To chase certifications or to not chase certifications…. that is a question that many IT professionals have asked themselves over the years. Being a fledgling I’m pretty positive that I can’t give you any definite answers either, however the general consensus seems to be that certifications can help open the door to new opportunities. There also seems to be a greater importance in certifications earlier on in the career compared to later where experience becomes king.
I have dabbled a little when it comes to certifications already, having written the first test for my Comptia A+ certification (I really need to get around to writing the 2nd half soon). But what triggered my sudden drive to writing my ICND1 100-105 came in the form of a discount voucher through a course on Cisco Netacad. Unfortunately the voucher has a relatively short shelf life before it expires but that was just the motivation I needed to bury my face in a book and get started towards the goal.
Now as a preface I will say that I have just recently completed 2 Cisco based classes on Netacad so I’m not exactly starting from zero. My first task was to buy the official certification guide (see the featured image of this post). As supplementary study I used CBT Nuggets to help make the grind a bit of a lighter experience compared to working my way through a nearly 1000 page book. Almost every day I would tackle just one more chapter from the book and try to fit in a video or 2, continue the repetition. Luckily having an account on Netacad also meant I had access to Cisco Packet Tracer which is a network simulator. This allowed me to practice labs as if I had real Cisco routers and switches in front of me.
Moving forward from approximately 3 months of study and I finally feel I might be ready to take the test. I personally prefer to over prepare than under prepare so now the final leg of my preparation is practice tests and trying to pinpoint weak points in my knowledge. In another week or so I’ll be writing the test and hopefully using that as a stepping stone towards getting my full fledged CCNA.
Anyone who has looked into certifications in the past will also learn that there are short cuts to achieving that piece of paper. Brain dumps, leaked questions, certification camps, you name it. I personally feel that individuals which pursue those methods are missing out on excellent learning opportunities. Imagine taking a helicopter to the top of a mountain to claim that you climbed to the top, you’re missing out on the most valuable part of the journey that builds character and experience. But hey, who am I to judge?
Thanks for reading.