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CCNA Certification Library

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the punch-yer-own-ticket dept.

Books 182

Michael Bennett Cohn writes "Cisco Press' CCNA Self-Study Certification Library by Wendell Odom consists of two books: the ICND guide and the INTRO guide, corresponding to tests 640-811 and 641-821, respectively. Passing each of those tests will make you a CCNA; so will passing combined exam 640-801. I passed exam 640-801 in one try, with no real networking experience and having taken no classes. The ICND and INTRO books comprised my primary training materials." To sort out a bit of that alphabet soup, CCNA stands for "Cisco Certified Network Associate" and ICND for "Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices," though if you're in the market for this book you probably already knew that. Read on for the rest of Michael Bennett Cohn's review.

Although it is possible to enroll in official ICND and INTRO courses created by Cisco, the books that make up this "library," apparently, are not the books used in those courses. Within the ICND book, Odom refers to "the ICND course, on which the exam is partly based," suggesting that what you have in your hands is a reverse-engineered study guide: a study guide for an exam that is based on a course that does not use said book. Odom occasionally presents tables that he claims come from the ICND course. Clearly, some parts of the course are not fair game for the study guide.

In other words, don't think that just because you are reading the official Cisco press CCNA study guides, you are dealing with a set of information that is as close as possible to the set of information from which the test was drawn.

Studying these books will prepare you for the CCNA in the same way that reading the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z will prepare you to identify the capital of Nairobi. It goes without saying that a CCNA candidate should not be studying just to pass a test, she should be studying to qualify herself for a job. But in this case, the difference between the material presented and the material actually making up the test is excessive.

Odom goes to a lot of effort to make the reader feel like he is being spoken to by a friend. "Fun, isn't it?" he writes, after presenting an illustration of function groups and access points that I had to re-draw for myself several times in order to understand. Later, he describes Inverse ARP as "another case of learning by listening, a great lesson for real life!" Gee, thanks. The subtle condescension in the non-humorous asides, the gleeful overuse of exclamation points, and the fable in which Pebbles Flintstone invents networking is compounded by the persistent contextual encapsulation of every single topic in the book. Odom tells you what he's going to tell you, then he tells you, then he tells you what he's told you, much more than necessary.

A better way to put the flustered reader at ease might have been to proofread the books. The ICND guide, especially, is so full of typos that it is often embarrassing to read. In some cases, these are nothing more than obvious misspellings that can be passed over without much more than a little annoyance (e.g. ICND p. 472, "status enquiry messages"). In other cases, the meaning of the sentence is muddled. Worse, the configuration examples have obviously not been proofread either, resulting in, for example, the prompt "R1(config)#" when the appropriate prompt is "R1(config-if)." The difference may seem trivial, but understanding its significance is the kind of stuff the CCNA is all about.

Each book comes with a CD containing a practice test engine and a router simulator (both from Boson). The mistakes in the ICND book pale in comparison to those in the CD test engines. In fact, an argument could be made that studying with those practice tests will hinder more than help the CCNA candidate who has not read the books thoroughly enough to recognize the mistakes. Many multiple-choice questions count correct answers wrong and vice versa (and some of these are taken directly from the books, which usually give the correct answer). A configuration entered into the CLI on a simulator question will be graded as wrong, and the user will then be presented with an identical configuration as an example of the correct way to solve the problem.

None of these problems change the fact that these books will, if used correctly, absolutely help you pass the CCNA. But do it this way: Read the INTRO book. Take the exam right away. If you don't pass, flip through the ICND book and find the areas that you actually need to work on. You'll save months of study time that could be better spent working on your CCNP.

I give the library as a whole 3 out of 5 stars.


You can purchase the CCNA Certification Library from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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yeah great.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8045715)

Why don't they call it, the "how to get your job outsourced to india library." FP!

Re:yeah great.. (-1, Offtopic)

krog (25663) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045759)

on-topic, funny, and true. it's like Indian kids learn IOS in grade school.

Re:yeah great.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8046307)

on-topic, funny, and true. it's like Indian kids learn IOS in grade school.

and they learn H1-B in Middle School.

Re:yeah great.. (0)

cobe98 (628382) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046782)

and they also learn about your mamma's fat ass in kindergarden

Re:yeah great.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8046845)

eat shit apoo or I'll give your god a penut.

MOD PARENT UP!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8048022)

FUNNAY!

Updated, unabridged. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8045726)

There's an article here [blat.info] that mentions the unabridged version. It's a must for serious CCNA folk.

Then again, why are they reading Slashdot?

CCNA is worthless for this very reason (5, Insightful)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045754)

I passed exam 640-801 in one try, with no real networking experience and having taken no classes.

I mean, come on now. If this networking novice can pass a test for a networking cert then the value of that cert is substantially reduced. The CCNA is almost as worthless as the MCSE and A+. Any schmuck can get their MCSE.

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045803)

So you're saying he should have failed a few times? That's BS. Maybe he has a firm grasp of the concepts. You can hardly make such an assumption on one person's results.

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (4, Insightful)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045887)

I know more than one person that I would consider networking incompotent that got their CCNA on their first try. They don't know jack about networking. The extent of their networking experience is plugging their cable modem into the Ethernet jack on the back of their Gateway-built computer. That's all they've ever done (or will ever do). This is the same thing that happens with most testing in secondary grades. The students memorize just enough of the material to pass the test. They really don't know jack about what they were just tested over and they'll forget it all within hours of taking the test. They kept it in memory just long enough to get a piece of paper that says they know (knew) the data. If any old schmuck off the street can pick up a study guide for the CCNA and be prepared to take the actual test after spending a few hours reading that book then the cert is basically worthless. My mother could take the MCSE and pass it with flying colors, and she's a Mac user!

Re:Brain Dumping (4, Insightful)

Wingchild (212447) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046283)

This is the same thing that happens with most testing in secondary grades. The students memorize just enough of the material to pass the test.

Bingo - that's it, the problem, the head of the nail that we're hitting (as it were).

The reason that certifications have lost so much ground in the last five to ten and the reason that nobody respects MCSEs any longer is because of the nature of the testing. When certification exams are a matter of cramming your mind full of administrivia and memorizing cheat-sheets that teach the quick powers-of-two needed to compute a subnet mask, it's no wonder that the average level of the passing applicant falls. Facts and Figures can be memorized with some ease.

MCSE exams fell prey to an entire cottage industry that exists to help people pass them. Think of every radio ad you've ever heard promising that wealth, riches, and beautiful women can all be yours if you just step into the magical and happy world of Information Technology! The industry's job is to ram you through a bootcamp training session and then have you dump that information back out on a certification exam, automagically, while your brain is still raw and bleeding. How much you retain isn't important to them at all; they try to drill into you the erroneous concept that Certification == Job ... and then get you to the certification, leaving you to figure out the last part on your own.

