Polling for advice.. CCNA or EA

TimTheEnchantorTimTheEnchantor Member Posts: 26 ■□□□□□□□□□
I've found multitudes of threads and blog posts that give me glimpses of answers to my questions. I figure if I pose my questions in a more direct manner - it will make sense to figure out if the CCNA is right for me right now or to continue toward my EA. Thank you in advance for any advice. The resume thread I made earlier really helped me and I am coming back for more.

My first question is: Is the CCNA going to be changed soon? Some places say they updated this month (April 2011) and should reflect the newest concepts. The CCNP was changed in 2010.

My second question is: Dependent on the first question since I am a Cisco newb; how many and what model routers/switches should I purchase for my lab? (I found this: Lab Blog from Network World but I just don't want to spend money on gear that will be obsolete on the test.)

My third question is: Considering my path, should I just finish my Enterprise Administrator with Microsoft? I just received my Server Administrator credential (MCITP) and I have finished my Vista certification. I figure, the Vista cert will expire sometime next year or so. Maybe I should just get my EA and then move onto CCNA.

My job situation is that I am working for a small company in a smallish town. I am doing System Admin work (like planning and implementing our Active Directory migration from NT to 2008 R2, server maintenance, infrastructure planning, etc.) but I am being paid like a Help Desk technician which is my main role. I work with AdTran routers, but not on any regular basis.

I'm fine for right now, but I want the credentials and lab experience to move further. I want to make the move to a more server or network administrative role and maybe in the next 5-10 years move into a more InfoSec or Network Security/Pen Tester role or consultant. Ultimately, I know I will need to probably go to a larger city to find the work I am looking for.

I just am looking for advice from those who have the certifications that may have been in my shoes. icon_study.gif
MCITP: Server Administrator, MCTS: Windows Vista
To Go: 70-643, 70-647
Further Certs: Exchange Administrator 2010, CCNA

Reading: Server 2008 R2 Unleashed/Sybex/CBT Videos


  • instant000instant000 Member Posts: 1,745
    If gaining CCNA will make YOU happier than gaining MCITP: EA, then that is what YOU should do.

    If it will get you towards your long term goal, then that is what you should do.

    You cannot be really successful in something, unless you are willing to devote years into studying it.

    I have read statements that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. (You do the math) LOL. (Basically means if you did something for full-time work, for five years, you should be an expert at it. 40 hours * 52 weeks per year, * 5 years = 10,400 hours)


    Of course, this is not to say that you should drop everything (unless that is your choice).

    I hate to advise someone to "drop everything" unless it makes them happy to do so.

    Even with all this said, you should be learning stuff about networking and security already. (Hard to see how you can support any sort of OS without knowing something about networking and security.)

    If you do want to go for the CCNA, at least do yourself the favor of learning how to subnet first, and go visit the CCNA forum on this site for resources.
    Currently Working: CCIE R&S
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lewislampkin (Please connect: Just say you're from TechExams.Net!)
  • MickQMickQ Member Posts: 628 ■■■■□□□□□□
    The EA will probably be a better move for you at this time. You can always come back to the CCNA and do it in the single exam (like I did), or the two part exams.

    For your cisco lab, get yourself GNS3 - basically a sim. You'll need to get cisco IOS images for it, so you'd probably be better off going for the EA and keeping your eyes open for cheap gear to legally get the IOS between now and then.

    As instant said, check out the CCNA forums for a better idea of what to expect.
  • mikej412mikej412 Member Posts: 10,086 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Ditto. Knock out the EA now since you're on a roll -- and then do the CCNA closer to any possible move so the Cisco knowledge and skills will still be "fresh" for those big city interviews. :D
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • kiki162kiki162 Member Posts: 635 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Yeah it's just one more exam to finish out...so yeah go for the EA. Plus it can't hurt. Heck go get your MCTS:W7 out of the way if you wanted to.

    Since CCNA is a different realm from MS, and a little more difficult if you haven't had the experience with it. I would take the time with the Cisco stuff 2nd, and then get your CCNA.
  • earweedearweed Member Posts: 5,192 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Actually it's 2 more exams to ge the EA, but who's counting. Get the EA first if you're going to get it eventually. I got my EA just last week and have already started my Cisco studies. Already read the Odom ICND1 book and haven't gotten my lab all the way together (waiting on WICs to arrive). I've just got 2 2950 switches and a 1721 and a 2611 router. I'm getting at least 1 more switch and router before I do the ICND2. I'm going the 2 test route.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • pertpert Member Posts: 250
    I don't see the point in "dabbling" in Cisco stuff. You should either go all out or basically ignore it. I think you should focus on one or the other, though if you focus on Cisco having basic knowledge in various MS server stuff is useful, but I don't think that is the case the other way around. If you don't work with Cisco consistently at work it's not going to be easy to maintain your knowledge.

    Also, you don't need any equipment for the CCNA beside packet tracer. I'm not saying someone who has never touched real equipment is useful in a business environment, but people saying you need real equipment to pass or understand the CCNA exams are not being honest. Honestly, Packet Tracer simulations are more similar to the exam questions than doing it on real equipment would be.
  • MickQMickQ Member Posts: 628 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Although you don't need any equipment to study, it's useful for learning your cable juggling tricks, LED diagnosing, and also teaching you good clean cable management.
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