An email from a fellow networker reads…
After passing CCNP last May, 2013 and still not successful finding a network admin / engineering job I am thinking of going for CCNP and I need your help finding a training center. I live in long island and it would be ideal to find a place on the island if not NYC, do you know any good training school / center for CCNP.
I have been working in IT helpdesk / support for 8+ years and really want to move on to backend network technology.
any info you can provide me will be great help.”
First and foremost, if you’ve been doing Desktop Support for 8 years, its time to move on — like yesterday. Desktop jobs arent lucrative like they used to back in the 90s and if the industry is slowly killing off Desktops for thin-client solutions. These jobs will get either cut, outsourced, or flat out eliminated in some shops. I’d get into a Server Admin role at least, by getting a MCSA 2008 or MCSE 2008 with some MS Exchange skills. That’ll help you move out of the desktop role.
Second, I’d get out that role or ask your boss for a promotion or to take on new responsibilities. 8 years is way too long (no offense) to be in one position. IT moves every year, so in a way its like your 7 years behind! Yikes!
Alot of small MSP (managed service providers) are out in the city. ALOT. Granted you’ll get maybe 50-60k a year, but at least you’ll get familiar with different env and pick up new skills. Hitup Monster.com or Dice.com for these gigs. Even craigslist or the actual companies site itself.
So that comes to your question on classes. This is my view on classes…
Yep I said it.
Classes are good if you’ve done all the studying you can on your own, exhausted your sphere of influence, and got no where to turn to. Classes are generally 40 hour a week class and after the class is done there’s no need for the teacher to help you anymore. You pay a fee, they provide a service, and their out (generally, you got other classes where the teacher is nice enough to provide their contact info after the class but you’d need to ask them for it). Once you learned all you could, watched all the training videso, read all the books, labbed off GNS3 or your own gear, and your still stuck, use a class as a nice “icing on the cake”. This way you know what to expect and the class may help fill in the blanks and you get to ask the teacher what he knows on a topic. Hopefully hes experienced enough to asnwer you a good answer and not something he read out of a book.
Thats another thing — me being a CCSI (cisco certified system instructor) I’ve run into alot of Cisco teachers. Some are good, some aren’t. But I can tell you Teachers usually give you the book answer on stuff. I’d highly suggest to network and get good answers from guys in the field as well as the “book answer”. Its like peanut-butter and jelly, the both makes it work!
So I can’t recommend one classroom over another — I can tell you the differences
You got your Official Cisco Courses which is your paying like $2k for a 5 day, 40 hour class. I’ve taught these before and the material isn’t enough to fully grasp CCNP or even CCNA for that matter. I always tell my students I teach about 20% of what you need to know here. I’m a book on tape. But at the end of the day you need to clock the time in — lab. Read, read, read readddddddddd. No book on tape will do that for you. Repetition is the key. Make sure whatever official classroom is to your liking. Global Knowledge seems to be the Ferrari of training classes but there are other “no-name” schools out there that teach official Cisco classes as well. No matter if you pay 4k or 2k — if its the official Cisco Classroom, its the same material.
Now you also got your knock-off Cisco classes. These are not official Cisco course ware and they basically get a guy to make up pptx slides and teach a class that generally follows the Cisco Press book. Any joe off the street can teach this course. These are usually cheaper than the official courseware but its like buying an OEM part for a car versus buying it at the dealership. You get what you pay for.
So as you can see — I’m not a big fan of the classroom, especially since I teach NA and NP Classes in the past (offical course ware). Ultimately the choice is yours, but I’d once again suggest leaving the classroom as the icing on the cake towards the end of your studies. Do as much as you can on your own, especially R&S as most if not all of the training and material is online for free.