The brain dump sites online, the exam cram book writers, and the people promising instant results can actually deliver: it is totally possible to ace a certification by studying old tests, reading old questions, and overloading for the purpose of passing your exam.

And, just like back in college, you will not remember most of this information after the fact. :) Cram studying does not lead to long term information retention. How much Calculus do you recall, after years of not actually using it?

The only way to really prove yourself is to start small, to learn what you can, and to etch it into your mind through repetition and hands-on experience.

Do what you have to to get your certification. Do not expect to land an 80k/yr job off of it alone -- it won't work. (God help you if it does, you'll learn what being fired feels like very shortly thereafter.) Expect to land a starter job, and use that to make an impression on your bosses; learn fast, learn often, be a good employee.

The recommendations of people you've worked for and with will serve you better in the long run than your certification will. It's time to rely on your qualities, rather than the qualities the paper says you have.

Re:Brain Dumping (3, Interesting)

JudgeFurious (455868) | more than 10 years ago | (#8047367)

Yeah, that about covers it.

In my case I started this at home. Got the "addiction" and started buying and tinkering with computers as fast as my budget would allow. I used to be the guy who bought new games and secretly hoped something wouldn't work right out of the box so I could figure out why. One day I looked up and I knew enough that someone would actually pay me to fix PCs for a living.

Eventually that led me to better technician jobs and finally the desire to work on bigger problems. I got an entry level position here where I still work and started learning networks from my boss (And he started his "addiction" in the early 70's). At one point about four years ago management decided that we all needed to be MCSE certified and laid out a bunch of money to a training company for classes and vouchers. We were running Novell then and since we had been given the "We're switching to NT now" speech (again from management) they felt like we needed some training.

We were all like "Ok, whatever." I went to the first class and tried to get into it but I wasn't learning anything. Sure I was learning how much Microsoft thought of their product but everything relevant was stuff I learned on the job. I ended up passing on the rest of the classes and just picking up some "Dummies" books and finishing it on my own.

The vouchers my company paid for were of some use (because I wouldn't have bothered to pay for those tests on my own) and we ended up using the class time for another employee who needed some SQL training but the content was worthless. It amounted to me spending time learning enough "Administrivia" as you so nicely put it just to pass a stupid test I didn't really need and didn't want in the first place.

On the other hand my brother jumped into this field because you could make bank in it. He went to college, I didn't. He has a CIS (or one of those, I don't really know or care much) degree and as soon as he got out he went through the Certification feeding frenzy and jumped into a job from the get go that paid more than I was making. I tried to talk him into spending some time to learn a foundation but he wanted the money and he got it. The thing is though he's lost and in way over his head. I think it's only a matter of time before he's looking for work because he doesn't love this stuff and he doesn't know it well enough. His paper means not much in the long run.

It might sound like I'm looking forward to him hitting the wall but I'm not. I really just wish he'd listened to me (and had gone after something he enjoyed instead of what he thought was going to get him in a BMW faster). I've seen enough of the paper admins to know that no good comes of it.

Re:Brain Dumping (1)

dekemoose (699264) | more than 10 years ago | (#8047596)

I don't know about no one having respect for MCSE's anymore. I still see lots of job postings that require an MCSE,CCNA, etc. Keep in mind that tech people don't usually hire tech people, HR people hire them. HR people are not able to determine an individuals competence, so they rely on things like certifications. If they hire someone and they turn out to be a raving ninny, they can at least point to a piece of paper and say "How was I supposed to know they were an idiot, they were certified!"

Re:Brain Dumping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8047939)

"certified" is right, in more ways than one! :-)

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (4, Interesting)

Wingchild (212447) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045832)

One of the more amusing job hunting experiences I ever had revolved around this concept.

I had already passed their resume' screening and phone interview process and was now down to the face-to-face (also known as the `Eyes, Fingers and Toes` check) and an on-site technical interview. After a brief discussion of my qualifications and experiences, one of their lead engineers was called over.

Him: Okay, let's begin. Define `TCP/IP`.
Me: ... are you serious?
Him: It's just a standard question.
Me: ... did you see that I have an MCSE and have been a network engineer for four years now?
Him: The MCSE is why I'm asking.

I kid you not. At the time I was sincerely insulted, but having spent a career surrounded by engineers who didn't know their asses from their elbows, I can see why he held that belief. The threat of the Paper MCSE is quite real -- and now, unfortunately, Cisco's certifications are being proven to have the same flaws.

Certifications in the tech world are just like degrees, people -- they're paper. They're that foot in the door. They're a proof that you can read a book and pass a standardized test. They don't guarantee employment. They may get you the interview, just don't expect more from them.

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (3, Interesting)

barryfandango (627554) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046114)

I work in the IT department of an aerospace engineering company, and the Professional Engineers (aeronautical and mechanical) here got very territorial and downright pissed the first time our network administrator sent out an email with the sig "Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer."

How is it that Microsoft gets away with using this phrase when the certification is not recognized by the association of professional engineers?

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8046332)

Why would it need to be recognized by the association of professional engineers? Have they trademarked the term engineer?

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8046727)

In the "Professional Engineer" sense, calling oneself an engineer means something.

Generally you are certified by the state after completing a Bachelors, 3-5 years of work experience, and an exam.

This allows you to represent yourself as an engineer - otherwise your professional opinion (legally) means diddly-squat.

Remember: Suspend logic during interview process (2, Insightful)

talexb (223672) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046319)

It's a common trap to take offense to an interviewer's question -- the solution is to just answer the question (for readers who didn't get it from the OP). Never mind that you've been programming in C for 10 years, just explain what a pointer is.

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (1)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046321)

Hehe, I can sympathize. I think if person wants to keep up with the every degrading value of a cert, they need to stay on the cutting of the cert path. For example CCIE's are still worth while. My understanding of the hands on part of the test is that it's difficult and most fail it the first time out. You also have to actually know something to pass the paper test. Eventually the CCIE won't be worth much at all and Cisco will have to create new certs to replace the dated and worthless ones. The best thing to get you hired though is experience and a demonstration of a willingness to learn, IMHO. CCIE doesn't hold a candle to a resume from a netadm with 15 years of experience. BTW, no offense to you and your MCSE is intended. :)

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (2, Interesting)

hellraizr (694242) | more than 10 years ago | (#8047227)

are you smoking crack? you must be. the CCIE _IS_ _THE_ IT certification. 15 years as a netadmin!? pfft, not bloody likely going to pass the CCIE. more than 70% of all people fail, and less than 1% pass on the first try. the CCIE is for people who eat sleep live shit and breathe cisco. Cisco usually offers people who get a CCIE a job with them doing consulting.

