The CCNA certification is where it all starts for Cisco training. This will enable you to work on the maintenance and installation of routers and network switches. Fundamentally, the internet is based upon huge numbers of routers, and big organisations that have several locations utilise them to allow their networks to keep in touch.
Jobs that use this qualification mean the chances are you'll work for large commercial ventures that have multiple departments and sites but still want internal communication. The other possibility is being employed by an internet service provider. Jobs requiring these skills are plentiful and well remunerated.
If routers are a new thing for you, then working up to and including the CCNA is all you'll be able to cope with - avoid being talked into doing a CCNP. With a few years experience behind you, you'll know if CCNP is something you want to do.
'Exam Guarantees’ are often bundled with training offers - this always means you have to pay for the exams at the very beginning of your studies. But before you get taken in by a course with such a promise, why not think about this:
Of course it isn't free - you're still footing the bill for it - it's just been wrapped up in the price of the package. Qualifying on the first ‘go’ is what everyone wants to do. Going for exams when it's appropriate and funding them as you go has a marked effect on pass-rates - you put the effort in and are conscious of what you've spent.
Take your exams somewhere local and find the best deal for you at the time. What's the point in paying early for examination fees when there's absolutely nothing that says you have to? A lot of profit is made by companies charging upfront for all their exams - and then cashing in when they're not all taken. Don't forget, in the majority of cases of ‘exam guarantees’ - the company controls how often and when you can do your re-takes. You'll have to prove conclusively that you can pass before they'll pay for another exam.
The cost of exams was approximately 112 pounds twelve months or so ago when taken at VUE or Pro-metric centres in the UK. So why pay hundreds or thousands of pounds extra to get ‘Exam Guarantees', when common sense dictates that what's really needed is a regular, committed, study programme, with an accredited exam preparation system.
The sometimes daunting task of getting your first job is often eased by some companies, via a Job Placement Assistance facility. Often, there is more emphasis than is necessary on this service, because it is actually not that hard for well qualified and focused men and women to secure a job in this industry - as there is such a shortage of skilled employees.
One important thing though, don't leave it until you've completed your exams before getting your CV updated. As soon as you start a course, list what you're working on and tell people about it! You might not even have qualified when you will be offered your first junior support job; yet this isn't going to happen unless you've posted your CV on job sites. Actually, a specialist independent regional employment agency (who will get paid by the employer when they've placed you) will perform better than any recruitment division from a training organisation. They should, of course, also be familiar with local industry and the area better.
To bottom line it, as long as you focus the same level of energy into landing your first IT position as into training, you're not going to hit many challenges. Some trainees curiously invest a great deal of time on their training course and just give up once qualified and seem to suppose that interviewers know they're there.
Those that are drawn to this type of work often have a very practical outlook on work, and don't always take well to classrooms, and struggling through thick study-volumes. If this could be you, go for more modern interactive training, where you can learn everything on-screen. Recent studies into the way we learn shows that long term memory is improved when we use all our senses, and we put into practice what we've been studying.
Study programs now come in the form of CD and DVD ROM's, so everything is learned directly from your own PC. Utilising the latest video technology, you will be able to see the instructor presenting exactly how something is done, followed by your chance to practice - via the interactive virtual lab's. Every company that you look at should willingly take you through a few examples of the materials provided for study. Make sure you encounter videos of instructor-led classes and a variety of interactive modules.
Seek out CD or DVD ROM based materials every time. Thus avoiding all the issues associated with broadband ‘downtime’ or slow-speeds.
Throw out the typical salesperson that offers any particular course without an in-depth conversation to better understand your current abilities and also your experience level. They should be able to select from a wide-enough array of training from which they could give you an appropriate solution. If you've got any work-based experience or some accreditation, you may find that your starting point is not the same as someone new to the industry. For students embarking on IT studies from scratch, it's often a good idea to ease in gradually, by working on a user-skills course first. This can be built into most accreditation programs.