CCNA Training

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by ibis99, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. ibis99 macrumors regular

    Joined:
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    #1
    I've just started researching my possibilities for obtaining a Cisco Certified Network Associate certification. I'm in my early forties and I desperately want a career change,but I'm a bit concerned.

    For one, I do not have a college degree, and I do not have any experience in IT whatsoever. So i'm not even sure I can land that entry level position with just the first level cert.

    Secondly, where is the best place to obtain the coursework. Would online training suffice or should I consider my local community college?

    Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. MorphingDragon macrumors 603

    MorphingDragon

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    #2
    Why are you wanting to get CCNA? If you are wanting to be an IT engineer than you will need more than just CCNA. Many employers might not even care about your certifications. All I have RHCE in the way of certifications and I currently work as a consultant.

    Cisco put out official training books:
    http://www.amazon.com/CCNA-640-802-...=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1327287760&sr=1-2
     
  3. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

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    #3
    There was no mention of stopping with the CCNA. The CCNA is a good entry level cert for networking, and employers do pay attention to it, if for nothing else than to narrow down applicants for a job.

    Anyway, it really depends on how comfortable you are with general IT stuff, such as repairing PCs and such. While I have known people who managed to go in cold and brain dump the CCNA, it was not that easy for me. I was almost 30, and had been doing helpdesk/desktop type stuff and wanted to move onward and upward. I ended up going to a local community college that was a part of the Cisco Networking Academy. The program was really good, and we were doing hands-on learning right away. The Academy is based on hands on learning, and we were doing labs and training on real equipment, not simulators. I also got lucky and had some really good instructors. The drawback is that it was four semesters long, so it's not a quick thing.

    If you decide not to go that route, there are some good training materials available. I like the Boson simulators since they are pretty realistic. For books, the official Cisco books are dry, but have a lot of good info. I also like Todd Lammle's CCNA book.
     
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #4
    Just self-study. There is no reason why anyone with half a brain cannot just memorize and recite for the entry-level certification tests (Net+, CCNA, A+, etc).
     
  5. cuestakid macrumors 68000

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    #5
    please do not take this as an attack but....

    Please do not compare the CCNA to A+ or Network +. They are completely different test with completely different goals. Cisco exams are designed to test your knowledge of advanced network and Cisco hardware configuration and architecture. The only exam that is even close to CCNA is Security+ but only because of the cryptography you must master.

    You clearly have not ever looked at the CCNA material-it is an extremely difficult test with an enormous amount of material to learn. I know-i have taken three of the courses and it is a lot of material-and this is not including subnetting off the top of your head on a dime and all the cisco commands.

    please see this article as evidence of my stance


    http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/44164


    OP-take it from someone who has actually seen the material-enroll in their Networking academy (most community colleges have it) or get a high quality self study guide that allows for you to test and play with the cisco network simulator. Even better-get your hands on actual hardware.
     
  6. miles01110, Jan 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012

    miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #6
    Enormous amount of material to "learn"? Maybe... I didn't find it that bad, but then again I majored in a subject much more difficult than memorization. I didn't find it particularly difficult either, but difficulty will of course depend on a number of factors.

    It's really not anything that requires much thought if you can memorize a book. If you want to call that "learning," we can agree to disagree on the definition.

    Edit: I will agree that the CCNA is at a higher level than A+, Net+, and Sec+, though.
     
  7. MorphingDragon macrumors 603

    MorphingDragon

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    #7
    I can second this, just experiences from colleagues. People I know have compared it to some of the Red Hat Architect exams in terms of difficulty.

    I've never taken CCNA personally but that's because I specialized in networking at Uni and delved in a lot more advanced and lower level material than CCNA.
     
  8. cuestakid macrumors 68000

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    #8
    since I hate to get into attacks on boards we will have to agree to disagree.
     
  9. MorphingDragon macrumors 603

    MorphingDragon

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    #9
    But but... someone is wrong on the internet.
     
  10. eljanitor macrumors 6502

    eljanitor

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    #10
    I hope you love computers, and computer networking. You will need a minimum of a BS degree in computer science, your CCNA, and your A+and MCSE. I have tried for years to put a positive spin on the computer industry, and after working in it, it's very hard to.