I used to work for the largest web hosting provider in the world (no lie, I'm just not saying they're name here as they will probably see it) and they're top network engineers even admitted they could not pass the CCIE. one of the senior engineers friends took 8 times to pass just the written test! he had to wait over a year to fly out to texas to take the lab test and will not likely pass. (oh btw it's $7,000 per test, regardless if you fail).

So frankly I don't think the CCIE will ever devalue. once you obtain one of those you are golden. people will come to you, it's not necessary to go to them.

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8047786)

Please, I think you are buying into the hype.

CCIE is hard. But you're making it seem like it's the Navy Seal's Hell Week of IT. Come on now. People pass it, and people pass it every day. I personally know 4 CCIEs, although from different companies.

To pass the CCIE, you have to be an expert. You have to have real world experience. The written test is extremely hard, but the lab test, something that requires experience is impossible if you don't know what you're doing. But if you do know what you're doing, then it is just hard.

I agree with you, though, the CCIE will not devalue. This is because most people who get the CCNA or MCSE want to get the biggest bang for their buck. To get the CCIE will require dedication and real-world experience, and this is something that people who want the biggest bang for their buck will not want to do.

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (1)

Cyno (85911) | more than 10 years ago | (#8047970)

I couldn't agree more. Instead of how many degrees do you have perhaps their questions should be how many books did you read and understand or something.

I personally like job experience, what projects did you work on, etc. And I believe that each and every one of us are capable of being a Sr. Tech in any field if we're put in the right environment with a patient group of people who want to teach and learn.

Some people just take a little more encouragement and incentive to become interested in this technology than others. That's where the environment can help. The environment is everything you see, hear, feel, smell, and taste. If you feel relaxed and stable in your position, within your group, its much easier to focus on the education and the work.

So the goal should not be to grill people on technical details a manager probably doesn't care about, but instead to build this environment for everyone, including the managers. All unneccessary work-related stress should be removed from this environment, such as metrics and employee expectations.

Free drinks, entertainment, relaxed working hours, extra supplies, encouragement to seek and provide educational services... goes a long way.

Oh, and keep your employees, don't lay them off after you invest all this effort into them. Work with them and help them transition if the projects they were assigned to stop making profits, etc.

I bet we could teach corporate management a thing or two. Haha! As if they would ever listen to us. ;)

You need a CCIE, not CCNA... (2, Informative)

cflorio (604840) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045849)

No, it's worthless because all of those jobs are being exported anyway.

You need at least a CCIE to get a networking job in the us now.

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (3, Informative)

epiphani (254981) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045853)

This cert shouldnt be taken so lightly. I've got my MCSE and A+, and I didnt study or even really pay attention for either.

I've done *nix systems administration and programming for upwards of 6 years now, and I failed the CCNA cert the first time because I underestimated it. It required me to study, which is more than I can say for any other cert.

Its *not* on the same level as an MCSE (which I agree with you on).

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (3, Insightful)

runlvl0 (198575) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045880)

The CCNA is almost as worthless as the MCSE and A+. Any schmuck can get their MCSE.

And you have yours, right? On Windows 2000? Or, is your only experience with Windows an old desktop running Windows 98? I have to say, the Windows 2000 MCSE is difficult enough that "any schmuck" would have problems getting one.

P.S. - Yes, I have mine, in NT4, Windows 2000, and a Red Hat Linux RHCE (and about six years working in both Microsoft server and Linux OSs). Repeat after me: The Proper Tool for the Job...

Just pay the money and you'll be certified. (2, Informative)

khasim (1285) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046517)

There are LOTS of "boot camps" out there that will guarantee you'll be certified, for a price.

Check google for
"boot camp" MCSE 2000
and you'll probably find one in your area.

Not "any schmuck" will be able to get certified
-but-
"any schmuck" with the cash will be able to get certified.

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (2, Insightful)

jhagler (102984) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045960)

I don't think the CCNA is worthless as long as you understand where it falls in the grand scheme of things.

Getting your CCNA is about the equivalent fo getting your MCP, they're both entry level, one or two test, certs. You don't expect someone with a CCNA to be able to configure BGP anymore than you would expect an MCP to set-up your Active Directory. The next step up is a whole other issue, the CCNP/CCDP is significantly harder to obtain than an MCSE, and there's really no MS equivalent of a CCIE.

It shows the person knows their ethernet cords from their power cords and is probably willing to learn more, if you expect anything else, it's your own fault.

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (1)

REBloomfield (550182) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046359)

Sitting in a CCNA class at this very minute I take issue with this, since BGP's are very much part of the syllabus thank you very much...

And it's configure *a* BGP...

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (1)

Pii (1955) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046903)

What the hell are you talking about?

Being able to configure BGP (Border Gateway Protocol version 4) is NOT part of the CCNA cirriculum.

And because BGP stands for "Border Gateway Protocol," you wouldn't "configure *a* BGP". You would configure BGP.

Pay more attention during your class. I suspect you've confused "a BGP" with "an IGP," where IGP means "Interior Gateway Protocol."

Would you like me to list them?

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (1)

missing000 (602285) | more than 10 years ago | (#8047272)

This is all very eye opening to me.

I've never taken a standardized test for IT related stuff, but I thought a lot of the CCNA's running around out there.

I've been using BIND for a while, BGP seems relatively easy when compared to a lot of other things. (Perl and IPSEC are just a couple that come to mind.) I would have expected a CCNA to thoroughly understand BGP.

Sure, I've thought about getting a cert or two, but I like doing my own learning for the most part. This discussion tells me I should care less about getting certs as long as I can still get a comfortable job in the industry.

Thanks!

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (1)

jhagler (102984) | more than 10 years ago | (#8047506)

I've always viewed certs with a watchful eye. I've seen people with no certs who know their stuff inside and out, people with certs who make you worry if they touch your stuff, and people with certs who can make their machines sing.

"This discussion tells me I should care less about getting certs as long as I can still get a comfortable job in the industry. "

I very much agree with this statement, I got a bunch of certs in my first couple of years in IT. When your boss says "I'll give anyone who get's their MCSE a 10K/yr raise" guess what you go out and get :). I think the biggest factor in your decision should be how the certs will help you. I got mine back when they were a sure way to get a better job, they just don't have that pull anymore unless you're lookig for an entry level position, or have one of the high-end certs.

I say, if you've got a good job and have no real incentive to get a cert, don't lay out the $600+ for the tests. Sure, get the books, study like you're going to test and learn everything you can, but unless you need the letters to get your resume past the screening software, keep the extra cash. Inthe long run, your ability to do your job well and to network other IT folks will get you much farther than any letters will.

