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Getting Started

Since you have made it to this page, I am assuming that you have decided on the certification route you wish to take. The next step is to figure out if you are going to self-study or get professional training? Making this decision depends on a couple of factors as follows:
  • Can you afford it? - Training programs can be very expensive (as high as $10,000) and so you should first check out the various training companies in your area and see if you can afford it. If currently employed in the I.T. industry, you might want to check and see if your employer is willing to cover some or all of the expense.
  • Do you really need training? - First of all, some certifications are easy enough that no training is necessary. An example of this would be CompTIA exams. It is probably unnecessary to get training for these exams. The next thing to consider is how much experience you have. If you have several years experience working with Cisco routers, then it would be pretty pointless to get training to take a CCNA exam, unless the cost is covered by your employer.
While plenty of people get training for certifications, a very large percentage of them are new to I.T. From what we have seen, a majority of people who are already in the industry (and many who aren't) choose the self-study route. If you are thinking about going this direction, keep in mind that it takes a lot of self-discipline to force yourself to study and practice, and you need to make sure that you are the type of person that has this type of self-motivation.

If you are going to look into the training route, you should read these articles on our sister site MC MCSE:
Don't Get Screwed By Training Schools
Don't Take a Training Class Until You Read This!

If you are going to go the self-study route, then you need to figure out which training products and books you need. I always recommend at least 2 books per exam to make sure that you have all of the exam objectives covered. Most people like to have some practice test software as well to help them assess their preparedness. If you are still debating whether or not you need training, there are some excellent CBT products available that are like having an instructor in your house. The cost is much less than classroom training and nearly as good. For more information about books and training products, check out our Training Directory at MC MCSE. Make sure that you review the products that you use to help others.

For higher level certifications such as those offered by Cisco, Microsoft and others, many people like to have a home lab set up. The components that you will need will vary depending on the certification, but this is a great way to get hands on experience with the products and will greatly increase your chances of passing.

Whatever training route you choose, make sure that you do this the right way and avoid braindumps and real exam question products. For more information on this, please read Braindumps and Real Exam Questions.

Another common question in forums is, "How long do I need to study?". Nobody can answer this question for you because it depends on a number of factors such as:
  • How much experience and knowledge you already have
  • How quickly you can read and absorb material
  • Which test you are preparing for
  • Whether you are getting classroom training or preparing on your own
  • If studying on your own, how many hours per day you devote to it
These are things that you will have to figure out on your own and after you take your first exam, you will have a pretty good idea as to how long subsequent exam preparation will take for you. The best that you can do is to make sure that you have thorough knowledge of the topics covered on the exam objectives and have adequately tested yourself using practice tests.

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