    Most companies want someone with lots of experience who will work for very low pay. They want somewhere between 5- 10 years of experience. They want you to know every version of Windows OS, including server editions like you have them memorized. Then you have to know HTML, DOS, Linux, UNIX, Basic, virtual basic, and all aspects of routing and computer troubleshooting. There may be more requirements then this, I suggest that you search the requirements that employers are posting on job sites.

    You have to eat sleep and breathe computers everyday, all day for the rest of your life. You will be on call at most places, and you have to come in when you answer the phone. No excuses, get down here and fix this problem.........now.

    Some companies pay well for your time, some do not. Unfortunately from what I've experienced over the past few years is that it is an employers market. You may have a specialty, but if you don't know EVERYTHING they want you to do, and I do mean you will be asked to do EVERYTHING,(ie: know every make of cell phone and smart phone in existence ) for pay that is usually unacceptable, they will hire someone else until they burn out, and then they will just replace that person.

    You must Love computers with such a passion that you go to bed thinking about them, and wake up thinking about them.

    In my opinion there are better jobs out there with less stress.

    I honestly and sincerely wish you the best if this is what you choose to do.
     
  11. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #11
    I had a BS in Management and Information Sciences and a CCNA cert when I graduated college and couldn't even find a job in network engineering with that.

    So I ended up taking a job as a code monkey, err, programmer, despite not having a CS degree (and only taking 1 super easy Java class in college) and am doing quite well there and am happy where I am.

    Get the college degree first, then go for the CCNA. I don't think you even remotely have a shot at getting your foot in the door without the college degree.
     
  12. belvdr macrumors 603

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #12
    Not necessarily. A CCNA would be a great foot in the door of a small business repair shop. Corporate America, though, will likely require a degree and some experience.

    However, for the OP, a small business would be a great way to build experience and move up.
     
  13. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

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    #13
    I actually failed it twice before I finally passed it. I think part of my problem was that I over-analyzed every question. I have actually found the higher level Cisco tests to be easier than the CCNA (CCIE excepted, of course). It's as you said: the amount of material is sometimes overwhelming, and on the test you don't have much time to think things over. I believe it's either 65 or 75 questions, including one simulation, and only 90 minutes to finish. Also, they will do things like throw the same (correct) command in the answers, just in different modes, so you have to pay attention to where you are.

    The only test I have taken that was similar was the CISSP. It was not technically difficult, but there was a huge amount of information to deal with.

    It really saddens me that IT has gotten to where it needs a degree. When I got started, it was the great equalizer. If you knew your stuff, it didn't matter if you had a degree or if you were a high school dropout. Now, I see entry level desktop support type jobs requiring a degree in CS. Seriously? Of course, what is listed in the job ad and what they will take are often totally different. Honestly, though, that is one reason I went to the community college. When trying to move up, I kept getting told I didn't have the experience, certs, or degree, so I took care of one of them. Also, the community college I attended had a job-placement program and worked with local businesses to help grads find jobs.
     
  14. cuestakid macrumors 68000

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    #14
    have you taken the CCIE? Is it true that is like a two day test?
     
  15. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

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    #15
    I haven't taken it yet. I haven't been brave enough. :D

    I have gotten away from the hands-on network management stuff in favor of security lately, so I have been slacking. I know a couple of people who have taken it, and yes, it is a two-part exam. There is the CCIE written exam, and the CCIE lab. You have to pass the written exam before you can take the 8 hour lab exam. The written exam is $350, while the lab costs $1500(!). And you have to do this for each specialization you take, such as Routing&Switching, Voice, Security, etc.

    Check out the info on it here.
     
  16. MorphingDragon macrumors 603

    MorphingDragon

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    #16
    I raise you the game design industry. On Call? You get labeled as a traitor if you leave before 7 during crunch time!
     
  17. mcrumors macrumors newbie

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    Jan 24, 2012
    #17
    Ccnp?

    I know you're dealing with someone else's problem, but I've done a CCNA course - should I do CCNP Certification or CCNP Security now? Or is there something else? Please advise.
     