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (1)

Pii (1955) | more than 10 years ago | (#8047545)

A basic BGP setup is not terribly difficult to implement, but there are a lot of subtle knobs, bells, and whistles that can be configured to influence the way routes are selected.

As for certifications, my own personal experience:

I had no technical certifications until 2 years ago, and at that point, I'd been doing high-end Cisco consulting for over 7 years.

My experience carried me a long way, and I always made signifigantly higher salaries than the industry norms.

Then, the company I had been working for went Chapter 7... The economy had already turned South, and I was having a hard time even getting job interviews because knuckleheads in the Human Resource departments of the companies I had been applying to were tossing my resume into the trash. It lacked the certification buzzwords.

I ended up having to get my CCIE just so I could once again get through the door to the interviews. (Think certification as a means of self defense.)

Don't go into the certification realm thinking it'll make you rich and famous, but don't overlook the low lying fruit either. When you want to start competing for the really high paying jobs, it will benefit you if you've punched your tickets along the way.

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (1)

hellraizr (694242) | more than 10 years ago | (#8047393)

stop blowing smoke up our ass. BGP is not even on the test. you would be in that bootcamp for 6 months if you were learning BGP, maybe more. people don't go from "ok this is a network, this is a router, here's how you configure RipII and bridging" to "ok here's our north american IGP mesh. we need to begin deploying our routers in confederations to help consolidate this mess".

I'm sorry an education of BGP is honestly an education of the internet it self. anyone who has studied or taken the CCNP can easily back me up on this one.

and yes I'm a bit sore about all you unwashed claiming the higher level cisco certs are bullcrap, as I've been studying for the CCNP for almost 2 years (coming from nothing more than a sysadmin).

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (1)

j33px0r (722130) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046090)

I am amazed at how much value is being put on some of these certifications today. Any book smart individual (which most geeks reading slashdot are) can sit down with a book for X amount of time and pass most of the Microsoft, Cisco or Comptia exams. Its just like anyone who goes to college for a bachelor degree will succeed so long as they attend class. I would have to say that the majority of individuals who have finished a bachelor degree of any sort have the ability to cram for any of these exams. They do not represent actual skill but the ability to regurgitate information.

Considering the large fees being charged for these assessments, it wouldn't be too hard to put a warm corpse in the room during the test to proctor a few live-action activities to verify ability. But then again, why have a bunch of people proctoring tests when you can port their jobs oversea's, hire a proctologist and determine the most comfortable way of bending people over again and again...

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (1)

MindNumbingOblivion (668443) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046105)

I have both my CCNA and Net+ (Net+ seemed like a good practice for the CCNA, and hey, it says that I can be a good cable monkey). If this person read the entirety of the ICND and CCNA exam prep course, it is entirely possible that he could have done very well on the exam. I had two years of the Network Academy, and a very good instructor, which in my mind separates me from the masses who cram the week before the test and then get phenomonal scores.

CCNA is like a degree. It's paper. You can have it and not have a damn clue how the hell to go through basic troubleshooting (my instruction has helped me most with that, my instructor set up a network for us and then tore it apart, making us put it back together again). Hey, it's great if you can pass the test, it means that your resume _might_ stand out.

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (1)

sabri (584428) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046193)

I agree with you that the CCNA exam is quite easy to pass. I did CCNA 4 years ago.

In my experience, customers do appreciate the fact that you are certified. For some reason, that makes you God. "He is certified, so he knows". Funny, but true.

People who are in the networking business know that CCNA is worth nothing. They also know that someones knowledge does not depend on certifications, but ones ability to use google and understand the answers.

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (4, Insightful)

Pii (1955) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046651)

I would hazard a guess that the reviewer wasn't completely clueless about networking before picking up these two books...

He is on Slashdot, after all.

Still, your point about the value of the CCNA certification is valid... I know a lot of people that have gotten their CCNA having never logged into a Cisco router or switch.

It is, at it's crux, an entry level certification. The material that is presented at this level is theoretical, not practicle.

I'm teaching an informal CCNA class internally here at work this week. We're covering the core topics:

  • The OSI Model
  • Media Types
  • Layer-2 Framing
  • IP Subnetting
  • Classless v. Classfull Routing
  • Distance-Vector v. Link-state Routing Protocols
  • Serial Encapsulation standards
  • Frame-Relay
  • Hubs v. Switches
  • The difference between a Broadcast Domain and a Collision Domain
  • Other sundry theoretical topics on the CCNA blueprint

This is all foundational knowledge... The CCNA isn't about learning to configure Cisco routers, switches, or firewalls.

It's more about building a vocabulary, and a basic understanding of networking topics.

Once you've got that, then you can start learning the real stuff.

Re:SCNG? (1)

petej (36394) | more than 10 years ago | (#8047958)

I would hazard a guess that the reviewer wasn't completely clueless about networking before picking up these two books...

He is on Slashdot, after all.

Lookee there! It's apparently a Slashdot-Certified Networking Guy!

Nice... (1)

Pii (1955) | more than 10 years ago | (#8048012)

Wish I'd thought of it...

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (1)

hellraizr (694242) | more than 10 years ago | (#8047048)

ya CCNA is not a very hard test. CCNP now there's one for ya! without atleast 4-5 years experience with cisco gear and BGP/OSPF you don't have much chance in hell of passing it. Well unless you happen to be one of those people that retain EVERYTHING they read.

Re:CCNA is worthless for this very reason (1)

touch0ph (743806) | more than 10 years ago | (#8048362)

I mean, come on now. If this networking novice can pass a test for a networking cert then the value of that cert is substantially reduced. The CCNA is almost as worthless as the MCSE and A+. Any schmuck can get their MCSE. This is the exact reason why I, personally, elected to NOT get certified. When I started taking some MSCE and CNE classes, I was running into people in the latter part of these classes that had passed three certification tests, but were still trying to use a mouse on the command line. I feel that my time is better spent trying to actually learn the material, rather than just reading a book/brain dump and regurgitating that material. What is really needed is performance based exams.

Book reviews are like Plutonians. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8045788)

Teh suck.

Just another SlashVert (0, Interesting)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045797)

Yup. Book reviews here are in fact adverts. All the Slasshies run to BandN and buy it after reading the GLOWING review here. Has a Slashdot Ed *ever* read a book "he" doesn't like? I don't think so... Especially if it's on sale at BandM....

Re:Just another SlashVert (1)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045894)

3 of 5 stars and its a SlashVert???

I think its just another SlashWhine from someone trolling about how Slashdot sucks but spends their life on it anyways.

