CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?

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What's the general concensus for the best way to tackle a CCNA?

I intend taking classes, they have all the lab facilities and I'll get
several evenings tuition a week for about 9 months, but it'll cost
nearly 1500 ($2500?)

Is this sensible? Am I better just buying the books and spending the
money on a second-hand lab setup?

Classes sound good as far as keeping me disciplined right through to the
exams, but if 95% of people just buy books, and tend to pass, then I'm a
bit unsure about laying down all this money.

As a relative newbie to networking the classes may well be a good
grounding for me, but would I be able to progress to further
qualifications using books/boot camps? The costs for further classes
after CCNA frighten me.

Any views gratefully received, especially from anyone who considered a
long period of classes a good idea.


Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?


Im doing a CCNA Course, mine comprises of the A+ N+ and then the CCNA which
takes me through everything. i then intend to go and take the CCNP.
altogether the CCNA is going to cost me 2500 and its a 2 year course, im
doing my course at home with a college called  Skills Train (
http://www.skillstrain.co.uk/ you can visit their site here)

hope this helps you.

Miller




Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?


David Miller wrote:
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Thanks for the reply. Very best of luck with your course!

It's good to know my fees are comparable, given the shorter timeframe.
I think maybe I'm daunted by the thought of classes week-in week-out
straight after work, I'll have to get into a routine.

There's certainly many less constructive ways to spend the same time and
money :)

Will have a look at the website you posted.






Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?


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Ouch, that's a lot of dosh to pay for a CCNA and a long time.  The first two
Cisco CCNA semesters cover a lot (agreed not all, but the bits that are
missing are easilly learnt) of the material needed for the Network+ so you
are not necessarilly gaining any extra knowledge.
See my previous post re FE colleges.





Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?


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My opinion is that classes will mostly involve reading books anyway and that
I see no necessity to pay for some well-qualified professional to paraphrase
the content to me.

We'll see... I am on the prowl for certs again  after taking a 3yr break
from a.c.c

I rather like my Cisco virtual labs that are freely available for Cisco
partners, which I am. :-)

Become a Cisco partner, and this adventure will become far more accessible.
--
Leonid S. Knyshov
Crashproof Solutions, LLC - http://www.crashproofsolutions.com
MCP Exchange 2003, CCNA, SCSA 8




Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?


Leonid S. Knyshov wrote:

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After many expensive years at College I tend to agree with you, I could
have learned the same myself with books in a much shorter time at far
less cost. It does require much willpower and genuine interest in the
subject though to keep going right to the end. I have so many other
things going on that I still think I'd need the discipline of classes to
keep my head in the books.

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Would this involve starting a company that specifies cisco products for
clients? If so, this may be quite a way off for me at the moment, I'll
be struggling to meet the CCNA fees! Maybe a few years down the line..

Thanks for the reply though, I appreciate it, I'm still considering my
options..


Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?


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If you are in the North West, I'll teach you and get you through the CCNA
for less than 2500 and in a much shorter time frame than you were
considering ;-).




Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?


Dave wrote:

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Thanks, but I'm up in Scotland. I just checked the fees and it's 330
per semester, so just over 1300, plus I imagine books and any old kit I
might want to buy. I will enquire more about the fees though, maybe I've
seen the 'corporate' fee for companies putting their employees through,
but I doubt it... I know it'll cost me.


Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?


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The cost of the course might not be subsidised, see my other post.




Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?



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If the college you got that price from is a Cisco Networking Academy you
won't need books, all the required material will be made a available to you
online.

Being an Academy Instructor and re-certified CCNA last month I can tell you
that the online curriculum and associated in-class labs more than prepare
you for the cert exam - if fact I was irked by the feeling that the exam
seemed to only test about 30% of what I had crammed!

In my experience the "books-only private study approach" really only works
for those already working in networking in some way and are looking for the
CCNA cert as an extension of their existing qualifications and/or knowledge.

My advice would be if you are a networking novice to attend classes - the
issue (other than cost) is the time factor - how quickly do you want to
become certified?

Another post made the comment:
" My opinion is that classes will mostly involve reading books anyway and
that I see no necessity to pay for some well-qualified professional to
paraphrase the content to me."
which indicates a pretty sad learning experience in my view.  Of course the
instructor will paraphrase the content, but hopefully they will also
explain, and re-iterate the tricky and important things, and demonstrate,
and use a range of examples, and answer your questions - all things books
can't directly do.  And the classes will not involve much reading of books,
they should involve doing lots of labs which will develop your practical
networking configuration and troubleshooting skills.

If you post the name of the institute you got that price from I can tell you
if it is a Cisco Networking Academy or not.

I have no idea of the cost structures there in Scotland, but maybe that's
the price of the CCNA only training.  Perhaps if you can enroll in a diploma
or similar course in IT or Computer Systems that incorporates the CCNA in
it, the cost of that component may be cheaper.  In our college our part-time
evening students do that - only 10% actually complete the full diploma, the
other 90% just do the CCNA modules and that's all.  Cheaper for them that
way and we still get the student hours we need to employ us.

All the best

Aubrey







Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?


Aubrey Adams wrote:

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Maybe I should get broadband then? Depends on whether it's just info
pages and downloads which I could manage fine with dialup, or
interactive tutorials.

