If you think Cisco training might be for you, and
you've no practical experience with network switches or
routers, initially you should go for CCNA certification.
This will provide you with knowledge and skills to work
with routers. Vast numbers of routers make up the
internet, and large commercial ventures with various
different locations also need routers to allow their
networks of computers to communicate.
It's vital that you already know a good deal about
how computer networks operate and function, as networks
are connected to routers. If not, it's likely you'll run
into difficulties. Better to find training that also
includes the basics (CompTIA Network+ as an example -
maybe with the A+ as well) before getting going with
CCNA. You may find training companies will put such a
package together for you.
Getting your Cisco CCNA is what you should be aiming
for - at this stage avoid being tempted to do the CCNP
straight away. Once you've worked for a few years you
will have a feel for if you need to train up to this
level. If it is, you'll have significantly improved your
chances of success - as your working knowledge will put
everything into perspective.
It's quite a normal occurrence for students not to
check on something of absolutely vital importance - how
their company segments the training materials, and into
what particular chunks. Most companies will sell you a
program typically taking 1-3 years, and courier the
materials in pieces as you complete each exam. If you
think this sound logical, then consider this: Students
often discover that the company's usual training route
isn't as suitable as another. They might find it's more
expedient to use an alternative order of study. And what
happens if they don't finish in the allotted time?
To be in the best situation you would have every
piece of your study pack packed off to you right at the
start; every single thing! This way, nothing can happen
down the line which could affect your ability to finish.
You should remember: a course itself or an
accreditation isn't what this is about; the particular
job that you want to end up in is. Far too many training
organisations completely prioritise the piece of paper.
Imagine training for just one year and then end up doing
a job for a lifetime. Ensure you avoid the fatal error
of opting for what may seem to be a program of interest
to you and then spend decades in something you don't
You must also consider your leanings around earning
potential, career development, and whether you intend to
be quite ambitious. You need to know what industry
expects from you, what particular certifications are
required and how to develop your experience. Obtain help
from an experienced industry advisor that understands
the sector you wish to join, and who can give you 'A day
in the life of' outline of what kinds of tasks you'll be
undertaking with each working day. It's good sense to
discover if this is the right course of action for you
well before you start on any retraining programme. After
all, what is the reason in kicking off your training and
then find you've gone the wrong way entirely.
Be watchful that any accreditations you're studying
for are recognised by industry and are up-to-date.
'In-house' certificates are not normally useful in
gaining employment. From a commercial standpoint, only
the big-boys like Microsoft, Cisco, Adobe or CompTIA
(for example) will get you into the interview seat.
Nothing else makes the grade.
Many trainers provide piles of reference manuals and
workbooks. This can be very boring and not a very good
way of studying effectively. Years of research and study
has repeatedly shown that connecting physically with our
study, will more likely produce memories that are deeper
Locate a program where you'll receive a library of
DVD-ROM's - you'll begin by watching videos of
instructors demonstrating the skills, with the facility
to use virtual lab's to practice your new skills. It's
imperative to see the type of training provided by the
company you're considering. They have to utilise
instructor-led video demonstrations with virtual
Purely on-line training should be avoided. Physical
CD or DVD ROM materials are preferable where offered,
enabling them to be used at your convenience - and not
be totally reliant on your internet connection always
being 'up' and available.
(C) Jason Kendall. Look at LearningLolly.com for
in-depth career advice.
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