It's going to be tough to get up to speed on detailed firewall/security issues -- especially vendor-specific information -- without attending any classes. As you've no doubt observed, many outfits offer certification training as an added inducement to fill seats in classrooms. OTOH, there are plenty of vendor-neutral certifications that don't necessarily require classes--but most people with the budget to cover their cost swear by the value they add to a quality educational experience--that you can pursue instead of CheckPoint and other vendor focused security credentials. If you visit www.searchsecurity.com and search on "certification landscape" you should find a tip I wrote for them in December, 2000, that reviews over 20 vendor-neutral security certs. Many of these can be challenged or tested without taking classes, as long as you work your way through objectives, recommended reading lists, and so forth. Feel free to follow up with questions about specific security certs that interest you. Also, check out the transcript of the live event I hosted on searchSecurity.com on this very topic. HTH,
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