So now that we've gone through the course and gone over the Overview, we're going to take a couple of minutes to talk about some of the next steps that you might want to take as someone who's pursuing a Cisco CCNP Certification. Now obviously if you're actually going to get the Certification you will have to pass two other exams, the Cisco SWITCH exam, the 642-813 exam and the Cisco TSHOOT exam 642-832 exam. Now you can pass these exams in any order you want. I personally am taking them the Routing, the Switching and then the Troubleshooting. Whatever order you do them in, Troubleshooting is probably going to be the last one you want to do, and that's because it's kind of hard to Troubleshooting Switching and Routing if you don't know the material that you're trying to Troubleshoot with. But regardless, if you're after you're CCNP Certification, that's the way to go. So what other resources can you use besides this VTC course that you've just sat through? Well first thing you might want to search out is Certification Communities. These are forums and blogs of people that freely share the knowledge that they've been given or that they've found out just to help other people along the way. And they were invaluable as I was setting up some of these labs. I got real deep into BGP and couldn't figure out some of the attributes that I needed to modify in order to make the lab work properly and I found some of the Cisco certification actually on the Cisco.com Cisco Learning Network. Lots of really skilled people out there. In fact I've actually run into some people on the Cisco Learning Network that I've worked with at Cisco Tech in San Diego, so or San Jose, I can't remember which City in Southern California it is, but I actually ran across them and of course they recognized me and were more than willing to help me out. Some of the other Certification Communities that I've found to be helpful is Blindhog.net. They actually have some pretty entertaining little videos on how to do certain tasks within Cisco Routers. And also Group Study.com which is focused on the CCNP and CCIE Certifications but these are other places you can bounce your questions off, of. See how they're going about their Certification, get some tips on the exams, hopefully they won't give you all of the questions and answers to the exams, that kind of defeats the purpose and makes it harder on everybody else. You also might want to search out some publications just to get some of the more basic knowledge because I'll be honest, this course, if you were to go take this as at a Cisco Authorized Learning Partner, this would be a 40 hour course including labs and classroom instruction and I've condensed down to about 10 hours. So obviously there's a lot of stuff that I didn't gloss over but may not have covered as in depth as some people needed and so if you need other publications, I would recommend going to the Cisco Press Books, Windle Oatham is an awesome author. He's published several books on the CCNP and CCIE Certifications and those are some of the books that I studied as I was preparing for the exams and preparing for these courses. Also I would recommend getting GNS3 and GNS3.net. Putting together all these labs, getting in there, working with them, breaking them, fixing them, really that's the way that I learned how to do Cisco Routers. Obviously I don't want to do it on our Production Network at work but that's the way that I learned the best is just getting in there, figuring out how it works, breaking it, making it work again. I'm not the kind of person that can sit and just read through a book and get a whole lot from it. I'm more of a hands on learner. Also there is an excellent website called PacketLife.net. He actually offers access to a free Cisco lab. Now it's not state of the art, top of the line equipment, you're not going to get a 7200 and a Cisco Nexus Switch, I mean, unless someone really comes off with some money to donate, but for a small donation, you can schedule time in the lab or if you don't have the money to donate that I've not had from time to time, you can just schedule time on the lab and catch up later on. This is a great service because if you were to go rent a lab you'll be paying 200 or 300 dollars for eight hours of access to the equipment. Of course, it's a lot more controlled and up to date equipment if you're paying for it obviously. But if you just need access to some hardware that you may not happen to have in your lab at home, let's say you actually need a POE Switch to test some POE Commands, you can get to it on PacketLife.net. And that's a quick discussion of the next steps you can take towards your Cisco Certification.
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