Junior networking engineers often seek to earn a Cisco professional certification (CCNA, CCNP, CCSP etc) in order to prove their knowledge and get a better status in their career.
I believe this is a wise move for network professionals since the journey you go through for obtaining your certification will teach you all necessary theory and background that is essential to have when working in the demanding and exciting field of networks.
Your study efforts for earning any Cisco Certification should include three elements:
- Learning the theory behind the specific certification technology.
- Getting practical hands on training for Cisco devices configuration.
- Solving many practice questions related to the specific certification.
If you include the three elements above in your study efforts then you will have no problems in passing any Cisco exam.
Parts 1 and 3 (i.e learning the theory and solving practice questions) can be carried out using books and other training resources.
Part 2 can be obtained with practical experience at your workplace, with buying Cisco equipment for practicing (expensive option) or with software simulators.
If you want to get all three study elements in a complete package then you will either need to enroll in a class-based instructor-led training (very expensive) or buy an inexpensive Cisco Online Training package (there are excellent Cisco Online Training packages for around $60-$70).
These cisco online training packages are interactive courses which will teach you the theory for the specific certification, simulations will show you how to do things, question and answer sessions help you remember what you learned etc. Plus you study on your own pace, starting and stopping the online course anytime you want. I think for a measly $60-$70 for a complete cisco training course it’s an excellent price.