Re:Just another SlashVert (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046127)

think its just another SlashWhine from someone trolling about how Slashdot sucks but spends their life on it anyways

Thank you, I love you, let's have wild sex.

Re: (Not) Just another SlashVert (1)

Wingchild (212447) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046379)

heh. This is what happens when people start discussing private topics tangentally related to the story at hand. :)

As for whether or not it's a SlashVert, let's consider the review itself...

  • [T]he books that make up this "library," apparently, are not the books used in [Cisco's]courses.
  • [W]hat you have in your hands is a reverse-engineered study guide: a study guide for an exam that is based on a course that does not use said book.
  • [D]on't think that ... you are dealing with a set of information that is as close as possible to the set of information from which the test was drawn.
  • Studying these books will prepare you for the CCNA in the same way that reading the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z will prepare you to identify the capital of Nairobi. (best quote, btw)
  • [T]he difference between the material presented and the material actually making up the test is excessive.
  • The ICND guide, especially, is so full of typos that it is often embarrassing to read.
  • [T]he mistakes in the ICND book pale in comparison to those in the CD test engines.


I don't know if I'd consider that a glowing recommendation, or even a SlashVert. Maybe the three-of-five stars was given because you can use the handy books to prop up failing table legs, or as long-lasting coasters. :)

Re: (Not) Just another SlashVert (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046657)

Yes but if you follow the link to buy it, OSDN get's a cut. SlashVert.

CCNA... (-1, Troll)

doc_traig (453913) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045804)

CCNA. What's it wack? Is it good, or is it about?

alleviating the outsourcing blues? (2, Interesting)

kurosawdust (654754) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045810)

Does anyone know how much of an option a CCNA track would be for someone who has gotten outsourced? That is, is there a consistent demand for more CCNAs, or is it just a nice but basically economically worthless distinction like the MCSE?

Re:alleviating the outsourcing blues? (4, Informative)

Wingchild (212447) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045914)

I have a previous comment up above that basically labels certifications as a foot in the door, not as a means to an end (i.e., they don't guarantee employment) and I stand by that assertation.

That said, if you want your resume to actually be looked at for a networking position, having the CCNA is not a mark against you. That foot in the door can be a huge, huge benefit - it's your primary means of self-marketing until you either..

1) Learn to write a really effective resume, or
2) Have sufficient experience to get hired on that basis instead.

The CCNA is the key that opens the door to certain kinds of networking interviews. If you're thinking about going for it, consider what kinds of jobs it'll open you up for: Networking Jobs. An awful lot of kids I went to school with years back swore up and down they wanted to be network engineers when what they really wanted to be were sysadmins; the fields are different, the credentials and criteria are different, and the certs you need to support them are different.

The CCNA is what you'll want if you enjoy swimming in Cisco equipment, love configuring VPNs, enjoy troubleshooting RADIUS logging on your AAA box, and suchlike. If those aren't your hobbies, re-evaluate what it is you're really going for. :)

Re:alleviating the outsourcing blues? (1)

holdendeb (731645) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046305)

what if you already have a job? I've been a network engineer for 4 years now. would it benfit to get a ccna or ccnp when moving from job to job? or do employers now just look at your experince?

Re:alleviating the outsourcing blues? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8046210)

All these exams can be passed by a monkey who's able to go to google and type

braindump cisco

or

braindump ccna

or whatever.

Until the people who design these exams put the effort into making them different every few weeks then there'll be no point in doing them.

Re:alleviating the outsourcing blues? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8047483)

>All these exams can be passed by a monkey who's able to go to google and type
>
>braindump cisco
>
>or
>
>braindump ccna
>
>or whatever.
>
>Until the people who design these exams put the effort into making them different >every few weeks then there'll be no point in doing them.

Why was he modded down? It's a fair point.

Not much... (1)

slash-tard (689130) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046659)

Not much real demand at all for CCNA's. People that are going to use cisco usually have larger networks. They dont want entry level people working on a large network. Its definately a catch 22, you need real experience from a job but you cant get real experience with out the job.

The best thing to do is cross train, get a related job like systems administration and then try to help out or move into a position.

A lot of HR people will put CCNA on a job posting just to fluff the requirements. When people look for cisco certifications they look for CCNP, or more likely a CCIE.

BTW, the CCIE requires a hands on lab test, which is what I think Microsoft should do for the MCSE to restore some value to it.

We're going to take back the White House! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8045814)

EEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGHHHHHHHHH!

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like Dean screaming.

What good timing (3, Insightful)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045817)

Amazingly enough this article post coincided with my yearning to improve my understanding of networking and computers in general. In the past 24 hours I've hit about 15 sites with tutorials and information on passing the A+ cert exam. I completely forgot about the CCNA.

Hopefully I can find those books somewhere on the internet, because I am even more broke than a blonde joke.

What other certs would anyone recommend? I just want to add some credibility to my resume.

Thanks in advance.

Re:What good timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8045878)

Lemme see. You have no hands-on experience or prior knowledge. Then you want to take exams covering everything from entry-level A+ topics (Circuit City bozos are at this level) to Cisco topics (higher end folks with tens of years of experience helping maintain large portions of the Internet are at this level). Hmmmmm...

I would recommend a cert in "How Not to Get Into the IT Industry Since I Have No Direction or Goal."

Typical paper techie.

Re:What good timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8046032)

If you want to add credibility to your resume, certs aren't the way to go. Experience is what counts.

Re:What good timing (1)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046534)

Yes but how do you get experience? A CCNA will get you a crap job, but that crap job will give you experience and let you move on. I love how people always say "You can't work in this field, you have no experience in it!" Well, you've gotta get a job to get experience :P

Re:What good timing (1)

gregarican (694358) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046932)

Job experience doesn't come through rote memorization of textbook materials and hunting down exam cram sites that are based off folks recalling test questions right after taking an exam. And unfortunately that's what a lot of these technical certs have sunken to.

Getting an entry level (some call a "crap") job that builds up experience should then lend itself well to becoming a certified professional that has actual hands-on experience.

What I think is that most introductory level vendor certifications should be either significantly modified to include hands-on work or else they should be scrapped altogether. Then the intermediate level certs might mean more since they will focus on folks that come into the exam with a considerable amount of exposure.

I know I've seen large companies where HR personnel sees some vendor cert (regardless of level) on the resume and assumes that they have their foot in the door. Instead most of the paper experts should have the foot somewhere else.

Personally managing IT teams has perhaps jaded my opinion on this, but I've been burnt too many times in the past where some has put the cart before the horse. Gotten some paper credentials before even attempting to support the vendor's product. It should come the other way around.

Re:What good timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8046481)

I just want to add some credibility to my resume.

go do some work for free and gain some experence.

