Your Guide to Cisco Skills, Certification Labs, and How to Find Them
If you are a network professional in search of training, new skills, and certifications, you might know how hard it is to find a reputable source to get that in a sea of offers in the online jungle.
One time-tested way is to go straight to Cisco. The company has been in business for a very long time and has plenty of tools for thousands of subjects and topics. The prices are also destined to fit every budget and range from totally free to thousands of dollars, so you will definitely find something that will be appealing and affordable to you.
Let’s take a look at four resources offered by Cisco:
1. Cisco Learning Network
What is Cisco Learning Network and what does it offer?
This is the central point for all training courses and certifications. All participants can check out different certifications and paths made available to them, take a look at exam topics, explore training seminars, and take part in different discussion and study groups. Members can understand pricing plans and learn about exams before booking them. Most of those things hare are free with the exception of some training seminars.
2. Cisco Networking Academy
Is this academy free?
This is Cisco central marketplace for virtual training seminars, NetAcad in short. A lot of seminars and introductory courses are free of charge. Second level platforms, such as exam-specific training seminars are not free and can cost between hundreds and thousands of dollars.
3. Cisco Learning Network Store
What does Cisco Learning Network Store has to offer?
This is just another part of Cisco Learning Network, offering structured curriculum to students on a mission. If you are after training for entry, associate, professional, expert, architect, and specialist-level exams and preparation, you are in the right place. There are some courses with multiple classes for areas like data center, IoT, IP routing, security/VPNs, network programming, security, and finally cloud. The training is on your own pace, it includes labs, practice exams, and various study and discussion groups to help you along the way. Pricing here varies a lot too and generally expect to pay more for higher levels.
4. Packet Tracer
What is this Cisco’s own network all about?
Cisco developed its own network simulation and visualization training software to aid students with their training goals. It has many uses, some of them being for certification exam preparation and practice of network configuration skills. If you participate in Cisco programs and courses, you will use Packet Tracer quite often. It’s compatible for Windows, Linux, and mobile versions for Apple and Android. You can get many free courses through Packet Tracer on Cisco Network Academy. Other learning and training tools are paid on Cisco NetAcad, including but not limited to Cisco Learning Labs and the expert-level CCIE lab training classes.