What is the quickest and most basic networking certification?

Posted on 2009-12-23
Last Modified: 2013-11-15
I have a friend that is a technical writer that has a lot of technical knowledge from documenting hardware and software and he is trying to break into the network field.
What certification should I suggest to him.
He wants something in a 3 month time frame.
I don't think he can pass the ICND (Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices) in that amount of time but I could be wrong.
He is a smart guy but is working full time so this study would also be at night and weekends.
Question by:Dragon0x40
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    Accepted Solution

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    Assisted Solution

    by:Don Johnston
    If he has a basic understanding of networking, I would think Network+ or CCNA should be doable in three months of night study.
    LVL 31

    Assisted Solution

    CCNA will open more doors and should be acheivable in 2-3 months for nights/weekends if he maintains the work at least 3 nights during the week and every weekend for the majority of the day.  It all depends on how hard you study and what the base familiarity is.  

    As a technical writer, he has probably been exposed to a number of products and has a base understanding on how to configure a number of these things and how they work - I would imagine he probably reads fairly quickly too for editing purposes.  Due to this, CompTIA Network+ isn't a bad choice, but honestly not many places really give weight to that one, and if they do they will still prefer the CCNA (even if they aren't a Cisco shop).  It is useful knowledge and I would recommend getting a study book, but I can't say I would recommend to most people to drop the money on the test unless they needed to or got reimbursed for it, and even then go for the CCNA first unless a specific situation dictates otherwise.  If he is just looking to expand his general network knowledge for his technical writing - this would be one of the few reasons I would actually recommend Net+ over CCNA.  CCNA is too command driven & specific on a couple of primary topics, where the Net+ is more conceptual and covers a wider base of networking which would be preferred if he wants this for his writing.

    If he has access to networking people through his job or personal life to help answer general questions on how something works when the book doesn't quite make sense the first 3 times, that would increase scores, usefullness, and reduce study time.

    I highly recommend getting the boson emulator for training to get some hands on experience if you can't afford or don't have access to the real thing.  Its a couple hundred bucks, but well worth it for training, maintaining, and testing.  For books

    Author Comment

    thanks willbaclimon, donjohnston and paranormastic,

    I don't know his level of knowledge but I can try to find out.

    It took me longer than 3 months to Pass the CCNA and I was pretty familiar with networking as an MCSE, CNA and CCNT but it took me about 6 months of 40+ hours per week to pass the test. The second attempt.

    I guess nobody on the board recommends the CCNT? (Certified in Convergent Network Technologies) sponsored by the TIA Telecommunication Industry Association.

    I would have to agree that it is a more basic knowledge set than the CCNA or Network+.

    Are there any other network certifications out there? I guess if I have not heard of them by now they probably are not worth the paper they are printed on?
    LVL 31

    Expert Comment

    There are some that are more advanced, especially down the cisco road.  There's also certs from other network providers like juniper, etc.  If he was network security minded theres stuff just on pix and such, and more heavy stuff like the CCNP, etc. but these are more advanced.

    Author Comment

    Paranormastic you do realize in your post it ends with For books......

    Did you have some recommended books?
    LVL 31

    Expert Comment

    >>Paranormastic you do realize in your post it ends with For books......

    Low on coffee, nearing conference call :)  No I didn't realize that one!

    The books published by Sybase are, in my opinion, the best.  For Cisco stuff, the books written by Todd Lamle are quite good, some of the other authors on Cisco stuff are ok to questionable, but Lamle explains thing very well.

    This is one of the few areas where I tend to advice away from the vendor training material.  Cisco press tends to have a lot of typos in critical areas (e.g. omitted the word "not") and the ability of many of the authors to explain things logically is not the best.  They are acceptable, and I wouldn't necessarily regret it if already purchased, but most people I've come across haven't really cared for them, although many of us still keep a copy (particularily of the CCNA book) around for command reference sake when you get into the real world.  Even with the internet having things documented, the Cisco Press CCNA book is good for that much at least - same goes for the old CIT (Cisco Internetwork Troubleshooting) - a nasty book for a pointless test that has gone away, but great for reference and syntax examples beyond most online documentation.

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