Microsoft or Cisco Certs?

We sometimes get asked, "What's the difference between Microsoft and Cisco certifications?"

To quickly summarize:

Microsoft certifications are about managing computers and servers, working with operating systems, potentially opening the boxes and working with hardware, and definitely a lot of application and other software installation, troubleshooting, and upgrading. There are some major specializations, such as Exchange, SQL Server, or SharePoint.

Cisco certifications are networking-based, that's subnetting, routing, switching, working with networking devices and managing traffic. The focus isn't on servers or end-users, but on the underlying networks and the technologies that make data flow over the wire. You'll also see things like voice, wireless, and storage networking, which are all fairly specialized. All of the fundamentals of routing and switching are covered in the CCNA certification.

CCNA Exam Question Types Demo

We received this email last week about the CCNA exam simulation questions.

"Earlier this month, I actually decided to take the test. Needless to say, I didn't pass for a simple reason.... The simulations were a bit confusing. I pretty much had to skip all of them.  I do know how to configure switches and routers, but for some reason I just couldn't wrap my head around the simulations; they were much different than I assumed. What everything came down to in the end was really the troubleshooting (which I'm working on being as much familiar with it as possible now that I know it was a weak point). All in all, I feel that I will have a chance on passing it next go around. If ever your training goes back down to 99 dollars, I may consider that route, but for now I will continue my studies that way I have been."


A lot of students fall into this trap. They learn the theory and a little bit of troubleshooting, but they have no idea what the CCNA exam will be like when they go to the testing center.
Luckily Cisco have a little known demo which shows you what types of questions you will encounter on the exam and lets you try them out. Once you are familiar with the different types of exam questions, you'll be much more confident going into the exam.

Go to the Cisco Exam demo

How to Setup Your CCNA Lab

We often get asked the question "How do I set up my CCNA lab?".

Your CCNA lab setup will change depending what exercises you are working on.

For example: If you are building an EIGRP lab, you will need a completely different configuration to a lab designed for Router-On-A-Stick.

Luckily our CCNA Bootcamp explains all the kit you will require in your CCNA lab, and during the course you will discover how to setup your lab for certain exercises.

Getting hands-on lab practice is important, but sometimes it isn't practical to build your own lab, so we will explain alternatives you can use such as lab simulators.

You'll learn about the different cable types, connectors and devices, how to connect and configure them, and then how to troubleshoot the setup. You will also learn all the syllabus required to take and pass the Cisco CCNA exam.

So what are you waiting for? Enroll in our online CCNA Bootcamp today and begin your journey into the world of computer networking.

If you are unsure about the CCNA or you want to try our training course enter your name and email address on our homepage to begin your free trial.

See you in class soon!

Bill Davis's CCNA Success Secrets

"I understood subnetting well enough that I could do it in my head, quickly" ~ Bill Davis

Our latest CCNA graduate shares his experience with studying and passing his CCNA exam.

1.) A lot of people never know if they are ready to sit the exam, what advice would you give them?

For me to feel that I had a complete understanding, at  least at a CCNA level, of the information I was studying I needed to practice theory and lab and utilize them together when troubleshooting (where you really learn).  If you can complete new, and challenging troubleshooting labs, you have a firm understanding of both hands on and theory.  Other than that make sure you know your subnetting.  I am not one for memorization, so I ensure that I understood subnetting well enough that I could do it in my head, quickly.

2.) Revising for the CCNA exam can be daunting due to the amount of knowledge you need to be able to recall, how did you overcome this?

Review, review, review.  I ended up utilizing 5 single subject notebooks for my studying.  As I came closer to my test date I also utilized testing applications and websites.  Utilize sites that test your abilities, not dump sites.  

3.) What kept you motivated towards your goal of becoming CCNA certified?

Looking forward to a better job and career

4.) How did you ensure you had studied enough on specific topics?

Via testing applications and test sites.

5.) What methods did you use to study for the CCNA?

I used a combination of books, videos, labs, test application and test sites.

6.) If you were to begin studying again, what would you do differently?

I would have set my test date at the beginning.  I took too long to study for my CCNA, although I did finish with a 960.

7.) What difference did our site have on your overall success?

Having questions of the day hit my inbox really was refreshing and I still utilize them daily.  In fact, I forward them to several colleagues that are contemplating studying for their tests.

Bill Davis
CCNA Certified
WAN/Internet/Security

 

Do I Need Equipment for CCNA Course?

While you could attempt to pass the CCNA exam without any practice configuring and troubleshooting labs, we do not advise it. The CCNA is not an easy exam, especially if you are unprepared.

The CCNA syllabus covers a lot of practical skills along side the theory behind it, and the exam is designed to test your knowledge of this.

There are different ways you can get this practical experience, and we've put together a video explaining your options.


The video is part of the free trial of our online CCNA Success Bootcamp. To begin your free trial simply submit your name and email on our homepage.

Do you Offer Training in my Area?

We often get asked the question "Do you offer classroom training in my area?"

