Cisco Certification

Bismuth

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I have always been interested in networking, and have considered various certifications in the past, but never gone forward with it. Now, I have decided it is time for me to get on with it, and have decided on a Cisco certification, and will do the two CCNA exams separately for reasons that become apparent below. I am not too worried about the salary, as it is a field I would love to work in. What opportunities there are in South Africa once I get the certification, having little practical experience?.

I am working full-time, and am already studying a degree (BInf) through Unisa, My reason for adding this to my work(study?)load, is to improve my employability. I figure a Information Scientist who knows networking, or a Networking Specialist who understands information, should be worth something. I will continue with the degree even if I get employment in the networking field.

Unfortunately my current employment is not related to either of these fields, so would have to use a simulator, glad to see that QEMU is already installed on my system.

From what I have discovered via Google, it seems as if the CBT Nuggets are a good source as well, so will make use of these as well as the various Cisco Press publications

I would ultimately like to specialise in IT Security, again a field I have an interest in learning more about.

Am I insane, or should I continue with the above? :D

B
 

LoneWolf

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i am exactly in the same seat as you! i recently did my CCNA course @ Tourque-IT in Rivonia (highly recommended) and will be writing the separate exams as well. i think the composite is going to cover much less. work wise, i think it opens a lot of doors for you. unfortunately, the only thing that will be against you is experience. if looked at many jobs available and everyone want 2-5yrs experience. but eventually, you will get something and work your way up :) thats what i'm busy doing. i use the Packet Tracer SIM for my excersizes and it works quite well. i would say continue with your plan. currently there is quite a need for net techies and specialists out there
 

Roger.Wilco

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The CCNA qualification is an entry level qualification if you want to get into networking. Don't expect a big salary, especially not without experience. It's basically the same as the MCSE if you want to go into servers / systems.
 

Bismuth

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i am exactly in the same seat as you! i recently did my CCNA course @ Tourque-IT in Rivonia (highly recommended) and will be writing the separate exams as well. i think the composite is going to cover much less. work wise, i think it opens a lot of doors for you. unfortunately, the only thing that will be against you is experience. if looked at many jobs available and everyone want 2-5yrs experience. but eventually, you will get something and work your way up :) thats what i'm busy doing. i use the Packet Tracer SIM for my excersizes and it works quite well. i would say continue with your plan. currently there is quite a need for net techies and specialists out there
Thanks, will look at that SIM you mentioned as well. I see I need a new folder in my Bookmarks for Cisco stuff now! :)

The CCNA qualification is an entry level qualification if you want to get into networking. Don't expect a big salary, especially not without experience. It's basically the same as the MCSE if you want to go into servers / systems.
Not expecting a big salary, I would be happy with something matching what I am making now (not as much as you think!). I have no problem with starting at the bottom and working my way up, I realise this and will even start with bringing the coffee for the Junior Network Admins if necessary! :)

B
 

ponder

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Bismuth,

Have a look at GNS3, Dynamips, Dynagen etc
 

LoneWolf

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also, to prep for exams, go to 9tut.net and examcollection.com to get practice exams...helps a lot!
 

NoLogic001

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Good luck is all I can say.

The CCNA exams was quite easy 7 - 10 years ago. Now a days it is VERY practical orientated. You will have questions pending big corporate network infrustracture and there will be simulated router questions.

Regardless, it is an excellent certification to have, doing the course without the international certification is pointless.
Be prepared to move into networking as an career path. This certification also needs to be renewed every 3 years.

you need:

Perfect understatndin of IP addresses and subnet masks.
Basic router configuration.
understanding of the OSI model.

If you got that you will be fine.
 
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Bismuth

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Good luck is all I can say.

The CCNA exams was quite easy 7 - 10 years ago. Now a days it is VERY practical orientated. You will have questions pending big corporate network infrustracture and there will be simulated router questions.

Regardless, it is an excellent certification to have, doing the course without the international certification is pointless.
Be prepared to move into networking as an career path. This certification also needs to be renewed every 3 years.

you need:

Perfect understatndin of IP addresses and subnet masks.
Basic router configuration.
understanding of the OSI model.

If you got that you will be fine.
Thanks for that, will take note. Obviously want to move into networking, decided on Cisco, and want to take it all the way to Architect.

See that the book (ICND1 from Cisco Press via Exclusives) will take up to 15 days to arrive, pity I can't get it sooner. Oh well, will check out the SIMs and other info till then.

B
 

ponder

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Obviously want to move into networking, decided on Cisco, and want to take it all the way to Architect.
All the best. I hope you have time & the patience to gather the necessary skills over many years to get there. I reckon you would be better of attempting this from the US/EU where you will be exposed to bigger stuff than what we see in SA, not that you can't do it from SA but your scope is a bit limited here.
 

Bismuth

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All the best. I hope you have time & the patience to gather the necessary skills over many years to get there. I reckon you would be better of attempting this from the US/EU where you will be exposed to bigger stuff than what we see in SA, not that you can't do it from SA but your scope is a bit limited here.
I do realise that, and you are probably right that it would be better to attempt it overseas, but I will start here for now, and see where it takes me. If it gets to a point where I feel limited in SA, will look overseas then.

The reason I want to get all the way to Architect is simple, I don't like the idea of say getting to a point and staying there, knowing that I can improve on it further. How long does it take to get to Architect, on average? (Will also research this, but just asking here as well).

B
 

Bismuth

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Good luck is all I can say.

The CCNA exams was quite easy 7 - 10 years ago. Now a days it is VERY practical orientated. You will have questions pending big corporate network infrustracture and there will be simulated router questions.

Regardless, it is an excellent certification to have, doing the course without the international certification is pointless.
Be prepared to move into networking as an career path. This certification also needs to be renewed every 3 years.

you need:

Perfect understatndin of IP addresses and subnet masks.
Basic router configuration.
understanding of the OSI model.