Re:What good timing (1)

cpthowdy (609034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8047186)

Get some Novell [novell.com] certs. They're making a rebound. Heck, the new Certified Linux Engineer cert they just created requires a totally hands-on test. Either that, or just go for your MCSE and get made fun of. I haven't heard of any CNE jokes, but I do know plenty of MSCE jokes.

Another Objective Review (-1, Troll)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045835)

Here's another perspective [terrato.org] on the CCNA book.

Re:Another Objective Review (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8045959)

YOU ARE EVIL!!! I clicked on that at work. Hahahaha!

Holly crap! You got me!

HAHAHAHA

Re:Another Objective Review (0, Offtopic)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045969)

DONT CLICK ON PARENT. It takes you to a pop-up spouting Goatse site!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey everybody!! I'm looking at gay porno!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8046589)

Hey everybody!! I'm looking at gay porno!!!

atl-f4

Re:Another Objective Review (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8047147)

FYI anything beyond public/ takes you there, be creative.

Worthless? (4, Funny)

H8X55 (650339) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045926)

I passed exam 640-801 in one try, with no real networking experience and having taken no classes.

And we're worried about tech jobs being sent to India...

RIAA Files 532 Music-Sharing Lawsuits (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8045949)

RIAA Files 532 Music-Sharing Lawsuits [myway.com]

Jan 21, 12:47 PM (ET)

By TED BRIDIS

WASHINGTON (AP) - The recording industry on Wednesday sued 532 computer users it said were illegally distributing songs over the Internet, the first lawsuits since a federal appeals court blocked the use of special copyright subpoenas to identify those being targeted.

The action represents the largest number of lawsuits filed at one time since the trade group for the largest music labels, the Recording Industry Association of America, launched its controversial legal campaign last summer to cripple Internet music piracy.

Music lawyers filed the newest cases against "John Doe" defendants - identified only by their numeric Internet protocol addresses - and expected to work through the courts to learn their names and where they live.

The recording association said each person was illegally distributing an average of more than 800 songs online. Each defendant faces potential civil penalties or settlements that could cost them thousands of dollars.

The resumed legal campaign was intended to discourage music fans emboldened by last month's federal appeals court decision, which dramatically increased the cost and effort to track computer users swapping songs online and sue them.

"Our campaign against illegal file sharers is not missing a beat," said Cary Sherman, president of the recording association. "The message to illegal file sharers should be as clear as ever."

All 532 lawsuits were filed in Washington and New York - home to Verizon Internet Services Inc. and Time Warner Inc. and a few other prominent Internet providers - although the recording association said it expects to discover through traditional subpoenas that these defendants live across the United States.

The RIAA said that after its lawyers discover the identity of each defendant, they will contact each person to negotiate a financial settlement before amending the lawsuit to formally name the defendant and, if necessary, transfer the case to the proper courthouse.

Verizon had successfully challenged the industry's use of copyright subpoenas, one of its most effective tools to track illegal downloaders. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled last month that the recording industry can't use the subpoenas to force Internet providers to identify music downloaders without filing a lawsuit.

The court said that copyright subpoenas available under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act "betrays no awareness whatsoever that Internet users might be able directly to exchange files containing copyrighted works."

Re:RIAA Files 532 Music-Sharing Lawsuits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8046071)

Well, if you put up something online that you don't own the copyrights for, what do you expect?

Mod Me Down!! (-1, Offtopic)

LamerX (164968) | more than 10 years ago | (#8045964)

I just wanted to post a comment that would be modded down. Will somebody please waste a mod point on this worthless, unrelated, overrated, offtopic post? PLEASE???

Limitations of product specific qualifications (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8046006)

I do have reservations about proprietry/product specific examinations. Most of the guys working at our place are CS grads, or Maths/Engineering grads. People I have interviewed before with Microsoft certification or Cisco certification are great with deep but narrow skills, usually with a good measure of vocational experience at actually doing it practically too. However unless you are picking a candidate for a very specific (and usually short contract) job I would treat such qualifications with a pinch of salt, as usually the CS grad can do as good or better just by rtfm.

More interestingly some companies provide proprietry training and instruction that is very 'insider' and 'closed'. Its very difficult to find good staff for these problems without going to the company and headhunting guys who are just comming off the end of the course. We tend to avoid such solutions now because the staffing costs are far higher. Always better to use general principles and open source type solutions because you will have a far wider pool of skilled labor to tap.

Not a whole lot of real value in them... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8046050)

I even let my CCNP/CCDA lapse recently. When CCIE's even have a hard time finding jobs the value of these cert's is dubious at best. They might get you in the door over someone else to get the interview but real work experience is far more valuable than the paper. I passed the CCNP tests without having worked on a router in 3 years at the point I did them. That should say something.

CCNA (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8046056)

For the CCNA tests just use what's freely available on the Internet. They're more than enough materials/information out there to get the basics and pass. That's what I did, although I did get the CCNP library books. Much more in depth coverage and knowledge needed in order to get to the next level. Definitely not a paper certification (CCNP).

But practice, experience puts the knowledge to test...either you can or can not.

Example: I've never taken a car engine apart...but I could buy a book and read how to do it....but it's another matter to try and put to task what you have learned,

Gary, CCNP, GCIH

This just in. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8046083)

It is now official - Netcraft has confirmed:

Cisco is dying

Yet another crippling bombshell hit the beleaguered Cisco community when recently IDC confirmed that Cisco accounts for less than a fraction of 0.1 percent of all equipment. Coming on the heels of the latest Netcraft survey which plainly states that Cisco has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Cisco is collapsing in complete disarray, as further exemplified by failing dead last in the recent CCNA comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a nerd to predict Cisco's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Cisco faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Cisco because Cisco is dying. Things are looking very bad for Cisco. As many of us are already aware, Cisco continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood. IOS is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Cisco's CEO states that there are 7000 users of Cisco IOS 10. How many users of Cisco IOS 9 are there? Let's see. The number of Cisco IOS 10 versus Cisco IOS 9 posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 Cisco IOS 9 users. Cisco IOS 11 posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of Cisco IOS 9 posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of Cisco IOS 11. A recent article put Cisco IOS 12 at about 80 percent of the Cisco market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 Cisco IOS 12 users. This is consistent with the number of Cisco IOS 12 Usenet posts.

Due to the internal squabbles, abysmal sales and so on, Cisco went out of business and was taken over by D-Link who sell another troubled equipment line. Now D-Link is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that Cisco has steadily declined in market share. Cisco is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Cisco is to survive at all it will be among hobbyist dabblers. Cisco continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Cisco is dead.

