Just some IMHO stuff from a guy who makes a living working on Cisco devices.......not trying to be an ass here, but rather tell some of y'all how it really is.

The CCNA is basic, *basic* stuff. Anyone who is having a hard time trying to prepare for that particular cert isn't ready to go out and configure a router for a paying customer. Comapanies are beginning to realize this too. I would *strongly* advise begging, borrowing, or stealing every cisco device you can get your hands on and just make it work. If you know someone who has Cisco equipment ask them if they will print out a running config for you so you can study it. Know what every line means, what it does, and why.

I get four interns from the local Cisco Networking Acadamy every summer to come and work for me. They don't know **** comming out of semester two. Every one I've ever had has told me that they learned more in 10 weeks of working, then they had all year of attending class two hours a day.

By all means, take the cert. For some HR weenies it's going to be the only way to get an interview. Please, however, for your own sake.....grab a couple of switches, and a couple of routers and set up a lab. E bay is a great way to get some old equipment dirt cheap. Nothing pisses me off more than answering a trouble call from someone and they've done something really, *really* stupid (ie...trying to route on the same network, DS1 cable pinned out wrong....etc) and see their CCNA certificate hanging on the wall.

Never fails that they give me an attitude too, which I alway find terribly amusing. :-)

Good luck with your studies, all of you.