Networking

Get in the "Zone" for your certification needs

Cisco pros, if you haven't received your certification yet, here's a must-visit Web site for you. Find out if it's worth the subscription price.


Working towards a Cisco Certification? Check out Certification Zone , a site with a stated goal of “helping networking professionals and students score higher on Cisco CCIE, CCNA, CCNP, CCDA, and CCDP certification exams.”

Well, if you’re going for the latter three certifications, you won’t find much at Certification Zone. The site only provides detailed information about the CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert) and the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) titles. In these two areas, however, the site is heaping with support and information.

Subscribe and learn
The site is built on a subscription model, and, to its credit, the company stands behind its service. For $90, subscribers receive a six-month subscription and get access to all the site’s tools and information. After six months, if you aren’t able to pass the test and receive your certification, Certification Zone will extend your membership for free.

Specifically for CCIE and CCNA certifications, subscribers receive:
  • A White Paper on a topic of interest.
  • Sample questions and answers from an exam.
  • Laboratory scenarios, if appropriate.
  • A full simulated exam.

These offerings change on the first business day of the month. Outside of the full subscription model, you can pay a one-time $25 fee to take one of the simulated exams.
If you sign up for a subscription before Oct. 1, 1999, your subscription is just $80.
Simulated exams—a great learning tool
While I don’t have the skills and knowledge to be granted either of the featured Cisco certifications, I was granted a temporary membership for review purposes. The test is a simulation of the real exam; the only thing you have to do is keep track of the time elapsed. Once you have completed the exam, which is a valuable learning process in itself, the benefits of the simulation really come through.

You receive a report of your results in total and by exam section. Then you get each question, your answer, the right answer, and a detailed rationale for the correct answer. This part of the service is very well done.

Kevin has reached a verdict
Along with the “Study Zones” for CCNA and CCIE certification, the site offers a nice links section, a fine FAQ area, and an opportunity for certified professionals to contribute to the site. Professionals who have one or more of the certifications can become “Zone Masters” by writing their White P apers. These Zone Masters receive recognition, an honorarium, and other benefits for contributing to the Certification Zone’s content.

This is a highly specialized, well-designed site. The costs of membership are reasonable, especially when considering the performance guarantee. The chance to use some of the services for a one-time fee is also a nice touch. If Cisco certification is in your future, or in the future of people in your organization, I recommend a visit to the Certification Zone .
If you have a training tool or Web site that you’d like to share with other Cisco professionals, please post your comments at the bottom of this page.
If you have a favorite Web site you’d like for us to review, please send Kevin a note .

Kevin Eikenberry is president of The Discian Group , a learning consulting company in Indianapolis.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox