Cisco CCNA Certification: Becoming A Truly Valuable CCNA.

I've been active in the Cisco Certification track for four years, working my way from the CCNA to the coveted Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert title, and during that time I've conducted job interviews and casual conversations with hundreds of CCNAs and CCNA candidates.

The CCNA is an exciting beginning to your Cisco career, but just having the certification simply isn't enough. A recruiter or interviewer isn't going to be impressed just with the cert; you've got to have some real-world knowledge to back it up.

I've been down that road myself, and sat on both sides of the CCNA job interview table. With that in mind, I'd like to offer to you some tips on becoming a truly valuable and employable CCNA.

Get some hands-on experience. I know the trap well; you can't get experience until you get a CCNA, and you can't get a CCNA without real experience. Well, actually, you can, but do you want to? Working on simulators is fine to a certain extent, but don't make the classic mistake of depending on them. I've seen plenty of CCNAs who were put in front of a set of routers and really didn't know what to do or how to put together a simple configuration, and had NO idea how to begin troubleshooting.

There are CCNA classes that offer you the chance to work with industry experts on real Cisco equipment. Beyond that, you can put together your own CCNA rack for less than $1000 by buying used routers. Some people think that's a lot of money, but this is the foundation of your career. Treat it that way. The work you do now is the most important work you'll ever do. Do it on real Cisco equipment. The skills I learned as a CCNA helped me all the way up to the CCIE.

Besides, after you get your CCNA (and after that, hopefully you'll choose to pursue the CCNP), you can always get some of your money back by selling the equipment. The hands-on experience you gain this way is invaluable.

Know binary math. Do NOT go the easy route of memorizing a subnet mask chart for the CCNA exam. I know some people brag about being able to pass the CCNA exam without really understanding binary math. I've seen those people on the other side of the interview table, and they're not laughing when I ask them to do a subnetting question. They're not laughing when they can't explain or create a VLSM scheme. That chart does nothing to help you understand what's going on.

If you can add and know the difference between a one and a zero, you can do binary math. Don't let the name intimidate you. Become a REAL CCNA -- learn binary math !

Run "show" and "debug" commands. No commands help you truly understand how things work in a Cisco network than show and debug commands. As you progress through the Cisco certification ranks, you'll be glad you started using these at the CCNA level.

Do you need to know these commands for the exam? Probably not. Do you need them to be successul in the real world? Absolutely.

The Cisco certification track has been great to me, and it can boost your career as well, whether you stop at the CCNA, CCNP, or go all the way to the CCIE. It's the skills you develop today that will truly make you a networking engineer. Don't take shortcuts or get the attitude of "just passing the exam".

It's what you achieve after the exam that counts, and it's the work you put in before passing the exam that makes those achievements possible.

Good luck !

Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933

Chris Bryant, CCIE (TM) #12933, has been active in the Cisco certification community for years. He worked his way up from the CCNA to the CCIE, and knows what CCNA and CCNP candidates need to know to be effective on the job and in the exam room.

He is the owner of http://www.thebryantadvantage.com, where he teaches CCNA and CCNP courses to small groups of exam candidates, ensuring they each receive the individual attention they deserve. Classes are offered over the Internet and in select cities. Chris has custom-written the Study Guide and Lab Workbook used in each course - no third-party training materials or simulators are used. You're invited to visit our site and check out our CCNA and CCNP courses and study aids, and to sign up for our weekly newsletter written personally by Chris. Chris is always glad to hear from Cisco certification candidates at chris@thebryantadvantage.com.

Microsoft Great Plains: Offshore Customization & Development ? Overview for Consultant

When you visit department stores and see that majority of the apparels are produced in... Read More

Freight Forwarding ERP: Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains customization & setup ? overview

Microsoft Great Plains may be recommended for international freight forwarding / transportation company. Great Plains... Read More

C++ Tutorials: 3, Program Flow (If, Else, While, For)

Program Flow is what you think it is. How the program will flow. As you... Read More

ERP System of the Future: Database, Business Logic and Interface

We will base our prognosis on our Microsoft Business Solutions ERP consulting practice: Microsoft Great... Read More

Run Your Own Search Engine

Our hosted solution allow you to run your own search engine.You can have your own... Read More

Defining OLAP Solutions and Data Warehouse design

This tutorial covers OLAP solutions used by Data warehouses and understanding Data Warehouse design. The... Read More

How To Identify, Cure and Prevent Spyware/Adware Infections

Just when you thought you were Web savvy, one more privacy, security, and functionality issue... Read More

Spyware Definitions List

The adware and spyware definitions list is very long. But the definitions listed below are... Read More

DVD Burning Tips

CD and DVD replication is a process that works by creating discs from scratch. Not... Read More

Microsoft Great Plains in Metal Distribution: Implementation & Customization ? Consultant Overview

Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains serves to the wide spectrum of horizontal markets and could... Read More

Instant Messenger Clients

If you have been using the Internet for any amount of time you have probably... Read More

Do You Know These Facts About Spyware ?

Imagine something that follows you home and sets itself up in your house. It eats... Read More

Navision Sales Module & Reporting: Jet Reports, C/ODBC, XBRL, Business Analytics ? highlights

Microsoft bought Navision, Denmark based software development company, along with Great Plains Software. Now Microsoft... Read More

Microsoft Great Plains Integration Manager: Using Continuum ? Overview for Developer

Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains has I'd say end user integration tool ? Great Plains... Read More

Imagine if Everyone Working In Your Office Was In Synch?

