CCNA Boot camps

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May 3rd, 2009
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I'm a LAN admin working for the government right now. I have two Microsoft certs (MCP: Vista and Server 2003). I've decided not to continue the MCSA route and instead go the CCNA route. I failed the 3rd exam for Server 2003, so i decided maybe a boot camp would better fit my learning style. Up until now, I've been studying on my own with books.

It would be senseless to do an MCSA boot camp since I already have 2 exams out of the way. It would also be inconvienent for me to do an MCSE boot camp since they are close to $8000 and take about 15 days (Same with MCITP). So, the CCNA seems like a good choice.

My question is: I live near Washington DC. I'm considering "CCBootCamp". they are a Cisco Learning Partner and have CCIE's teaching the course.

Anyone hear anything good or bad about them? They appear affordable and the week-long course fits my schedule.

I've only been in the IT field now for a year, but I pretty much have full admin access to our Active directory, and I configure file/print servers from RAID 5 array all the way to NTFS security for shared network drives. I don't know anything about switches or routers, but I'm confident I'll learn quickly.

Thanks a lot.

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scottmac Sun, 05/03/2009 - 10:18
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In my opinion, a bootcamp is not a good method for primary learning.

There is so much information presented in such a short time (days) over some long hours (per day), that it is difficult, at best, to absorb and understand the material.

Boot camps are very good to "fill in the cracks" for material that you have little or no exposure to, or need some brush-up time.

It also depends on your ultimate goal: get a cert, or know the material to a functional level.

While the cert may open a few doors, behind those doors are a group of senior techs/engineers waiting to grill you on knowledge that you should have (commensurate with the certification).

All indications are that it is indeed a very uncomfortable position to be sitting there stuttering and stammering over (what should be) foundational knowledge.

As I'm sure you've seen, networks don't come with hard-set multiple choice answers; you have to understand how they work ... and the people doing the tech interview will not want a "paper CCNA" twiddling on their network.

The bottom line is that unless you have some pressing need to have a cert in-hand by some date, take your time, study and learn the material, especially foundational stuff like subnetting, VLANs, STP, address flow, OSI model, etc.THe better you understand it early on, the smoother and easier it is to learn the more advanced concepts later on.


Good Luck


kurt.shriner Sun, 05/03/2009 - 12:18
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Thank you for your candid and honest reponse. I acutally assumed the CCNA was relatively entry-level so I didn't think I would have much trouble with it given my experience.

I am in a hurry. There will be some potential job opportunities within the next few months, and in lieu of experience, certs help in considering me for the job.

Since I don't learn well on my own, I figured the small class sizes, the plethora of cisco-approved equipment and devices, as well as 24-hour access to the testing labs would make it easier for me to learn how to pass the exam.

Am I approaching this wrong?

scottmac Sun, 05/03/2009 - 18:50
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There is no way to tell. Everyone learns differently, and at a different pace. Some people can learn well from just working through a book, others need a full college term class to properly grasp the concepts and technologies.

You have to be honest with yourself and make that decision. My intent was to make you aware that most "boot camp" style training is the proverbial "drinking from a firehose" and can easily overwhelm folks with little or no background in the infrastructure-end of networking.

The fatigue from long days and fast pace of the conceptual presentation almost guarantee that long-term retention is unlikely.

Also given that these training sessions cost quite a bit, you could be wasting (in the sense of paying for knowledge you're not likely to retain)a fair chunk of change.

Good Luck with whichever way you decide.


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