Should you be aspiring to become Cisco accredited, but you’ve no practical experience with routers or switches, you should first attempt the Cisco CCNA qualification. This teaches you skills for setting up and maintaining routers. The internet is made up of hundreds of thousands of routers, and big organisations with multiple departments and sites also need routers to connect their computer networks.
Routers connect to networks, so seek out training that covers networking fundamentals (for example Network+, perhaps with A+) and then do a CCNA course. You’ll need an understanding of the basics before you commence any Cisco training or you may be out of your depth. Once qualified and looking for work, companies will expect good networking skills in addition to the CCNA.
The appropriate skill-set and understanding prior to commencing your Cisco training is crucial. Therefore, discuss the requirements expected of you with someone who will be able to help you.
It’s not uncommon for companies to offer inclusive exam guarantees – this always means exams have to be paid for upfront, at the start of your training. But before you get taken in by the chance of a guarantee, consider this:
You’ll be charged for it ultimately. You can be assured it’s not a freebie – it’s simply been shoe-horned into the price as a whole. Those who go in for their examinations when it’s appropriate, funding them one at a time are much better placed to get through first time. They’re mindful of their investment and prepare more appropriately to be up to the task.
Isn’t it outrageous to have to pay a training company at the start of the course for exams? Find the best deal you can when you take the exam, rather than pay marked up fees – and do it locally – instead of miles away at the college’s beck and call. A great deal of money is made by a number of companies that get money upfront for exam fees. For quite legitimate reasons, a number of students don’t get to do their exams and so the company is quids-in. Amazingly, providers exist who depend on students not taking their exams – as that’s where a lot of their profit comes from. You should fully understand that re-takes through training companies with an ‘Exam Guarantee’ are monitored with tight restrictions. They will insist that you take pre-tests first until you’ve demonstrated an excellent ability to pass.
Prometric and VUE exams are currently clocking in at an average of 112 pounds in Great Britain. Students should be very wary of forking out hundreds of pounds extra in fees for ‘exam guarantees’ (usually wrapped up in the course package price) – when good quality study materials, the proper support and study, commitment and preparing with good quality mock and practice exams is what will really guarantee success.
A fatal Faux-Pas that many potential students make is to choose a career based on a course, instead of focusing on the end result they want to achieve. Colleges have thousands of direction-less students who took a course because it seemed fun – rather than what would get them their end-goal of a job they enjoyed. Never let yourself become part of that group that choose a course that sounds really ‘interesting’ and ‘fun’ – and end up with a certification for an unrewarding career path.
It’s well worth a long chat to see what expectations industry may have of you. Which precise qualifications they will want you to have and how you’ll go about getting some commercial experience. It’s also worth spending time thinking about how far you’d like to build your skill-set as it may control your selection of exams. Talk to a skilled professional that has a background in the industry you’re considering, and who’ll explain to you an in-depth explanation of what you’re going to be doing in that job. Establishing this long before starting out on a retraining program will prevent a lot of wasted time and effort.
Be alert that all accreditations you’re considering doing are recognised by industry and are bang up to date. ‘In-house’ exams and the certificates they come with are generally useless. Unless your qualification is issued by a major player like Microsoft, Cisco, Adobe or CompTIA, then chances are it won’t be commercially viable – as it’ll be an unknown commodity.