Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Official CCNA Group FAQ

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I've been one of the admins of the group for a few years now, and there's a handful of questions that I see repeatedly posted.  I'm talking about the things that somebody asks at least once a week in the group.  So I've started compiling this FAQ for the group that can be posted as a response to any question that falls within this list.  As with many posts relating to the Facebook group, this will be a living document and material will be added, removed or modified as necessary.

If you haven't already read my post on how to ask better questions, maybe take a minute to look at that as well.

1.  How do I register to take the exam?

Cisco exams are proctored Pearson VUE.  You will find everything you need to know about registration and exam locations on their site.  Don't just take the word of some random person on Facebook, get the information directly from the authoritative source.

2.  What is the cost of the CCNA Exam?

You can find the cost of the exam in your country at the above mentioned site where you register.  Again, don't take anyone else's word for it.  You're going to pay Pearson Vue to take the exam, not me.  So it only makes sense to see what they say it costs, right?

3.  What kind of questions can I expect to see on the CCNA Exam?

All the information that is known about the exam is available on the Cisco Certifications page relating to the exam in question.  The Cisco NDA forbids us from telling you anything more.  This includes how many of each type of question we saw, whether or not a specific topic is covered heavily, and what specific questions we were asked.

4.  Where is the best NetAcad facility in my city?

You can find a list of NetAcad partners on the NetAcad website. Which site is better than another site?  I seriously doubt anyone has taken the classes at multiple sites, so how can anyone really say which is better?  Pick a site that's near you, and you'll be fine.

And don't forget that self-studying is a viable option.  Many people have passed the exam without taking the classes.  If someone tells you otherwise, don't believe the hype.

5.  What book should I read for the CCNA?

I've blogged about this before very recently, and you can find that post elsewhere on my blog.  But to summarize, I'm always going to recommend the Official Certification Guide from Cisco Press.  I don't care if someone said Wendell Odom is too dry, or the books are too long.  We're learning networking, and there's a lot to know.  In short, it's best to get your information directly from the horse's mouth and to brace yourself for the fact that you'll never be done studying as long as you're employed in IT.

You can find a large list of free resources around the Internet to assist your studies.

6.  I have a question about my final results.

There's a great post over at the Cisco Learning Network titled Demystifying the Cisco Score Report.  It says it's posted by the Certs & Lab Admin, so I'm going to assume this is legit.  And while this particular breakdown is for a CCIE Written exam, pretty much everything that is said in the post applies to any written exam.

7.  What degree should I get for networking?

Nobody can speak for every hiring manager out there.  Every one is different, so there is no answer for this.  In my experience, a college degree was a yes/no question without too much focus on what the degree was in.  Some hiring managers don't care about a degree while others only care that you have one, and others still want it to be something specific.  I chose a degree that closely matched the work I wanted to do in the future.  You can't go wrong with that way of going about it.  One thing I can guarantee is that nobody is looking specifically for somebody with a masters in Botany to work in their NOC.

8.  Why did I get banned from the CCNA group without warning?

The group has rules, and the rules are enforced.  Its nobody else's fault that you either posted without knowing the rules, or you knew the rules but chose to disregard them.  Every Facebook group, Website, Online Forum, etc. has rules and it's up to you, the user, to seek them out and follow them.  This is true with anything you do in life.

9.  Will somebody do my homework for me?

No, we absolutely will not do your homework.  Do your own homework.  I already know the material and your homework is one of the steps involved in your education.  You want to pas the exam and earn the certification?  Then you need to learn this stuff, not just write down what I told you.  Obvious homework questions will be deleted, and the poster will be mocked. I don't care if you say it's not homework, we know homework when we see it.

Besides that, half of the "answers" I see given to homework questions are wrong anyway.

10.  Which certification pays more?  Cert A or Cert B?

Follow your heart, not your greed.  Every certification path has great opportunities, and you'll be paid well in any IT specialty if you do your job well.  And you will do your job a lot better if you're doing something that you actually enjoy doing.  If you don't know what you enjoy doing yet, you should be spending more time getting a job and gaining experience and less time worrying about 3 jobs ahead.

Bottom line, if it wasn't a marketable job skill, Cisco wouldn't bother maintaining a certification program for the skill.

11.  Any question that contains the phrase "Class A," "Class B," or "Class C."

Just stop right there.  We don't do classful networking anymore, and haven't done so for a number of years.  CIDR and VLSM aren't something off in the distant future, they're the here and now.

12.  What is Router?

This question, and any basic question like it, doesn't have any place in a Facebook group or an online forum.  It's something that you can easily Google, and not waste everyone's time.  In case you're still unsure how, I wrote a post on how to Google things.  Try it sometime, you may like it.

"What is the CCNA" is especially offensive.  Why did you join our group if you don't even know what it is?   If you don't know, then Google it.

When in doubt, try this post on how to ask better questions.  Better questions get better answers. Take note when you will not show any router configs but still want us to figure out why can't ping across your 5 router topology.

13.  I don't like the rules, who can I complain to?

Basically nobody.  The admins set and enforce the rules.  And as long as we do not violate any part of Facebook's TOS, that will not change.  If you dislike the group that much, there's certainly other groups elsewhere that you would like better.  Try one of them.

Of course, if you do want to scream at somebody, then by all means send me a private message on Facebook, even if it was a different admin that annoyed you.  I collect your hate mail, and sometimes even share it with the rest of the group.  Don't bother here though.  All comments must be approved and your profanity and poor English is not going on my site publicly.

14. I has CCNA, job me!

Sorry, but this isn't a jobs board, and these types of posts can and will drown out everything else if we allow them..  Since there's really no such thing as a "CCNA Job" despite what many posters say, there's no connection here.  If you wish to explore career opportunities in your area, seek out a group dedicated to that topic.

15. Will the CCNA help me find a job in networking?

The same goes for this as it does for the degree question (question #7).  While experience trumps all, certifications and a degree will help you stand out from other similar candidates who have neither.  But at the end of the day, it's up to the individual company to decide what they want in a candidate.  Some want a degree, some want certifications, some want other qualifications.  The job posting will tell you this.

The bottom line is that having a degree and a CCNA helped me get my first job in I.T.  Everyone had zero experience at one point, and yet there are many of us working in the field, right?

16. I'm the network admin and nobody can get to the Internet.  HELP!

You used Tesking to pass the CCNA, didn't you?  Now you see why you shouldn't have cheated.  Pick up a book and learn something.
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