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CCNA with Self Study

Discussion in 'General Cisco Certifications' started by brind1972, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. brind1972

    brind1972 New Member

    Passed my CCNA this morning after what seems like years of study!

    I do not work with Cisco kit as such, I did it through self study and Open University with Cisco Academy (this cost around £500 and is great as a framework to keep your motivation up, as well as giving you an OU module at the end). But make no mistake I went through the material again and again and again. You need to know this material thoroughly.

    I have seen posts on both sides of the argument. One side argues that you won't get a job with a paper CCNA (no-one will let you near their kit), the other that you should get a job with Cisco kit and then study for the CCNA. But why would any employer let you near their Cisco kit? Seems like a chicken and egg situation. Okay so maybe you could get N+, then the job, and then the CCNA.

    As an IT Manager (not on the infrastructure side) if I had two candidates up for a position, one with no Cisco experience but wanted to get some to study for their CCNA, and one who had taken the time and hard work required to put themself through CCNA, it is a no brainer who I would chose.

    So IMO opinion if you want to self study for the CCNA then go for it. It will be very hard work though. Get some good books and read them back to front, making notes which you will read again and again. I used the Sybex Self Study Guide by Todd Lammle and well as the Cisco Press books. Make sure that you do the following:

    1. All the practice questions at the end of chapters and on any CDs that you get with any book you buy
    2. All the the practical labs at the end of any chapters
    3. All the practice labs in the accompanying Cisco Lab Companion
    4. Set up your own labs for every single subject matter, and not just one per subject.

    Every book will tell you the core things that you need to know for the exam, so I am not giving any spoilers here, but you need to know:

    1. IP addressing and VLSM. This is an absolute must. You need to be able to work out block sizes, valid host ranges and underlying network addresses in your sleep. It is so important and underpins so many of the other areas of what it required of the CCNA.
    2. Access Lists. How to configure and what will be blocked by given access lists. Practice these until you are sick of them, as with IP addressing
    3. Routing protocols, how to configure and the differences between each one

    For your practice labs get hold of a copy of Cisco's Packet Tracer. It really is an excellent application for this level of study. Set up your own networks again and again and again. Address them using VLSM, don't just stick to classful subnets. Get expert with the basic configuration of routers and switches, so that you can then comfortably use these networks for running all routing protocols and get to know the behaviour of kit and the output of all the show commands.

    I would suggest that when you think you are ready, give yourself another 6 weeks and just practice what you have learnt.

    Good luck! :)
  2. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

    Great feedback for anyone who wants to study for the CCNA.
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  3. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member


    Just remember that not all of those people self-studying the CCNA will be able to obtain Packet Tracer legitimately.

    For those of you who are interested... more information on the packet tracer simulator can be found here

    Congratulations on the pass :)

    Certifications: MCT, MCSE: Private Cloud, MCSA (2008), MCITP: EA, MCITP: SA, MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003, MCITP: EDA7, MCITP: EDST7, MCITP: EST Vista, MCTS: Exh 2010, MCTS:ServerVirt, MCTS: SCCM07 & SCCM2012, MCTS: SCOM07, MCTS: Win7Conf, MCTS: VistaConf, MCDST, MCP, MBCS, HND: Applied IT, ITIL v3: Foundation, CCA
  4. mattstevenson

    mattstevenson Byte Poster

    I've got to say, I agree with your thoughts on the CCNA Vs. job situation. I recently went for an interview, and though I didn't get it (Probably because I'm 19 and don't drive yet), when I mentioned the Cisco's CCENT, I got a pretty heavy nod of approval. And I'm only a CCENT, not a CCNA. I think that because it is still at a beginner's level, it is very much a landmark cert, so you're probably going to need it really if you want a serious job in Cisco networking. Still, compared to the A+ and N+, I feel that it gets a lot more in depth about some specific things, and as such commands a bit more respect. You've got to know your stuff to pass that exam well, there's just no way around it (Other than cheating, of course ¬_¬). Of course, it also skims over a huge amount of stuff that you might encounter. But that's why there are levels of certification, right?

    Very well done on your pass, and kudos to you for taking the legit hard-earned route. :)
    Certifications: Triple A+. Network+, CCENT
    WIP: MCP, ICND2, Sec+
  5. geevee

    geevee Bit Poster

    This really is a great post, very informative and helpful for someone like myself who is thinking about Cisco as a future path - rep left! :)
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-290, 70-621
  6. Septima77

    Septima77 Nibble Poster

    I agree with what you have stated about self study.
    It's hard but not impossible.... it is quit doable.
    Having hardware helps a lot, having a good simulator helps even more.
    Again,... congratulations.
    Certifications: CCNA CCNAS CCNAV
  7. karan1337

    karan1337 Byte Poster

    Great post and thanks for the advises. I think i will re-think about my certification route, because i prefer self study, no matter if it takes me a year or two and i love networking and security.


    Repped and Congrats on the pass!
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011
    Certifications: MCP, MCDST, MCTS, Brainbench: XP and Vista [Master]
    WIP: Bachelors:Computer Science
  8. NirmalDatacomm Kiara

    NirmalDatacomm Kiara New Member

    Hey! thats brilliant keep it up.

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