Certification Survey Extra: Effective computer networking certification prep

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Certification Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Certification Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Certification Survey data.

What are the most beneficial methods of ensuring effective computer networking certification prep?Almost nobody rolls out of bed in the morning, decides to get a certification, and walks out of the testing center that night having accomplished their not-so-long-held goal. Passing a certification exam nearly always means at least some degree of time spent preparing for that exam.

Some certification candidates have built up their knowledge and skills on the job and maybe only need a brief refresher on key terms before sitting for the exam. Others might be entering the field for the first time and must plan a regimen of deep study across several months in order to emerge from the testing center with a certification in hand.

According to our recently completed Computer Networking Certification Survey, 42 percent of certified networking professionals were required to hold one or more networking certifications in order to accept their current job. So certification is a major consideration for quite a few people who work in the industry.

So there’s a high likelihood that you’ll need a certification at some point to keep your computer networking career afloat. And most individuals are likely to need the benefit of at least some level of effective computer networking certification prep. That being the case, what is the best place to turn?

We put that question to certified networking professionals, and the following table reflects their opinions. This data shows what people who have earned at least one networking cert feel are the best approaches to effective computer networking certification prep:

Method of Preparation / Effectiveness of That MethodExcellentVery GoodGoodFairPoorDoes Not Apply
Self-Study Books31.3 percent34 percent21.3 percent4 percent2.7 percent6.7 percent
Practice Exams32 percent27.3 percent23.3 percent6 percent2.7 percent8.7 percent
Instructor-Led Training at Training Center15.3 percent23.3 percent13.3 percent5.3 percentNo responses24.7 percent
Vendor-Authorized Boot Camp10.7 percent15.3 percent6.7 percent3.3 percent0.7 percent63.3 percent
Computer-Based Training or Simulations23.3 percent24 percent23.3 percent6 percent2.7 percent20.7 percent
Community or Technical College Courses12.7 percent11.3 percent12.7 percent7.3 percent0.7 percent55.3 percent
Online University Courses or MOOCs10 percent21.3 percent12.7 percent7.3 percentNo responses48.7 percent
Product Documentation12 percent6.7 percent40.7 percent18.7 percent3.3 percent8.7 percent
Internet Mailing List or Forums6.7 percent10.7 percent16.1 percent16.1 percent5.4 percent45 percent
On-the-Job Training25.3 percent24.7 percent24.7 percent8.7 percent1.3 percent15.3 percent
Brain Dumps6 percent12 percent12 percent6 percent6.7 percent57.3 percent

2018 Survey Data

Self-study books and practice exams rule the roost, which is a pretty common outcome when we ask this question. And it would appear that brain dumps and boot camps are likewise steered clear of by most, whether for reasons of cost, ethics, or out of other concerns.

One interesting thing to note is that nearly everybody who responded uses product documentation is their mix of study aids, but only 18 percent of respondents rate it either very good (6.7 percent) or excellent (12 percent). It is rated “good” by a notable percentage (40.7 percent) of respondents, so there’s clearly something to be said for reading the manual.

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CertMag Staff


Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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