|Sent on:||Monday, March 11, 2013 9:11 AM|
Many people have contacted me about getting their CCNA. I'd like to post my experience since it's recent, and it was a good one. As an aside, I'm still talking with Cisco to procure a meeting site. I'll have more information by the end of the week.
(1) I have no affiliation with ANYONE concerning CCNA testing. That means I will earn nothing from the advice I give in any way. I'm sharing because I like to share. You will find evidence that I like to share on my web site.
(2) The following is my opinion concerning my experience. It is not the be-all-end-all. Others may have, or would, experience(d) something different, following the same path. Said differently, my missive is subjective, therefore, arguable. I don't have any intention of going tit-for-tat with anyone concerning this-point-or-that-point. It was my experience, period. That said, allow me to offer what I found to be the best path for me. I invite others to do the same.
I went to DePaul University, in 2011 & 2012, to study specifically for a CCNA. It was expensive & time consuming. When I took the CCNA the first time, nothing on the exam matched what I was taught. But, in some ways, it was worth it. What was needed was someone to bring it all together and prepare me for the CCNA exam. Although DePaul said they were preparing me, they weren't. Yet, I needed the knowledge I received from DePaul, to take the next step. Going to a university can be improved-on a great deal, concerning time and money. Bottom line concerning my University experience: it prepared me in some basic ways that I could have easily learned from cheaper courses over the internet.
The best source I found to prepare me and make sure I passed the CCNA was, Todd Lammle (lammle.com).
Here's a list of his upcoming CCNA boot camps: http://www.lammle.com/cisco-courses/
I didn't go to the camp physically, I called into the camp. I didn't want to travel; it was 2k less than attending. However, if he is coming to your hometown, then, it may be worth it to go to the hotel where he is holding the seminar. Todd will warn you that you must not be disturbed during the 5 day boot camp, day and evening. Listen to him because he's correct. You'll work 14 hours a day. This is why he encourages you to come to the camp at the hotel. Not because it costs more; it's about not being disturbed, and burying yourself in your work, for five days. On the sixth day, you take the exam, there, on site, if you are attending in person. Otherwise, if you are not attending on site, you must take it at a proctored site at your own expense.
Todd is expensive but your chance of passing is excellent & here's why: His practice tests on focus-area's of the CCNA exam are priceless. That's all I can say about that. Trust me, it's worth it.
Todd will guide you through the exam if you fail. He will hold at least three extra sessions on the phone with everyone who didn't pass and will help you in every way he can to get you your certification. I can't say enough about this guy. He can be brash, but he has a lot to say in a short amount of time and expects you to work as hard as he is working. He wants you to pass.
I think it's about 4k if you go to boot camp and 2k if you call in like I did. Do the practice sections over and over. Listen to him during the boot camp when he says "you need to know this"; There's a reason.
Lastly, I was pleased to receive a software program from the boot camp called Packet Tracer. Forget the hardware, this program emulates everything you could possibly need. Yes, it's important to have 'hands-on' work. I had a whole rack of routers and switches. But, once I got into Cisco Packet Tracer, everything came together; it's superior to hardware when you're in the learning stage and trying to pass the CCNA. Furthermore, many companies want you to know how to use Packet Tracer. The program is priceless and you receive it as part of the seminar package.