Help me get ready for CCNA Grinding!


Jan 30, 2011
Hey everyone,

I am 25 and am in Phoenix, AZ. I am currently pursuing my CCNA to start my networking career and am seeking some guidance. My experience and knowledge thus far is pretty fragmented, I know a little about a lot PC hardware/software/networking/virtulization/data storage/VOIP/security.

I currently work as a technical support agent providing Tier 1 VOIP support for a small company here in Phoenix. We support about 11 different VOIP providers and we provide their Tier 1 support, I support all of these clients in many aspects, from moves/add/changes all the way up to troubleshooting their Cisco/Adtran/Edgemarc devices and calling carriers for T1 circuit issues. I have a lot of experience with Polycom and Cisco phones, so I'd like to move into my CCNA Voice at some point.

I feel that after I achieve my CCNA, I'd like to get started on some VMWare/HyperV certification as thats where my curiosity is.

I have enrolled with IT University Online, they had a deal on Groupon for $100 which included the following courses.

640-822 Cisco ICND1 CCENT
640-816 Cisco ICND2 - CCNA
640-461 ICOMM v8.0
640-553 IINS
640-554 IINS

I've got until 11/17/13 before all of it expires and I'd like to get as much done as possible. Has anyone had any experience with IT University Online? Do you think it's of good quality and sufficient for my needs?

I've also decided that GNS3 will not be sufficient enough for me and I would benefit from having some physical hardware to play with. I have been looking around on eBay for CCNA Lab Kits and I am pretty lost as to what I need and what I should get. I am hoping to not spend anymore then $300 or so on a CCNA Lab Kit. Can anyone provide some guidance here as to how many routers/switches I should get and what models? What tools do I need? I've got puTTY and Wireshark already.

I am also facing some motivation problems, honestly I couldn't care less about networking or Cisco for that matter, but I do not want to get a 4 year degree at a college and feel that getting a CCNA would be a great way to start to my career.

How do you guys stay motivated to learn this stuff and what keeps you going?

Thanks for any help or feedback!