If you’re looking for Cisco training but you’ve no working knowledge of routers, what you need is the CCNA. This program has been designed to train people with a commercial knowledge of routers. Commercial ventures that have various regional departments use them to join up computer networks in different rooms to keep in contact with each other. The Internet is also built up of hundreds of thousands of routers.
Routers connect to networks, so it’s essential to have prior knowledge of how networks work, or you will be out of your depth with the training and not be able to follow the work. Find training that features the basics on networks (CompTIA is a good one) before you start the CCNA.
Having the right skills and knowledge before commencing your Cisco training is vital. So find an advisor who can tell you what else you need to know.
One crafty way that colleges make a lot more is by charging for exams up-front and then including an ‘Exam Guarantee’. It looks impressive, but is it really:
It’s very clear we’re still being charged for it – it’s not so hard to see that it’s already been included in the full cost of the package supplied by the training provider. It’s definitely not free (it’s just marketing companies think we’ll fall for anything they say!) People who take exams one at a time, funding them one at a time are in a much stronger position to qualify at the first attempt. They are mindful of the cost and prepare more appropriately to be ready for the task.
Don’t pay up-front, but seek out the best deal for you at the appropriate time, and keep hold of your own money. You’ll then be able to select where you do the examinations – meaning you can choose a local testing centre. A lot of extra profit is made by a number of companies who take the exam money up-front. For quite legitimate reasons, a number of students don’t get to do their exams but the company keeps the money. Amazingly, there are providers who actually rely on students not sitting all the exams – as that’s where a lot of their profit comes from. The majority of companies will require you to do mock exams and hold you back from re-takes until you’ve proven conclusively that you can pass – so an ‘Exam Guarantee’ comes with many clauses in reality.
With average prices for VUE and Pro-metric examinations coming in at around 112 pounds in the UK, it makes sense to pay as you go. Why splash out often many hundreds of pounds extra at the beginning of your training? Commitment, effort and practice with quality exam preparation systems are the factors that really get you through.
One area often overlooked by people considering a training program is the concept of ‘training segmentation’. This basically means the breakdown of the materials for delivery to you, which can make a dramatic difference to where you end up. Normally, you’ll join a programme staged over 2 or 3 years and get posted one section at a time – from one exam to the next. While this may sound logical on one level, consider this: How would they react if you didn’t complete each element at the required speed? Often the prescribed exam order won’t fit you as well as an alternative path could be.
In a perfect world, you’d ask for every single material to be delivered immediately – so you’ll have them all to come back to at any time in the future – whenever it suits you. Variations can then be made to the order that you complete each objective where a more intuitive path can be found.
One feature provided by many trainers is a Job Placement Assistance program. The service is put in place to help you get your first commercial position. Having said that, occasionally too much is made of this feature, because it’s relatively easy for well qualified and focused men and women to get a job in the IT environment – as there is such a shortage of skilled employees.
Bring your CV up to date as soon as possible however – look to your training company for advice on how to do this. Don’t procrastinate and leave it for when you’re ready to start work. Getting your CV considered is more than not being regarded at all. A surprising amount of junior support jobs are offered to trainees who are still at an early stage in their studies. In many cases, a specialist independent regional employment agency – who make their money when they’ve found you a job – is going to give you a better service than a centralised training company’s service. They should, of course, also know the area and local employers better.
Certainly be sure that you don’t spend hundreds of hours on your training and studies, and then just stop and imagine someone else is miraculously going to secure your first position. Stand up for yourself and make your own enquiries. Invest the same time and energy into finding your new role as you did to gain the skills.
Most trainers only give basic 9am till 6pm support (maybe a little earlier or later on certain days); most won’t answer after 8-9pm at the latest and frequently never at the weekends. Locate training schools where you can receive help at any time you choose (even 1am on Sunday morning!) You’ll need 24×7 direct access to mentors and instructors, and not access to a call-in service which takes messages – so you’re parked in a queue of others waiting to be called back at a convenient time for them.
The very best training providers have many support offices active in different time-zones. An online system provides an interactive interface to seamlessly link them all together, no matter what time you login, help is just a click away, without any contact issues or hassle. Look for a training company that gives this level of learning support. As only 24×7 round-the-clock live support truly delivers for technical programs.