Sharpening your network skills -- Hands-on wins hands-down

Would you let a doctor who had only studied books, attended classes, and dissected cadavers operate on you? Of course not. "Theory and practice need to go side-by-side," said Bernd Grohmann, CTO for Alentis, an online business-to-business marketplace uniting ASP buyers with ASP sellers (http://www.alentis.com/). "In addition to a solid, up-to-date theoretical background, you expect hands-on experience, and a lot of practice. Ultimately you look for the same in a network professional."

In today's fast-paced IT world, though, there isn't enough time or staff to provide one-on-one mentoring. So to avoid risk to the production network, many companies have turned to simulation training. "If the subject is hardware related, I personally don't believe simulation is a good option," Grohmann continued. "It's better to work with the real hardware in a good simulated 'environment.'"

Today, real-time, hands-on training using real hardware and software in "live" network scenarios is available over the Internet. "Using this self-paced model, network professionals can experiment without the fear of crashing a production network," said Greg Long, founder and General Manager for Mentor Technologies (http://www.mentortech.com/), a company that provides $3 million worth of the latest Cisco routers, switches, voice networks, and servers for "students" to play with. "And if the system does crash, you can press the 'Reset' button and start over."

A Cisco partner, Mentor

    Requires Free Membership to View

Technologies offers a full range of on-line labs that prepare network professionals for the CCNA, CCNP, and CCIE certification tests. In addition, the company recently released modules for Windows 2000 and NT technology.

"Some people will take a lab on a need-to-know basis so they can solve a real-world problem the next day," Long continued. "Most people begin by trying to solve the problem on their own. If they're stumped, they can request some ideas about an approach or they can ask for a step-by-step walkthrough."

Individuals can purchase most one-hour labs for $65 each. Companies can purchase licenses, allowing individuals to take classes and trainers to incorporate hands-on practice into classroom instruction.

Linda Gail Christie is a contributing editor based in Tulsa, OK.

This was first published in November 2000

There are Comments. Add yours.

TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.