

    DaveyB1981 Byte Poster

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    Thanks for the links Ken. Firstly, i hadn't considered the one exam approach to CCNA...not sure why!

    Comparing the course to the one i am looking at it's easy to see the difference. The one here is only one night a week rather than two. The tutor did consider the idea of me doing two nights a week and doing two modules at once (one on say a Monday and the other on the Wednesday) but wasn't sure if this can be done. I hope to get clarification when i go.

    Dave
     
    Certifications: CISMP, ITIL Fdn, MCDST
    WIP: the day job...
  6. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    Hi Dave,

    Sounds like you'd have a make a decision then on either the two days evening course or the later. However, bear in mind with much determination and hardwork most things in life are achievable. Best wishes and keep on keeping on.
     
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell
  7. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

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    With your Cisco knowledge I wouldn't have thought you'd have too much trouble with the CCNA.

    Have you considered perhaps a weekend course (CommSupport do these) which is what I'm tackling at the moment. Might be a preferable option and a bit quicker to get certified.
     
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  8. DaveyB1981

    DaveyB1981 Byte Poster

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    Thanks for the reply, as you may have seen, i was hoping you would see my post!

    You mention my Cisco experience. I wonder if i have overplayed it...i have used a couple of easy GUI's and stuck some cables in ports...which isnt much. There is a pretty big need for a Cisco resource at our place right now and the CCNA is something i have had on my "to-do" list for a while. But i want to do it properly. I had originally looked down the college route for this reason, to start from the beginning and reach the required standard for CCNA.

    The guys you are using look fantastic (and compared to our usual training provider, extremely cheap!) plus, they have a centre in Manchester, which is pretty handy for me. I assume this is the 6 day course that you are doing? How is it going? i notice that they use Sybex literature, which i like. Also that each candidate has their own hardware to play on. Added to the fact they offer you the chance to go back for free, it seems pretty good!

    Bearing in mind my previous comments, i was considering maybe the 12 day course, but wondering if maybe i grab myself some literature (not Sybex), get that read along with any hardware experience i can get, then onto the 6 dayer.

    How are you finding the pace? How good are the tutors? (i assume you are at a different location but just for general standard)

    Definately very interested. Anything else i should know?
     
    Certifications: CISMP, ITIL Fdn, MCDST
    WIP: the day job...
  9. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

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    I put some comments up within this thread : http://www.certforums.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=33190&page=2

    or drop me a PM
     
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)

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