Going to a Bootcamp is not a decision to be made quickly or lightly. The cost of the class is just one thing to consider. The other is the amount of time and resources it will take is another decision. Your employer may not be willing or able to pay some or all of the costs. Just from mentioning a few things, you can see you need to think about this decision very carefully.
Another thing that you need to evaluate is where you stand professionally in terms of your career and experience. If you recently obtained your CCNA, I would look at getting some experience in the trenches. There was a time where you could move directly from one test to another. With what I experienced on a Cisco CCNP level exam that I took recently, the exams definitely seem to be leaning towards not just having read a book but having some practical experience to match what you have been reading in the books. There are some that would say that you should go from certification to another. I would respectfully disagree with them. Something else to look at if you decide to go with a Cisco Training Partner is what type of instructors they have on staff – are they just instructors or do they have recent practical field experience so that you are getting more than just what is already in the course books ?
Having been through a Bootcamp experience on another Cisco certification I have, it was the best decision that I could have made. It took over 3 weeks worth of material, removed the duplication of content that you would normally expect to run into with a common series of exams because what is the likelyhood that you will be able to take one class immediately after another ? Once you have made the decision to go, you need to start doing some preparation to get ready for a deep immersion into the content you will need to get a good handle on before you start the first day in class. It may seem like I am harping o things a bit but I have seen the situation before where someone has registered for a class and didn’t have the prerequisite experience to get the most out of the class. Just as importantly is that when one participant of the class doesn’t have a basic understanding of what is being covered, the instructor is put in a no win situation – slow down the pace of the entire class so he can the the least knowledgeable person up to speed or deal with the majority of the class and end up with a very frustrated student because they are getting cut adrift in a see of information that they probably haven’t dealt with before.
In my case, I am using the time required to renew my existing Cisco certifications and pick up an additional one in the process. I have spend the past two months studying the materials and after taking the CCNP Route exam for the first time, I could tell I wasn’t getting the exposure to the content in the manner I needed to. I had a decision to make, continue the studying for another month before taking the exam again not knowing if I was getting the coverage of the material needed so that I could pass the exam. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t just want to understand the material I need for this point in my career but also want to pass the exam(s) so that I can get the increased knowledge I want to obtain.
I have already posted one segment on some of the study materials that I have been using so far. Those same materials are also available for the other 2 exams in the CCNP Route Switch exam series. Having spent several weeks going over the Route exam topics, I will switch over to review the material for the Switch and Tshoot exams. I have made the arrangements to go to a Bootcamp for CCNP Route Switch. I have obtained permission from the company where I will be going to do a daily podcast to give you blow by blow on what you can expect when going to this type of class. During the 12 days that the classes will be going on, I will switch over to an audio podcast format that will appear on this website everyday reviewing what we have done in class, what we are doing in terms of daily homework and the other studying that I am doing at night to supplement what was done in class each day.
As class starts, I will let you know what Cisco training partner that I have gone with. At the end of the two weeks, I am planning on switch back to the written format that you have been seeing so far and do a review of what I experienced over the past two weeks. Be looking for this series to start on Monday, March 19th.