  18. MorphingDragon macrumors 603

    MorphingDragon

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    #18
    Do you need CCNP?

    Oddly enough specializations don't work in Cisco like you think they would. CCNP and CCNP security are completely different.
     
  19. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #19
    please do not take this as an attack but....

    RIP, Spanning Tree, subnetting, 802.1q, DHCP and physical/logical topologies is extremly difficult ?

    I'm sorry, if you find CCNA difficult in any sort of way (I got my cert sometime back in 2000, never bothered to renew it after that), then do not get into networking. CCNA is darn easy stuff. If you're having trouble with the topics in the CCNA coursework and test, then you will fail later on when you get to real networking protocols that are in actual use in the industry, things like OSPF, MPLS, BGP (and the dreaded Autonomous Systems). What will you do when you go beyond the topologies covered in CCNA (local lans and crappy wan links) to extended MANs using SONET topologies ?

    No really. CCNA. Piece of cake, dime a dozen cert. OP : A word of advice, if you want to get into IT, skip the certs for now. Do helldesk for some big corp or ISP. Once your foot is in the door, the possibilities are endless for advancement as companies tend to go for internal promoting rather than external recruiting. From helldesk, it's easy to go on to NOC work or desktop support or Systems surveillance and on to full-on systems administrator or network administrator. If you stick to it from there, you can move on to integrator (doing implementation work for new systems/technology) and on to systems/network architect (design and conception).

    ----------

    A CCNA in a small business repair shop ? What use is there for CCNA material there ? Most have very simple, unrouted, 1 segment LANs hooked up to some kind of Internet connection behind a NAT box.

    About the only chapter in CCNA that would matter is the one on DHCP, and frankly, if you can't figure out a DHCP server by yourself, you have no business running a small business repair shop.

    I don't put much value into certs. Most are just people memorizing crap for an exam and passing, they don't translate well to real world experience or knowledge. Branches of IT are also very diverse, and certs tend to be mostly topic specific, so they aren't really "a foot in the door" to IT to begin with. A CCNA doing desktop support has a wasted cert, same as an A+ guy trying to do basic level LAN administration (the type that involves multi-segment LANs with some base routing through a single or 2 routers, with multiple VLANs to maximize switch use).

    ----------

    What type of jobs are you even looking at ? You've listed about 3 types of jobs... and DOS ? I haven't seen DOS as a requirement in about a decade. I'm actually quite the DOS magician, if there is such a job, it might be nice for a little nostalagia trip.

    No really, requirements go with the work you'll be doing as far as I've seen. Programming jobs tend to require programming skills and some basic level of OS understanding (if you don't understand the underyling OS, how the hell are you loading up your IDE and working your code ?). Systems administration requires knowledge of the OS you're going to be administring (there's no Windows requirements in my job posting, we don't do Windows stuff here) and some basic scripting knowledge (every good systems administrator can write some basic code to automate tasks). Desktop support requires... well, PC component and Windows knowledge usually, though some jobs might ask for Mac and basic networking.

    No really, it's not as bad as you paint it out to be, at least around these parts and in my experience (and I've been in IT for more than a decade now).

    And a BS in computer science for IT ? Talk about a waste. Computer science has nothing to do with IT.
     
  20. belvdr macrumors 603

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    #20
    You make many assumptions. Many small businesses have much more than a single subnet and a NAT box (as you put it). This isn't your 1990s small business environment where many offices are setup like that. Yes they still exist, but there are plenty of SMBs that have an advanced environment, such as medical environments, but still too small to hire their own support personnel. I've seen it numerous times and the numbers keep getting larger.

    That's all personal preference and opinion, and it's not necessarily true. A CCNA doing desktop support can alleviate some of the load from the network team in a mid-size environment. We have it here and it works well when a desktop support guy can actually talk the talk without having to go through a series of questions. Plus, it's a $300 cert fee; it's small potatoes.
     
  21. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #21
    You went from small businesses to SMBs. You know what the M stands for right ?

    You're talking about Medium-sized businesses, quite a different ball game (since it will involved multiple sites usually).

