ccna experience

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I just passed the CCNA, and thought that sharing my experience might be helpful for others.

I've been working as a Unix System Administrator for about 4 years, but with not much networking exposure (layer 3 and below is mostly handled by another team). Browsing around casually, I got the impression that the CCNA is not very difficult and should be easy to pass for anybody with a willingness to study a bit and some background knowledge.

I was surprised to find it actually quite a bit harder than that -- maybe it's my low expectations or maybe things have changed recently and the exam has gotten harder, I don't know.

Anyway, I was able to convince my employer to pay for a week-long boot camp, and in the end I think I'm glad I did. I took a 50 hours week long class with NetcomInfo, which provided a fair number of hands-on practical labs together with a summary of the different topics covered and provided me with access to Transcender practice exams and a network simulator.

The exam at the end of the week was reasonably close to the practice exams in the Transcender, I found. I was surprised to find that it took me the entire 90 minutes allotted (practice exams I'd done took me usually 30 -

45 minutes), but I guess was just more careful since in the exam you can't go back to a previously answered question.

I got a fair number of subnetting questions, including drag-and-drop, ``what's wrong with this setup'' etc., maybe three or four ISDN related questions, a good number of OSI layer questions, approx. 10 routing protocol related questions, some PPP and VLAN questions and of course a simulation that required me to fix a few mistakes in the given setup.

So that's that. As I said, I thought it was harder than I expected, but certainly, well obivously, doable. The only thing that bothers me is that there are a number of questions that require you to plain old memorize stuff that in the so-called real world you could simply look up in 2 seconds if you forgot it (such as whether or not you should use 'frame-relay interface-dlci N' or 'frame-relay dlci N' etc.).

Anyway, good luck to anybody else taking it.


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Jan Schaumann
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