Microsoft-Outlook is a pretty amazing program. So much more than simply an e-mail client, it... Read More

Lotus Notes Domino and Microsoft CRM Integration

Well, even if the combination might look very unusual, we see the coexistence of these... Read More

Cisco CCNA Certification: Becoming A Truly Valuable CCNA.

I've been active in the Cisco Certification track for four years, working my way from... Read More

Microsoft Great Plains: Interest Calculation Example ? Stored Procedure for Crystal Report

This is intermediate level SQL scripting article for DB Administrator, Programmer, IT SpecialistOur and Microsoft... Read More

Microsoft eCommerce Web-development: Great Plains eConnect .Net ? Highlights for Programmer

In our small article we'll consider Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains Sales Order Processing module... Read More

Photoshop Files and Formats

People often ask me: What image file formats will Photoshop open or save in? What... Read More

Best Practices In Choosing Network Monitoring Software

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Hawaii (HMSA) found itself with a rapidly expanding network... Read More

Microsoft Great Plains Remote Support - Overview

Microsoft Great Plains is now standard mid-market ERP application, serving the whole spectrum of businesses.... Read More

Microsoft CRM Customization ? Programming Closed Email Activity

Microsoft CRM is CRM answer from Microsoft and attempt to get market share from Siebel,... Read More

OLAP, An Alternative Technology Over Spreadsheets

Are Spreadsheets Robbing your Enterprise of Competitive Advantage?'90% of "average" companies are not confident that... Read More

Microsoft Great Plains Subcontracting ? Overview for Microsoft Business Solutions Partner

Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains is very popular ERP/MRP applications in the USA, Canada, UK,... Read More

Integrating Microsoft Great Plains Accounting/ERP: RMS, CRM, eCommerce, Lotus Domino ? overview

Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains has substantial market share among horizontal and vertical clientele in... Read More

Selecting Corporate ERP: Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains ? Estimation Parameters

As we could imagine, if you are reading this article ? you are in the... Read More

Five Tips For A Great Software Demo

Whether you need to close a sale, gather end-user feedback, show progress to your customer,... Read More

What You Must Know About Spyware Right Now

Spyware is like the new technological nuclear weapon on the internet. Spyware can not only... Read More

Microsoft CRM for Corporate Business ? Working Offline

If your company has regional and worldwide operations, you might already realized that it is... Read More

Can Group Collaboration Software Meet Business Needs?

According to a survey conducted by InfoTrends/CAP Ventures entitled "Content-Centric Collaboration," 51 percent of businesspeople... Read More

Oracle Development: JDeveloper 10G ? Java, J2EE, EJB, MVC, XML - Overview For Programmer

In 2004 Oracle, Inc. made its new step toward J2EE application development simplification, releasing new... Read More

The Opera Alternative

Security flaws have long plagued Internet Explorer (IE), the market-dominating web browser from Microsoft. IE... Read More

eConnect: eCommerce Development for Microsoft Great Plains

Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains has several options to enable web ordering. Traditionally Great Plains... Read More

Spyware - The Internet Devil Of Our Times!

Spyware and Adware infest over 90 percent of computers in use today. Internet linked computers... Read More

Create A Flash Presentation For Free With Open Office

The intentions of this short tutorial are not to teach you how to use Open... Read More

Why do Manufacturers Invest in Business Management Software?

With many manufacturing shops heading over seas in favor of lower cost, it is tough... Read More

Who Is Minding Your Sensitive Data?

Stealing company information used to be the specialty of spies and conspirators. It was something... Read More

Accounts Payable: A Powerful Document Management and Workflow Solution

Accounts payable is just one area of office management where problems arise because of the... Read More

Snort for Network IDS

What is Snort?Snort is an open source network intrusion detection system (NIDS) that can audit... Read More

Microsoft Great Plains Accounting/ERP Implementation ? Finance Industry Customization Example

Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains is very generic accounting application out of the box and... Read More

How to Choose the BEST Charting Software

I suggest that you do not spend a lot of money on charting software as... Read More

Microsoft CRM Implementation & Customization: MS CRM Fax Gateway

With this small article we are continuing Microsoft Business Solutions CRM customization, development, modification, setup... Read More

A Simple Computer Software Definition

What is Software?Software is a set of instruction written to interface between man and machine.Who... Read More

Bridging the Gap between Paper and Data

The cornerstone of successful automated office systems is the ability to convert printed information into... Read More

Implementing Microsoft CRM: setup and configuration ? notes for IT specialist

Microsoft Business Solutions CRM is web-based CRM application, deploying all the spectrum of recent Microsoft... Read More

Why Stick With Email Clients Like Outlook?

Trying to figure out a stream in banning one email client or another is no... Read More

Google Brings the Earth to Your Desktop

Google Inc. has launched a new software package that allows you to see satellite images... Read More

5 Easy File Management Tips in Microsoft Word

How many steps does it take you to locate and open your Word documents? Try... Read More

Corel WordPerfect 7 Macro Programming Example

Case study: A secretary using Corel WordPerfect 7 is often required to carry out calculations... Read More