    But again, nothing the CCNA even starts to cover. You mostly want either an extended site-to-site VPN from branch to main office and 1 local segments at each business site. Nothing fancy, nothing the CCNA touched on when I passed it like 12 years ago.

    I made no assumptions. You just moved the goalposts. I did do SMB support for a while (NOC/systems administration level work) so I do know the differences. I was also the one to implement a massive scale VPN (using Cisco PIX technology of the time at that! it's even on topic, if not covered by the CCNA at all (CCSP covered the PIX stuff)) for our consulting business for remote monitoring and added security (encryption and firewalling) during remote work of the client site.

    Trust me when I tell you there's a big difference between a small business and a medium business in terms of IT infrastructure.

    A CCNA doing desktop support that can "talk the talk" usually just results in some basic form of entertainment during network debugging. At best, a CCNA for desktop support can help you get out of the hellhole desktop support is. If your goal however is to get into desktop support, I don't see the value really.

    I could talk the talk before doing the CCNA. Passing the test didn't teach me about subnets, VLANs, and all other basic networking concepts and frankly, I've seen some CCNAs that couldn't talk their way out of a paperbag, much less manage to explain how a packet is routed inside a very simple 2 segment network with static routes.
     
  22. belvdr macrumors 603

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    #22
    And that's your issue. 12 years ago. I'm currently certified and there are topics covering this.

    I don't need to trust you; I've done it too. I didn't move the goalposts at all. Mid-size doesn't necessarily mean anything in terms of infrastructure. You can have a mid-size business full of personnel or a team of VPN users. You can't cookie-cutter all types of businesses.

    Good for you. But what's good for you isn't always what is good for others.

    I agree, though, that there are certified people that are just that and can't handle the actual work.
     
  23. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #23
    Looking through the course work (ICND1 & ICND2) I see they did update the curriculum a bit. But frankly, I don't see anything there that remotely relates to real world stuff. WLANs, EIGRP, Single-Area OSPF and still good old RIP with a sprinkle of VLANs. Frankly, we're quite far from actual network competency, same as it was 12 years ago (why do you think I never bothered to renew it ?).

    The Single-Area OSPF bit worries, if it's anything like what they teach about RIP and RIP v2, you basically have no clue of how OSPF actually works in a real extended network where it's in actual use (the protocol for route advertisement and lifecycle), but you sure know how to type in router OSPF and network X.X.X.X statements which while nice, is the same syntax used for every other routing protocol.

    I wonder if they still just gloss over Inside/Outside routing protocols and the differences between the two with only a mention towards autonomous systems. I also hope they updated the ACL chapter and router security to add some basic "good ethiquette" security like egress filters on inside/local interfaces.

    I'm not really the guy to discuss certifications with though, I really do hate them and don't really see the value. The guys who are knowledgeable and have certs usually aren't knowledgeable thanks to the certs. It's the other way around, they got the certs to fill a basic bean counter requirement and were knowledgeable about the field prior to the certification.

    The certified people who had no clue and thought the certification would teach them something are usually in my experience as useless the day after the test as they were the day before the test.
     
  24. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

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    #24
    If the OP hasn't been scared off by now, the best way to prepare for any of the Cisco certs is with hands-on with Cisco routers. If you don't have real routers available, there are emulators such as GNS3 which is a graphical front-end for Dynamips which allows you to boot up actual IOS images on an emulator. You graphically place whatever routers you want on the screen, link them using whatever interfaces you want, then click into their console to configure them as you would any physical router. The hard part is getting IOS images to run on the emulator.

    Then go through Cisco's online training for whichever cert you want to take. If you truly have no networking knowledge, you could take a community college course (even if it isn't Cisco specific) then you can self-study the Cisco specific stuff.
     
  25. cuestakid macrumors 68000

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    #25


    I am glad you had it easy-not everyone can and does. I personally had trouble with a lot of (but not all) the material primarily because A) I had no means of seeing this material on real life gear and B) Because I just didn't like the way I had to learn it in school.

    I agree-things like RIP VLANs, DHCP and toplogies are not difficult-its the sum of the parts.
     

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