Things to have in mind for CCNA self-study

The passage of time is just like the flow of water, which goes on day and night. In a twinkling of an eye, I have reached my thirties. Recently, in my work and life, people often ask me whether we can still be a network engineer, whether learning CCNA certification is still worthwhile, and how to learn and prepare for the exam. So I spent some time summing up the experience in studying and working in these years and share it with you who is struggling in a hard and helpless situation.

Is There a Future for the Network Engineers?

Many friends who have just graduated from the college often worry that the industry which they are engaged in will become a sunset industry. Such concerns and today’s impetuous social culture are inseparable. Everyone wants to make a quick buck and catch up with the forefront of the times to ride the waves of our days. Today’s society needs the “T” type talent who usually owns a deep professional knowledge and a wide range of knowledge. A basic knowledge of networking should be the foundation which you need to build on to expand it into more and more areas, such as security, software-defined networking, IOT, network automation, etc. Any industry is the sunset industry for those who do not want to make the progress. Any industry is sunrise industry for those who are learning the knowledge tirelessly and constantly. There are no declining industries, only incompetent people.

Is CCNA Still Worthwhile?

There are many statements said in the society, such as, “Cisco is dying”, “Cisco is declining” and “Cisco is going to be overtaken by HUAWEI”. How many people who really know the industry are there? How many people who have read Cisco’s financial reports are there? And how many people who have compared the products on the market are there? Objectively, Cisco’s position in the market is worse than it used to be, but these statements are still alarmist. Basic network products involves not only the Cisco CCNA, but also the JNCIA and the HCIA. But why do I still recommend you to study CCNA? Because it has the longest history, the most complete data, the most perfect community and the most people to discuss it. Remember, this kind of vendor certification is about learning the basics of the network, not just a few configuration commands. Different vendors have different configurations, but the network works in the same way. Learning Cisco CCNA certification makes it easy for us to use other vendors’ devices.

Can We Achieve the Self-study on the CCNA? 

Yes, according to my personal experience, I have learned the CCNA exam and the CCIE exam by myself all the way. Both self-study and attending the training classes have their own advantages and disadvantages. At the beginning, I chose to study by myself because of economic considerations and I didn’t want to spend too much money. Online training of that time wasn’t as popular as it is today.

Which One Should I Choose, Self-study or Attending the Training Classes?

First of all, there are three types of learning styles:
1. Read a book and learn it by yourself
2. Offline training courses
3. Online training and self-study

When I was learning the CCNA, I just read books to achieve the self-study, which is good for saving money and not being in a hurry. The bad thing is that there is no way to get help in some difficult time when you don’t understand some knowledge, so you can only rely on the search engines or community posts. But this is too inefficient.

The advantages of a offline training class that there is a teacher who is ready to be consulted the questions and some real equipment set up to be used are really beneficial. The disadvantage is that the cost is high and the courses of the training courses are often very short and urgent. CCNA usually finishes its courses within a week. How much can you absorb in a week of cramming?

Online training and self-study should be the best choice at present, which combines the advantages of the other two ways. Choosing a good online training course is very important. We should pay attention to the following points:

  • Can I have a free audition first? Do not choose the lecturer whose speech is illogical and unfocused.
  • Can I can ask questions at any time? Do not choose the lecturer if you cannot ask questions interactively.
  • Is theory combined with practice? Do not choose an environment where theory is taught without experiment.

Here I want to talk about the experimental environments especially. It is not necessary to use real equipment to learn the route switching direction. Virtual environment can meet all the requirements from the CCNA to the CCIE R&S. The important thing is that the training course should provide a settled experimental environment for people to take the practice. Only by doing more experiments can we master the theoretical knowledge thoroughly.

How Do We Achieve the Self-study on the CCNA?

The most important thing is to have the right attitude. Learning CCNA is for mastering network knowledge rather than just for a certificate. Impetuousness is the greatest enemy of the success. Don’t be afraid to take pains and time in learning. Everything is hard to learn. There must be a lot of things you can’t understand when you are new to the Internet. The best way to learn is:

Don’t just read one book. Find several books to make a cross-reference. A book often has its own omissions. Read the latest books, especially if you’re a beginner. You won’t be able to tell which techniques are obsolete and don’t need to waste time learning them. Read the English books to get used to the English materials. To be a technical talent means that English is unavoidable.

Watch videos repeatedly, and ponder over every word spoken by the teacher repeatedly. The video is limited in time and it is impossible to put all the messy contents in it like a book. What the teacher tells must be classic and the most important.

Use Bing and Google. Some simple questions are simple and effective with search engines.

  • Ask as many questions as you can. The more you ask, the more you think.
  • Do experiments over and over again to build the muscle memory.
  • Summarize knowledge points. Don’t look at others’ mind maps and their summaries. Only what you do is the most suitable for yourself. Only what you do can represent that you have learned.

How Do We prepare for the CCNA Exam?

There is such a thing called as the CCNA dumps. Some friends may wonder that I have disdained for those people who learn it just for a certificate. But why do I let everyone use the CCNA dumps now? The reason is simple. The cost of the examination is not cheap, and the dump is a double insurance for yourself.