Should I prepare for the CCNA Certification exam now or maybe after my graduation?
Should I spend a year or two in my first IT job, get my feet wet and then take it from there?
Do I access FREE CCNA resources online or should I pay and hire the best to train me?
These and many other common doubts are answered in this short post of mine.
There is a old Chinese proverb that goes like this:
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”Ancient Chinese Proverb
Well, planting trees can wait for another day but I’d like to focus on something way more important – YOU! Always remember – The seed to your future lies in the decisions you take today.
Time is fleeting and before you know it it has passed by. You can earn back money and lost reputation but I am yet to hear of the man who regained back lost time and youth.
Before I begin, there’s something I’d like to clear up at the onset.
The CCNA Certification is not a Magic pill!
Yes, the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) exam represents a golden chance leading to long term success in the field of information technology (IT).
In fact, there is no better foundational learning program that prepares you better for a world of success for those interested in the fields of Computer Networking, System Administration and CyberSecurity.
Unfortunately, like you, tens of thousands of others are aware of this fact and are therefore keen to create a virtual rat race. Any hot and popular fields, especially those related to Information Technology, have a lot of following and the CCNA is no different.
My advice to those seeking attractive careers in computer networking:
- Be prepared to do this long term and slow – this is NOT a sprint. We are preparing for a marathon.
- Be ready to put in the long yards – Work ethics are important to succeed in any field.
- Expect competition.
- Understand that nothing comes easy.
Making the right choice and getting into the right frame of mind is way more important than you’d care to imagine.
Preparing your Mind comes before Preparing for the Goal ahead. Your WHYs always come before your HOWs!Professor Sandy
Will it be worth It? Ultimately, Yes.
Will it give you Alibaba’s forgotten treasures or a Midas touch before you wake up tomorrow morning? I guess not!
So, when do I start preparing?
There is a vast gap between what the colleges, high schools and universities prepare you for and the livewire skills so direly needed by industries in the real world.
Especially when it comes to the field of Information Technology in general and Computer Networking (CCNA) in particular.
Given the vast amount of competition between candidates, it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to hire the right person easily. The structured hiring process is often multi-level and spans days – a lot of time and money is spent by businesses to hire the right person for their requirements.
So the question you really should be asking yourself is, do I enough time to prepare myself with real-world IT skills right after my graduation? Wouldn’t it be a little too late?
To top this situation, businesses often conduct campus interviews with the help of your college placement officers – these often happen during your 3rd and 4th years, well before you pass out! So how much time do you really have to make your mark?
Your guess is as good as mine – very little!
Regardless of when you start actually learning CCNA, now is as good a time as any to start thinking about it.
Take your own sweet time to decide – but once you have made up your mind that Computer networking it will be, do not flinch. Take a solid step ahead and follow through.
How long does it take to prepare for the CCNA Certification exam?
The honest answer? – It depends!
Take the case of an industry professional working on networks day in and day. Pair him up with a high-quality instructor and he/ she definitely will not need more than a couple of weeks to become ready to take on the official Cisco CCNA 200-301 Certification exam.
On the other hand, those who start from scratch, especially without the privilege of practical experience need a lot of time:
- To navigate through the fundamentals.
- To understand everything through a practical viewpoint and form strong internal logic co-relating theory and practice.
- To repeatedly get used to this newly gained knowledge so it becomes internally wired.
In my personal experience, most of the students from our Online CCNA Training batches (We only have limited batches at any given point in time) do not need more than 50-60 hours of personalized coaching.
Add in another 60-90 hours of self-study and they should be all set to embark on answering the most prestigious certification exam of their lives.
Should I go for FREE or Paid CCNA Courses Online?
The FREE Route – Many websites including Youtube!
A lot of undergrads, working professionals and computer networking career aspirants start off by exploring FREE and budget-friendly resources online to kickstart their CCNA learning. This is fine, we all have to start where we are. There are both good and bad sides to this approach.
Pros: Easy to find; Cheap (FREE in most cases); Do it flexibly from Home in free time.
Cons: Unstructured learning; Dubious content quality; Wastage of time learning and unlearning from multiple resources; Need to be extremely self-motivated and self-disciplined. Basically you get what you pay for.
The PAID Route –
Professionals who have spent even a little time working in the IT field know that time is money. On the other hand, they also realize that whatever you do not pay for with money, you do with time.
Pros: Easy to find; Guided learning with tangible outcomes; Leverage the instructors’ experience.
Cons: Costs money; Involves Committment.
We completely get it.
This is your journey and start you must!
Most people tend to go the FREE route, lose their way and then come back to us for expert guidance. Even if you realize halfway through making mistakes that you need a buddy to help you learn CCNA the right way – we are always there to guide you further! No hard feelings!
How does Online CCNA Coaching work?
When I form a new batch, below is all I ever expect from them:
- Willingness to do what is told
- A good quality internet connection
- A decent specs desktop/ laptop for practical learning – no we absolutely do not recommend mobiles since they do not complement our learn by doing approach!
We meet in small groups at a predecided mutually convenient times every day online – Monday through Friday.
CCNA slides and PDF notes are shared to you mid way through the program.
You will be shared all lectures in high-quality 720p format for future revision and self-study and reference purposes.
Plus we intend to have weekly mastermind sessions for doubt solving every week at a scheduled time.
Depending on where you are at, the best time for you to start preparing for the CCNA can range from your Second year of College to the first few years of your work life as an IT professional.
Some start early, some do it late – but the important thing is that we are all running our own races. And if done right, we can all be winners in our respective lives!