If you got that you will be fine.
Thanks, have bookmarked a number of sites, and downloaded some PDFs, dealing with these, will view them later as I have worked nightshift and am running on reserves atm.

I am amazed how much information I have found on the above, with the help of The Cisco Learning Network and Google.

B
 

syntax

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Thanks for that, will take note. Obviously want to move into networking, decided on Cisco, and want to take it all the way to Architect.

See that the book (ICND1 from Cisco Press via Exclusives) will take up to 15 days to arrive, pity I can't get it sooner. Oh well, will check out the SIMs and other info till then.

B
Why cisco specifically? Are you sure you know what is involved with "networking". Be prepared for lots of after hours work and wknd work, because thats when the changes happen. If you dont like the idea of standby or working weekends, then give up now! IF however, you have a passion for the work, and truly enjoy the IT lifestyle then go kick ass!

As for the architect stuff, its a good way to go, but literally takes decades to get to a level where you can design entire solutions. I also loathe architects who are tied to a specific vendor, it limits them, it screws the client. Try get exposure to multiple platforms as early on as possible, too many ppl get tied into one product, and once you are used to something its hard to learn a new way of doing things.
 

ponder

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How long does it take to get to Architect, on average?
That is going to depend on how much experience you pick up over time and the environments you work in. 10+ yrs or more I reckon. Would also help if you have exposure to other fields like sdh/sonet, ATM, Servers etc etc. You really do need a wide scope of knowledge.
 

Bismuth

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Why cisco specifically? Are you sure you know what is involved with "networking". Be prepared for lots of after hours work and wknd work, because thats when the changes happen. If you dont like the idea of standby or working weekends, then give up now! IF however, you have a passion for the work, and truly enjoy the IT lifestyle then go kick ass!

As for the architect stuff, its a good way to go, but literally takes decades to get to a level where you can design entire solutions. I also loathe architects who are tied to a specific vendor, it limits them, it screws the client. Try get exposure to multiple platforms as early on as possible, too many ppl get tied into one product, and once you are used to something its hard to learn a new way of doing things.
I am well aware that "networking" is not limited to set hours, that does not bother me. Heck, it's not much different to what I am doing now in that regard. I am not planning on limiting myself to Cisco... well I guess I would be if I did the Cisco Architect certification, it's an idea for now.

That is going to depend on how much experience you pick up over time and the environments you work in. 10+ yrs or more I reckon. Would also help if you have exposure to other fields like sdh/sonet, ATM, Servers etc etc. You really do need a wide scope of knowledge.
If I can get the exposure, by all means, I would like not to limit myself to one field/vendor as much as possible, but will use Cisco as a starting point and take it from there.

B
 

MidnightWizard

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Cost

i am exactly in the same seat as you!
i recently did my CCNA course @ Tourque-IT in Rivonia (highly recommended) and will be writing the separate exams as well.
Mind me asking a few questions ...

how much ?

did you get to work on REAL cisco devices ? ( there seem to be few places that offer this ? )

Did you consider Cisco's own Network Academy program ? ( at UP amongst others )

Have you used software simulators ( Dynamips etc or even Packet Tracer ) ?

In your experience which did you prefer real or simulated ?

What other resources did you / have you used -- CBT Nuggets ?

Sorry for the long questionairre -- this will help me a lot.
 

ponder

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did you get to work on REAL cisco devices ? ( there seem to be few places that offer this ? )
Torque-IT in Rivonia has about 3 or 4 racks full of Cisco kit used in their training. It's a pretty good institution, I did about 8 week long courses with them.

Price varies from about R12k-15k these days depending on the course.
 

LoneWolf

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Nov 28, 2007
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Mind me asking a few questions ...

how much ?

did you get to work on REAL cisco devices ? ( there seem to be few places that offer this ? )

Did you consider Cisco's own Network Academy program ? ( at UP amongst others )

Have you used software simulators ( Dynamips etc or even Packet Tracer ) ?

In your experience which did you prefer real or simulated ?

What other resources did you / have you used -- CBT Nuggets ?

Sorry for the long questionairre -- this will help me a lot.
R15k for 2 weeks course, ICND 1 and ICND 2

yes, they do have real routers but unfortunately in this course we didnt get to work on real ones :-(

no, i didnt consider the Cisco Program. my budget was limited and i think AFAIK its much more expensive at UP

yes, dynamips and Packet tracer are awesome sims. i use packet tracer the most as its very simple. there are a lot of different sims out there so for each person something else will appeal more.

i have bought me CCNA for dummies,its to the point and explains everything very well. some people may differ with me here, but it works for me and the book is R355 at Kalahari.net. i have the Cisco Training manuals but its always better to have more materials which can explain the same thing in a different way.

noprobs, hope my info helps :)

and register at Cisco.com to stay informed on their forums...its VERY handy!!!
 
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Bismuth

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Torque-IT in Rivonia has about 3 or 4 racks full of Cisco kit used in their training. It's a pretty good institution, I did about 8 week long courses with them.

Price varies from about R12k-15k these days depending on the course.
According to their current prices on the website, R6,200 for ICND1 and R7,200 for ICND, CCNA Boot Camp is just shy of 10k. Unfortunately I don't have the leave, otherwise would consider this route.

Was researching Cisco Home Labs yesterday, via a convulated came across a site that had the ICND1 Exam Certification Book that I've ordered in PDF..... only thing missing is the CD, obviously. Now I wouldn't go this route, but am annoyed that I book I've paid of R300 for (admittedly not bad), is freely available in PDF. I suppose I shouldn't really be surprised, I mean, it is the internet, where you can find virtually anything you want/need.

B
 
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