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Tuition or Hardware???

I'm trying to figure out which would be a better route learning CISCO fundamentals toward certification (CCNA, and maybe CCNP). Would it be best to enroll in a structured classroom environment (a local junior college is offering CISCO CCNA & CCNP programs), or to get books and hardware (eBay have some CISCO training hardware) and learn it at your own time. The cost of the hardware and the tuition (for CCNA cert.) is just about the same. I'm not sure if the hardware auctioned at eBay is agood and functioning hardware and if it's sufficient enough.

Thanks in advance all your input in this regard.

9 Solutions
Naser GabajCommented:
Greetings juandelacruz2001,

I would conclude your question as this "self study using Books VS Training Course?" Am i right in this comparison? If so i would go for the second option, because simply don't forget you would get a life experience from the LAB associated with the training, and you may ask the trainee as much as you can and what you want, Too much different between both of them.

Good Luck!

i agree that the class would probably the the best, but if you are worried about money and just want to get the cert and learn it also,,, you could just go get books and a simulator and forget buying the hardware all together.  Again the simulator isn't as good as setting up a physical lab, it it will cost you alot less and you will learn alot and also get the cert.  I know when i'm interviewing to hire techs, i dont care where or how they got the cert, as long as they have it.
Naser GabajCommented:
Also E-Learning is great option check this as well:


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I will say it depends.  On how much the course costs, and how long it is.  I've heard of some CCNA courses that take a year - offered by High Schools or Community Colleges - that's rediculous.  Also, if you get your own gear, and a couple of books, you can learn at your own pace and put your hands on the gear - and do REAL commands, to your hearts content.

Then, on your resume, you can say you've actually set up networks, actually set up and configured routers, you can hack a lost password, reload flash, config from the ground up, etc.

But if the course is cheap and short - it might be worthwhile.
Cisco Academy programs offered by many colleges and high schools; they are Cisco

They have the current Cisco equipment for you to learn CCNA and CCNP level skills with.  As well, they'll prepare you for the corresponding tests. Lecture to lab ratio are almost 1:1.

I highly recommend them to anyone that is interested in the field (but then again I use to teach there so I may be a bit biased)

zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
depends on how diligent you are about self-study.  some people will try to do something as self-study and it never gets done.  if you're taking a course, it will get done.

the other thing to consider is equipment/labs (which others have mentioned above).  schools *should* have a means for you to get practical experience to complement the book knowledge.  if you are doing self-study, you may not have access to the same caliber of resources that you could get through a school.

Check out this awesome website with screenshot for newbie and expert (CCNA and CCNP)

juandelacruz2001Author Commented:
Zephyr_hex, I was thinking of using the tuition costs to but lab equipment from eBay, since the cost of tuition is about the same as buying used Cisco Lab hardware at eBay. Diligence is a factor, since going to a structured program at school will force you to learn at a certain pace, while DIY type will and can be affected by other factors (kids, family, work, housework--> mowing the lawn :)...

Is there any on-line CCNA classes offered at an affordable costs? Please provide links for review. Thanks.
I would say it depends on YOU.  How do you learn best?  If you are the type of person that learns best by getting a box, getting the hardware, and getting the software and hacking away.  Do that.  If you are person that needs to sit in a class room and have somebody walk you through it, go take the training.

I have been in IT for 25 years.  I have seen people sit and struggle for months trying to learn something on their own.  They go to a one day mini-class and come back an expert.  I have seen others go to a class and they just don't get it, until they "play" with it for a couple of weeks.

Everybody has their own learning style.  You hopefully know yours and you need to select the traning that best fits your needs.  The "least expensive" option is not any good if you don't learn that way.

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