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Which Cisco CNNA Course?

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by shadowgeist, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. shadowgeist

    shadowgeist New Member

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    Hi everyone!

    I'm relatively new here and I'm also relatively new to certification in general, so please be nice :D

    Well here I go ... I've been up all night yesterday thinking about which course(s) I should go for as I need to make up my mind asap - I need to make a decision by this coming Monday!

    I've just had a meeting with an advisor called Tony from NITLC on Friday afternoon (yesterday) about doing a TES (Technical
    and Systems Engineer) course with them for £3,900 including all exam fees.

    The above course gives you the following certifications:

    (1) CompTIA A+
    (2) CompTIA Network +
    (3) Microsoft MCP
    (4) Microsoft MCSE
    (5) Cisco CCNA
    and finally also a TES IT Tested Diploma (whatever that is?)


    The advisor's hard-sell was very good, I bombarded him with tons of questions and he answered them all positively and without any long pauses.

    The distant learning course sounds fantastic so far, but he did mention any exam re-takes I will have to pay for myself - fare enough I think?

    Of all the possible certicates that I can gain from this course, the certifications I really, really want are numbers 1,2 and 5: (A+,Network+, Cisco CCNA)


    However, I will have to go 3/4 of the way through their entire course before becoming CCNA certified, btw the entire course should take an average candidate2 years to complete I have been told. Does anyone beg to differ?

    .... My problem lies here:

    (1) I live in Worcester, my local College also does a Cisco CCNA course. It's part-time (every Thursday for 3 hours) & it's only a 1 year course for a steal at £339, its only £50 for Cisco exam fees if I pass internal exams, else its £100!

    (2) We also have a local IT Training company called Quanta Training Ltd that offers both the Comptia A+ (6 day course) and Network+ (3 day course) certifications each at a cost of £1790 and £895 respectively, they also do the Cisco CCNA course including exam fees for £1395 and to top it off it’s only a 5 day course.

    (Cost of all exam re-takes not included I think)


    so... its decisions, decisions what should I do:

    Take the distant learning route and pay through the nose OR go local and save money & above all TIME???

    Please, please everyone you're feedback is greatly appreciated as I need to give Tony (the NITLC advisor guy) an answer on Monday if wish to proceed with the distant learning course or not.

    If I don't go with distant learning course - then I need to enrol on the College course and with the local IT training company quick smart, as places a very limited like 2-3 places left!!!!

    What would u guys do if u were in my position and has anyone had any experiences with the above mentioned organisations?

    (Here's hoping somebody from Worcester or Hereford would answer my plea?)

    Thanks all for reading this v long message!


    Kind regards,



    Dave.
     
    Certifications: None at the moment
    WIP: possibly A+ Cert, then Network+
  2. carolinaviking

    carolinaviking Bit Poster

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    My $.02. First off, disregard the MCP. It is just a marketing bullet for them. Once you pass the first test to get your MCSE you will be an MCP. Being an MCP really means nothing to employers.

    Second, I think that the Comptia certs are important, but they will not be as valuable to you as the MCSE, so don't disregard the MCSE. The tests have gotten harder, thus bumping up the credibility of the cert somewhat, and Microsoft experts are in high demand. Even if you don't get into networking, Microsoft skills are valuable in the business world.

    I would probably pass on both of your options. Get two good books on A+, such as Sybex and whatever else. Spend a month where all you do is read those books and really, really learn them. At the same time, study all you can on the web...there are lots of free A+ study resources out there. At the end of the month, take the test. Cost: >£100 for two books + test fee. Time: 1 month

    Follow that with two books on Net+ and do the same thing. Cost: >£100 for two books + test fee. Time: 1 month

    Follow that with two books on CCNA. The only two books you need are the Cisco Press books by Wendell Odom...trust me on that, THEY ARE THE ONLY BOOKS YOU NEED. Study the Intro book for a month or two and study as many online resources as possible. Definitely spend lots of time on the Cisco website (discussion forums) and finally, invest in Chris Bryant's resources (www.thebryantadvantage.com. His is the best CCNA resource on the web, imho. After two months of intense study, take the Intro test.

    Follow that with the second book, ICND. Again, two months of intense study along with the Cisco website and Chris Bryant's stuff.