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I work in IT, but not networking, I see the course as a way to get into
networking. Whether I'd end up just being one out of many also looking
for a networking opening I'm not sure. I'm under no illusions that a
CCNA will be an automatic passport to a good job, unless anyone knows
differently. Experience seems to be preferable to qualifications these
days, but then again you do need to know the theory to start with.

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It is an official networking academy, a further education college.

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Thanks for the tip, I'll definitely investigate that, but it would have
to depend on the classes being in the evening, I won't get any time off
work.


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I'm not sure if you would *need* broadband connection for this but your
online time might become significant.


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Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?


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That's a lot easier than you think without any real requirements (same as
Microsoft Registered Partner level). All you do is apply for Cisco
partnership at http://www.cisco.com/go/partner, which is free at Registered
level. There is nothing wrong with doing business with Cisco as a sole
proprietor, which requires using your own name as the business name. And if
you do need to sell a few small Cisco boxes, well it is helpful to be an
authorized Partner. :-)

Think about it. :-)
--
Leonid S. Knyshov
Crashproof Solutions, LLC - http://www.crashproofsolutions.com
MCP Exchange 2003, CCNA, SCSA 8




Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?


Leonid S. Knyshov wrote:

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I do have a company, I'm surprised it slipped my mind there, probably
because it does very little except exist as a means to getting paid for
my current contracting.

"Free at registered level" - does that mean simply registering with the
cisco site, or does it require being a registered CCNA holder? I'll
certainly do it if it's free!

Thanks.


Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?


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Yes it's free, you'll just need to apply to the program and sign an
agreement upon approval, but it may take some time for approval. You do not
need to hold a Cisco certification, at least you didn't need to do that
before.

Note that I do not work for Cisco, so everything I say is to the best of my
knowledge. Just go to the site and explore it. Partnerships are a good
thing. Get one setup with Microsoft as well if that makes sense for your
business. :-)
--
Leonid S. Knyshov
Crashproof Solutions, LLC - http://www.crashproofsolutions.com
MCP Exchange 2003, CCNA, SCSA 8




Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?


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If time is not an issue, you can do this for significantly less at your
local FE college.  Some colleges charge 150 or there abouts per semester (4
of 'em per year).
There's a list of Cisco Academies in the UK on Cisco's site somewhere.

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I'm not convinced about the just buying books bit.  While it *might* help
you pass the exam, it will tell during the the first *real* interview you
subsequently encounter.

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Then as a newbie, spend the dosh wisely, go to a local FE college.

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They can be if you have the time.  If you have a deadline, then obviously
not.  It's really down to your circumstances.




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Dave wrote:

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Thanks Dave.
The prices I quoted *were* for a FE college, so prices must vary..
Because I'm working full time, I'd have to pay the full whack. If I was
unemployed, or on some other form of support then the prices might go
down to the level you mentioned, not sure if the Cisco course allows
this, most other FE courses do. It's a lot of money, but given that it's
12 hours a week over 9 months it's not a bad deal really. Some courses
charge this a day, not that I agree with that sort of exorbitant charging.


Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?


The Course im doing is the cheapest around,as far as i knew the only place
to do it was with pitman training and they were going to charge a lot more
than what im paying now. im located in winchester ( south west england near
southampton ), yes your right i could of done it cheaper but the only way to
do that was to move up north to my home town ( peterborough ) and go back to
college and do it for free with the social paying for the course. The reason
i didnt opt for this was because i have a family now in winchester and they
didnt want to move back to peterborough and i wouldnt want to go alone.

Ahh well i chose the worse option of doing it but at least im doing it and
im "guarenteed" a job at the end, so skills train say (
www.skillstrain.co.uk ).




Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?


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I'm gobsmacked!  I thought, because of the price, that it must be a private
company you had approached.
I've just phoned Mancat (www.mancat.ac.uk) who told me that last years price
was 598 for the year.  I seem to remember hearing that if a college could
align a course with the OCR (Oxford, Cambidge and RSA exam boards) then they
could obtain funding to reduce the cost of the course.  Chances are that
colleges offering the CCNA less than what you have been quoted are either on
such a scheme or similar.

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I've checked, if you are unemployed, it's free!

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Move down south? ;-)

If you can afford to spend it then do.  It's marginal then think of
alternatives.  You can buy a couple of routers off ebay for a few quid, I'm
not referring to the dog's danglies routers but those like the Cisco 1600
series which I've even heard of being thrown out by companies before now!
There were a few on ebay recently which sold for 10 but it was from a
trader and so more expensive than normal.





Re: CCNA - Books or Classes, what's best?


Dave wrote:

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I'm looking at 1300 just now, I'll ask them about any other options
though - doing it as part of a computer diploma, not being sponsored
etc. Plenty people do have the money though I imagine.

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Not worth giving up my job for though! In fact, if I did, I'd probably
still not get it free because I'd have left my job 'voluntarily' and
wouldn't qualify for income support - they have all bases covered!

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Saw a beat-up 1600 in a computer shop recently, and I asked about the price:
"Ooh, I don't know, you'll have to ask the boss. It's cisco, won't be
cheap..."
I did as you suggest, looked them up on ebay, and just as you say they
go for around a tenner. They also had 5 brand new ones going for 250.


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