Unfortunately we only offer online training courses. This helps keep our costs down and enables us to keep the training fees low for you.

Some people prefer working from home at their own pace, while other people like to study with other students and be have direct access to an instructor.

You should be able to find training companies offering CCNA training in your local area, but I guarantee they will be far more expensive than a distance learning course such as our online CCNA Bootcamp.

Decide what is best for you, and if you have any questions regarding our CCNA Bootcamp training, please contact us.

What Happens if I Fail my CCNA?

We recently received this email from one of our students after they failed their first attempt at the CCNA exam.

Hi Nik

unfortunately I failed my first attempt, though I purchased your cheat sheet.

but I'm not blaming anyone either than myself. I could not get my trouble shooting commands right and the time seemed to fly.

I will be very grateful  if you can assist me with my exam on the 19th july 2013

thanks

Anthony

We wanted to share our advice to Anthony with our other CCNA students, because the CCNA is a hard exam and many people fail first time.

Hi Anthony,

I'm sorry to hear you didn't succeed at your first attempt, but don't worry because many people do, you are not alone.

Sadly just like the exams at school and college you need to learn how to take the test to some extent.

Even if you know all the theory and IOS commands etc you need to be familiar with the test format, and if you don't plan your time wisely you can quickly find yourself rushing to complete the test.

It sounds like you've already booked your next exam, this is excellent, if you don't do this quickly you'll start to forget all your training.

Remember the proverb:

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again"

Take a piece of paper and write down all the areas of the exam you struggled in. Work on these topics continuously right up to your next exam. Try to turn these weaknesses into strengths.

Next time you sit the exam you'll be more relaxed, more self-confident and much more likely to pass the exam.

Good luck!

Nik

Note: The student who wrote this email wishes to remain anonymous so the names have been changed.

CCENT is the new CCNA

Cisco are making some big changes to the CCNA and CCENT certifications from 1st October 2013. Here is an infographic detailing all the changes to the CCNA.

The CCENT used to be a stepping stone certification that got you half way toward the CCNA, and this hasn't changed, what has changed are the syllabuses for the ICND1(CCENT exam) and ICND2.

The new CCENT syllabus is roughly equilvalent to the current CCNA syllabus, which will make the CCENT a much harder exam come October. The ICND2 has also been changed to include some topics from the CCNP with a big focus on troubleshooting.

By making these changes Cisco has positioned the CCENT as being their core network certification. Once you complete the ICND1 and get your CCENT you are free to continue your studies along your chosen speciality, by either studying for the CCNA Voice, CCNA Wireless, or CCNA Routing & Switching.

The problem with these changes for students, is that employers are aware of the CCNA, they understand that it's a tough certification and they can conclude that you must know your networking to a high level if you have a CCNA. But the same doesn't apply with the CCENT. The CCENT is a fairly new certification (introduced in 2007) and gets you only halfway to the CCNA. Lots of employers don't value the CCENT like they value the CCNA. Hopefully this will change, but in the short term at least, you are going to have to work much harder to get the CCNA Routing & Switching certification which employers are looking for.

This is why we are encouraging all those who are interesting in getting their CCNA certification to get it before 30 September this year. You'll save yourself a lot of time and effort and achieve the same certification as those who take the exam after that date.

Advice from a CCNA Graduate

We asked our latest CCNA graduate TJ Zimmer about his journey to becoming a CCNA for the second time after letting his CCNA lapse over 9 years ago.

1.) A lot of people never know if they are ready to sit the exam, what advice would you give them?
Set a date, study the simulation examples, take a lot of practice exams, and when you are scoring 85% on the exams you will be ready.  Distractions will come and if you aren't ready then push the date.  It is cheaper to push the date and pass the exam then not, rush the exam, fail the exam and have to take it over again.

2.) Revising for the CCNA exam can be daunting due to the amount of knowledge you need to be able to recall, how did you overcome this?
I originally took my exam over 12 years ago and let it expire.  So there was so much more information to grasp.  Repetition on areas that I was weak was very helpful.  If I studied something I wasn't to sure on I would go over that area extra.

3.) What kept you motivated towards your goal of becoming CCNA certified?
Working in IT, people around me were great encouragement in getting the cert.  Also my wife was a huge support in pushing me to succeed, especially since I didn't pass the test the first, second or third time around.

4.) How did you ensure you had studied enough on specific topics?
When I took the practice exams it would notify me of the areas I didn't grasp.  Also taking the exam and failing showed me the areas that Cisco likes to focus on for the exam.  So those were areas I paid special attention too.

5.) What methods did you use to study for the CCNA?
I had books, instructional videos, a Boot Camp, and practice exams.

6.) If you were to begin studying again, what would you do differently?
Make sure I could dedicate more time without interruption.  When you have a full time job and a family it can be difficult to carve out the time.  My family was very supportive.

7.) What difference did our site have on your overall success?
Internetwork Training had great practice questions and theory to follow.  Highly recommend using and the resources that are available.

TJ Zimmer (CCNA)
Senior Network Engineer - Voice