I'm in the market for a CCNA study guide. From what I can tell, there are two books that are most widely used; the Todd Lammle, published by Sybex, or the Wendell Odom, from CiscoPress. Can anyone tell me what are the respective merits of these? Which book would get your hard-earned dollars?
CCNA 640-607 has been retired, unless you registered before September 30th (as some of us recertifiees were smart enough to do *snigger*) its been replaced by
640-801 (a single exam)
(the same as 801, just broken into two parts for supposedly easier studying)
The new curriculum is supposed to be more current, and harder -- from your point of view that may be a bad thing, but it will bring back the validity of the certification. Not to mention prepare you for the job environment much better. I fought with myself over taking the harder exam.. one side of me said, "yeah go learn the new stuff, reassess your skills etc etc.." the other side said... "what are you kidding me ??"
What are you kidding me won.. though I do intend to go over the things theyve added...
Good luck, its a nice certification to get -- and no matter what anyone says, if you pass it, you've absorbed something about networking.
To shed some more light on my situation, I anticipate that I will be doing the newest exam, seeing as I am a complete beginner to networks. I am actually doing the first semester of the cisco CCNA curriculum as a university subject, being part of my computer science degree. I will have to learn the rest of the curriculum through self-study, hence my interest in obtaining a guide book.
The books that are competing for my hard-earned dollars are:
1. CCNA Certification Library, from CiscoPress which is a package containing two books, one for each of the two new exams; CCNA Intro Exam Certification Guide, ISBN 1587200945, and CCNA ICND Exam Certification Guide, ISBN 158720083X. These are written by Odom.
2. CCNA: Cisco Certified Network Associate Study Guide, 4th Edition (640-801), ISBN 0782143113, by Todd Lammle. This book is being released later this month.
I have studied from Todd Lammle's books before and they are good.. what you should do first off is get some basic networking knowledge going as I find all study guides tend to jump right down into what is required for the exam.
That little link in the top menu of this page called 'networking' is the most deceptive thing going.. the cascading menu contains a wealth -- and I'm talking Sultan of Brunei type wealth here -- of information on networking from the basic level up.
I can safely vouch for the fact that if you get through all that material, your fundamentals will be very strong and you'll be that much better off for the exam.
THEN hit the study guides if you want more detailed info on a specific topic. Then go to the numerous certification sites -- off the top of my head --
which have practice questions and lots of free study guides.
The cisco website
(you should know that one ) has an incredible amount of information on all the topics in the exam (hell its their exam after all).. i know finding documents on the cisco site can be difficult - simply because they have so much - but you'll be well rewarded for the effort for two reasons :
1.The information is 100% accurate, they will not make mistakes
2.They will use symbols, graphics, acronyms and terms that will appear on the exam. Another site may use different language.
As a simple example, in subnetting, cisco doesnt treat the 'zero' subnet and 'broadcast' subnet as valid.. there are many sites (and even books) which will solve subnetting problems and give these ranges as valid.
Last but definetely not least... get some hands on experience.. yeah sure you can pass the CCNA with just theoretical knowledge.. i personally know lots of people who breezed through 640-607 without ever laying hands on a router.. but the tests have been changed for precisely that reason, to stop the number of 'paper CCNA' candidates applying for jobs.
Just make sure when you study from a certification site that their material is relevant to the new exams. A lot of sites have not updated yet. Also accurate braindumps (I'll say the forbidden word ) might be harder to find -- i dont know I honestly haven't looked.
Last but not least, post to this forum as well as 'basic concepts'. Alot of people who read this site are studying for certification (I discovered this site when I was studying for my first CCNA). You will find many people who have the same problems you will encounter.. subnetting questions, VLAN questions etc.
I am personally attempting recertification sometime in November (not looking forward to it, i always blank on tests), so I'll probably be posting quite a few queries and tips as I come across them.
As Sahirh said, hands on experiance goes a long way. Tough to get if you are just using a book. I assume that the Cisco College has a lab with plenty of Routers and Switches to play with (no dollars there) and you can take the test anytime you want. The nice thing is you get lots and lots of practice question doing the online curriculum the Cisco has set up.
If it is offered at your school, I'd definately take advantage of it.