    After that, tackle the MCSA, not the MCSE, in the same manner. The MCSA is easier to get than the MCSE (for obvious reasons) but no employer will take you seriously as an MCSE with just a year or two of training and experience. You would have more success living up to the MCSA moniker for an employer. Then, later on, when you get the MCSE, you will be seen as a true MCSE rather than a paper MCSE. Those training courses churn out paper MCSEs/CCNAs/etc and really don't help you that much, other than to pass the test. If you pass the test without thorough understanding, then you will look pretty silly when you interview for a job and hit the technical interview. You'll get weeded out after the second question and that company will never offer you another interview in the future because you wasted their time and revealed yourself as a paper pro, not a real pro.

    If you devote a lot of your spare time to this project, you can have your Comptias and CCNA within six months, easily. You might be able to get Server+ and Security+ in there, too. The MCSA should not take more than six months of devoted study, either. But you must put your personal life on hold somewhat in order to get it all done.

    Honestly, once you have your first two Comptia certs, you should be able to land a job working phone support for a help desk somewhere. Start at the bottom and pay your dues for a year...it will pay off big time once you have your certs because you will have experience to match.
     
  3. carolinaviking

    carolinaviking Bit Poster

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    Let me add one more thing that I meant to include but forgot. Try to find a Cisco Networking Academy near you. That is the best option for getting your CCNA. I did it and the hands-on experience was very, very helpful. It was inexpensive (about $250 total) and the community college that offered it gave an accelerated option, which let me finish the course in less than six months.
     
  4. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Normally, I'd suggest this one since it's the most cost-effective and is probably the Cisco NetAcademy semesters 1 - 4 (and I took it so I know it's good). Problem is that if you have *no* networking experience, you might start to feel pretty overwhelmed. On the other hand, some people take to IT like a duck to water and just have a natural talent for it.

    The problem with this is that it's a 5 day course. Short term courses are meant for people who are already well versed in the subject but need an intensive update so they can pass the cert exam (usually because their employer is breathing down their necks requiring that they get the qual ASAP). If you have little or no background in basic networking and Cisco, you will drown sometime during the first day (are you sure you have already use and know Cisco IOS commands for instance?).

    You might get away with studying for the Network+ exam by self-study but often an outside training provider will be able to give you access to lab equipment for that valuable hands-on experience that you'd never be able to afford on your own.

    Just my feedback on the matter since you were asking for advice. Whatever you decide, good luck. :)
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  5. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Just curious, carolinaviking. A number of months ago, Mr. Bryant joined our little band and was posted more or less regularly for awhile (he since appears to have dropped below radar). I'd never heard of him before but figured he'd found us through the usual Google search. I'm interested in how you managed to find this fellow. Seems quite a coincidence.
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  6. carolinaviking

    carolinaviking Bit Poster

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    Tripwire, I assume he dropped off the radar because his website just underwent a major overhaul and he has been developing a ton of new resources. I first heard about him on the Cisco website certification forums. He is a regular there and lots of people have gotten help from him. I blew $15 six or eight months ago on his "Ultimate Study Package" and it was worth every penny. I had spent $40-75 on single books before and none of them laid the info out to me as simply as Mr. Bryant did. However, I need to add that when I got his study guide, I had read lots of books, gone through the Cisco Networking Academy first year program, and been a network administrator for several years, so it could very well be that when I read his stuff it seemed easy to me because I had a solid grip on it all beforehand. But from what I hear others say, his stuff really is good. He has been busy the past six months getting his racks built and he now gives cheap online access to routers and switches for CCNA/CCNP/CCIE candidates to practice on. I haven't tried them and I haven't heard any feedback on how well it works, but I don't see why it wouldn't be a good option for a newbie. Theoretically, it would be way better than a sim program like Boson because he has real routers and switches for you to play with. I'm pretty happy with how he's treated me and I recommend him to anyone who is interested in CCNA. Go to the Cisco.com certification discussion forum and you'll see him post there every day. I frequently see others post that they just passed the CCNA and when they thank other regulars on that forum, Chris Bryant's name comes up quite a bit.
     
  7. shadowgeist

    shadowgeist New Member

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    Just wanted to say a quick thank you to Tripwire45 and carolinaviking for their input.

    Your feedback guys and girls is excellent and very insightful. My mind has somewhat been put to ease.

    Currently, I'm still undecided on which route to take to gain my foot hold in IT Certification. However, I am hopefully going to make a decision by the end of this week and then I will let you guys know.


    Kind regards,


    Dave
     
    Certifications: None at the moment
    WIP: possibly A+ Cert, then Network+

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