I only ever got about a quarter of the way into my last one. It's six years old now, and probably about 95% as relevant as the one I just bought. Obviously that last 5% is worth much more than $33 though. My plan is to read through chapter one before my vacation. I don't want to get into the guts of it before I leave, because I know I won't be studying it while I'm there. It's the kind of thing you want to read a little each day so it stays fresh.
Then I start reading, and while still on the introduction, I run into this line:
"Taking a Cisco class or spending months with hands-on experience is definitely a requirement to succeed when faced with this monster!"Which raises a few questions. What am I doing here? I don't have access to lab. And why read this book if I'm going to end up taking a class later? Would the effort it takes to get this certificate be better spent on getting ten others?
The short answer is, "I don't know." I don't think the ten other certificates I could get would add up to a CCNA. And I have already taken classes geared toward getting my CCNA. I've played with the lab equipment. And the book does talk about using a simulator as the next best alternative to hands on experience.
If I stick with it, and put in the hundreds of hours it will take to read, and comprehend this book... and still am not able to get my CCNA, it will not all have been wasted. I won't look better on paper, but I will be better; more knowledgeable at my job. I may also shoot for the CCNA, and fall amongst the Network +, which is another very relevant certificate in my field that this material should prepare me for.