Fact: Cisco is dead

The CCNA is precisely what it claims to be (5, Insightful)

PhoenixRising (36999) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046117)

For all you who are bemoaning the CCNA as a "paper cert," I'm going to point out what is apparently an oft-overlooked fact: CCNA stands for Cisco Certified Network /Associate./ It's not the CCNP (Professional) or CCIE (Internetwork Expert.) Yes, the exam is easy; of course, it's easy to pass on the first try with a little bit of studying. However, you still have to know a few basic things going into the exam to pass it: you have to have a basic understanding of how IP internetworks function, a rough concept of how a few routing protocols work, and the appropriate commands to use on a Cisco router to configure common types of network interfaces. That's all they're trying to assess your ability to do. You don't look for a CCNA if you need a network architect; you hire a CCNA to help configure a
network that someone else has designed. Some companies will undoubtedly misunderstand this, hire a CCNA, and feel misled when they get someone who knows how to type "interface ethernet0/0, ip address 192.168.1.1 255.255.255.0, no shut," but the failure is on their end -- they did not look into what the certification covers. It's all there on Cisco's webpage.

Re:The CCNA is precisely what it claims to be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8048062)

All these exams can be passed by a monkey who's able to go to google and type

braindump cisco

or

braindump ccna

or whatever.

Until the people who design these exams put the effort into making them different every few weeks then there'll be no point in doing them.

passed without classes... (-1, Flamebait)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046139)

I wonder why... oh that's right cuz it's just another hack american scam to get more money without providing anything tangible in return...

Fuck, these certified people are certifiably fucking stupid.

Why can't people just see longer term. By inventing all these "qualifications" that really amount to jack squat they dillute the field and make it EVEN HARDER for people [including themselves] to find solid jobs. Why not just admit your're not a computer expert (scientist, networking admin, sysop, webmin, etc...) and just let people really serious about making a name for themselves [by being productive] go about their business.

Tom

Re:passed without classes... (1)

holdendeb (731645) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046640)

Its just a test. why so upset? some companies value it and some don't. Its hard to judge someone with no experience. this allows a foot in the door. kinda like a degree. the more experience you have the less important a degree or cert becomes. but its a good place to start when you're just starting a new field. all test are flawed. and i've met some pretty clueless people with C.S. degrees when it came to networking and hardware even after RTFMing. having a ccna or mcse doesn't mean youre an idiot and it also doesn't mean you know what you're doing either. same thing for degrees as well

Re:passed without classes... (2, Interesting)

tr0llb4rt0 (742153) | more than 10 years ago | (#8048609)

I''d certainly hire CCNA's in advance of anyone else for a position involving networking.

You get someone that knows basic routing and subnetting.

Out of the 5 (experienced ... 5/6 yrs each) IT staff I'm responsible for NOT ONE understands ip networking :-( and my boss (responsible for hiring) cannot tell a private from a public IP (don't even ask him about rfc 1918 ... d'uh what's an rfc & why do we need to use that range ...).

Well thats my rant for the evening :-D

ps .. yes I am a CCNA

The capital of Nairobi??? (4, Funny)

JoshuaDFranklin (147726) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046223)

Studying these books will prepare you for the CCNA in the same way that reading the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z will prepare you to identify the capital of Nairobi.

Ahem. Nairobi is the capital of Kenya. Perhaps the poster should read his Encyclopedia Britannica.

Or at least give the World Factbook [cia.gov] or WikiPedia [wikipedia.org] a quick look.

Re:The capital of Nairobi??? (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046687)

From the article:
...will prepare you to identify the capital of Nairobi.

Ahem. Nairobi is the capital of Kenya. Perhaps the poster should read his Encyclopedia Britannica.

You should read your dictionary. From the definition of of [reference.com] :

11. Specified as; named or called:
a depth of ten feet; the Garden of Eden.

egotism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8046234)

I can't believe they actually expect people to know what "CCNA" means. As if we didn't have enough acronyms already.

Lammle all the way. (3, Informative)

b0r0din (304712) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046236)

If you want to get a CCNA, just read the book by Todd Lammle. When I went to study for it last year, everyone in my group recommended Lammle, and guess what? It's good. Very good.

CCNA a foot in the door (2, Interesting)

MadHungarian1917 (661496) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046325)

This cert is a foot in the door. As another poster pointed out it is about certifying that you can perform BASIC networking tasks without assistance. The CCNP and CCIE certs are about being able to design and debug medium to _very_ large networks. None of these certs will get you a job by themselves howver if I have two people competing for a job with equal experience and only one has a cisco cert all other factors being equal I am going to give the nod to the person with the cert. One reason for that is the person with the cert took the time to _prove_ what they know. Without violating the Cisco NDA _all_ of the current exams make you configure either real or simulated equipment so with these certs your prospective employer has some assurance that you really can do the job at hand.

Re:CCNA a foot in the door (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8048446)

I am in the midst of doing labs for the CCIE. passed the written already. the problem I have been seeing is that the people who hire have NO idea what all these certs mean/do. As in I cant get hired for jobs that need a CCNA. they dont understand that I am way way beyond that. oh well some schmuck who memorized a brain dump got the job. ( and I am sure messing things up pretty well by now )....

Not just the CCNA, all certs are worthless (1)

bigbadbob0 (726480) | more than 10 years ago | (#8046353)

Almost every semi-reasonable cert out there (MC*, CCNA...) has guaranteed-pass training courses and a myriad of books to choose from in order to practially guarantee that, when used properly (as any high school grad should be able to do), you will pass the test.

All certs need a hands-on test like the CCIE. Or a person to person interview where the obvious numbnuts can be weeded out. Without this the cert is just another test of one's ability to memorize the answers that they received through some test training facility.

I once worked with an MCSE who, when I told him to do something in User Manager, asked me where it was. I couldn't believe it. But he was serious.

Re:Not just the CCNA, all certs are worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8046937)

Most of those I personally know of who are critical of certification programs do not, in my opinion, demonstrate the ability to pass the tests I'm familiar with. I'm a CNE who is attempting to become [more] current with his skill set. I'm attempting to learn more of the Cisco/infrastructure side of the business not necessarily to re-define myself as an infrastructure specialist. I think it will make me a better system administrator if I know more about this than I currently do. A level of knowledge and the action of passing a test are not negative things in themselves. If someone misrepresents themselves and/or their knowledge that is a problem. Let's say someone lets the knowledge gained during a study/testing phase lapse because they are focusing on something else. If an opportunity comes up to perform some work in that area, it is only a problem if he or she doesn't refresh their knowledge OR give an accurate representation of the lapse.

If the tests themselves do not require a level of knowledge requisite to performing "the job" adequately, then the tests have to be made more difficult.

I have considered the studying for the exams as adequate, especially since I cross-reference the source material with white papers, RFCs, etc....

Re:Not just the CCNA, all certs are worthless (1)

WetCat (558132) | more than 10 years ago | (#8048526)

CCNA tests do have some hands-on tasks on simulated network.

CCNA Study Guides (2, Informative)

homerskid (725428) | more than 10 years ago | (#8047049)

For those who are interested, I run a free
website (simple registration required) that has
tons of CCNA, CCDA, CCDP, CCNP and CCIE goodies.
The url is http://www.gdd.net [gdd.net]

Certified Information Systems SecurityProfessional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8047649)

The only certification that counts for me these days is the CISSP. But I'm only a hiring manager. What do I know?

CCNA exam will get harder, very soon (1)

MtlDty (711230) | more than 10 years ago | (#8047754)

I'm currently studying for the CCNA. I'm taking it in 1 night per week evening classes. The whole course (4 semesters) takes just about a year.

I found that the 'old' chapter test exams were just multiple choice questions, and I beleive the final CCNA exam was also a multiple choice exam. Everyone knows just how easy multiple choice exams are, and I was happily getting 90-100% throughout the semester.

This semester we've been put onto version 3.0 of the CCNA. It's now a multiple choice multiple answer style test. ie, "pick the correct 2 statments from the choice of 6". You can still get lucky, but its much more difficult unless you really know your stuff.

I think people taking the version 3.0 CCNA exams will find it harder, and it will re-establish some credibility to the certification. Having said that its important to remember the CCNA is only the first step to the 'real' certs such as CCNP/CCIE.

Re:CCNA exam will get harder, very soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8048322)

Just get a good book like the one from Todd Lammle. It doesn't take 4 semesters (1 year) to get a CCNA. If it does, you really need a good look at your future. You're in the wrong field!

A useful review for once (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8048108)

Unlike the typical Slashdot reviewer, Michael skipped the usual lame regurgitation of the contents and simply told us what was good and bad about the book. Other reviewers take note!

It's depressing that Michael's description of the book is basically negative, but still touts it as a complete preparation for the CCNA exam. Which suggests that the exam is basically pretty lame. I guess the comparison with the Capital of Nairobi (about $2 billion dollars, I think) is all too apt! In both cases, you're memorizing trivial facts without really understanding.

Any, since Slashdot is spamming for Barnes&Noble, I might as well spam for Amazon [amazon.com] . And no, I don't want to argue about patents.

Anybody try the flash cards [amazon.com] ?

CCNA v3.0 (1)

mrbill (4993) | more than 10 years ago | (#8048230)

CCNA v3.0 now includes a lab simulation as well; it hasnt been a multiple-choice-questions-only test for at least a year. They've changed it to make it more difficult and get rid of all the "paper CCNAs" who've never touched a switch before.

Re:CCNA v3.0 (1)

bluenova (533033) | more than 10 years ago | (#8048567)

I'll admit it. I'm a certification junkie. My employer will pay for any tests that I choose to take, and I'm learning while studying anyway, so why not? I average 5-6 tests per year. The newest round of the CCNA testing does contain lab simulation. The simulation involves configuring routers and switches through a virtual telnet session, giving you tasks to accomplish. The simulation is exact enough that you can use most of the basic IOS commands to check your work afterward. I don't know how this is affecting the pass/fail rate of testtakers, but it would be interesting to find out if this has discouraged the braindumping/examcramming.

Um..lies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8048243)

While i fully agree with the MCSE argument (i've had MCSE on windows NT4 at age of 14 with about an hour of study per exam), CCNA is nothing like it. The earlier claim that the poster knows people who have passed CCNA without ever having loged into a router is a blatant lie.

The test (which i passed about 5 days ago) is LOADED with practical questions. A scenario, a picture, and an emulator. You have to "configure" the routers and fix the problems. Configuration problems varied from incorrect RIP settings, to wrong network mask, to dial-on-demand settings for ISDN.

The score required for passing is very high as well (85+ percent) so i honestly doubt that it's possible to pass without having pretty solid knowledge of the covered domains. In addition to this i'm also a cisco certified instructor and teach at the local cisco accademy. The volume of knowledge necessary to pass CCNA is pretty high. Recent changes in cisco ccna curriculum (switch from 2.14 to version 3.0) make me relatively safe in my assumption that CCNA is in no danger of becoming a paper cert.

CCNA is a stepping stone (0, Offtopic)

puzzled (12525) | more than 10 years ago | (#8048329)

I passed the CCNA near the end of 1998. Its main value as far as I can tell is that it is placed within easy reach of the staff of small resellers. You sign a form and you're an authorized reseller, but if you have two CCNAs you're a Cisco Premier partner and you get access to some products that the authorized guys don't get to touch.

Once you've completed the CCNA and the companion Cisco Certified Design Associate you're ready to start on the Network and Design Professional (CCNP/CCDP) certifications. The three core exams are routing, switching, and remote access, then you take the troubleshooting for the Network Pro and the design exam for the Design Pro. I passed these at the end of 2000 and recently completed my three year recertification.

The CCNP/CCDP has been a huge career benefit for me. I've gone from Windows Flunky(tm) at crappy Fortune 500 companies to nothing but IOS and FreeBSD in my own business - life is sweet :-)

My next step is the carrier oriented Cisco Certified Internetwork Professional. Four exams covering routing, BGP, multicast, and I'm taking the MPLS specilization because the equipment needed for practice is inexpensive.

I find that the coursework and structure provided by the Cisco certifications is roughly equivalent to obtaining a masters degree in the field.

I'd expand more on the subject but that first CCIP exam is headed right at me :-)

Cisco Netacad (1)

J Nny (678075) | more than 10 years ago | (#8048372)

As an alumni of the cisco netacad program, I found myself looking for resource material that I might find useful as a refresher before recertifying and pressing on towards getting my CCNP. While browsing through the local book stores, I noticed this book on the rack, and decided to page through it. Utterly worthless. Especially with the test format for the CCNA getting ready to change to increase the difficulty (Cisco at least is trying to stop the CCNA from becoming too much like the A+ in that any schmoe off the street could study the test and pass), the best bet for any prospectives wanting their CCNA to add to the wall, would be to bid on a 2514 and a 2500 series router and a DTE/DCE cable and some AUIs. That comes to around $350.00. A 1900 series switch is going on Ebay for less than $100. With those items in, you have more than enough at your disposal to practice not only routing protocals, ACLs and setting up VLANs, but also a nice addition to add to a pseudo closet rack. Instead of wasting your money on the books, buying these items and putting some time in actually on the routers would be a much wiser route. D.
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