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No need to take courses
Of course nothing makes up for a great instructor when it comes to efficiency of learning. But certifications are not the end all and not necessary. Our field is one that a certification may set you apart from an equally qualified candidate but is not needed to succeed. I work for a very large software company and do most of the interviews for prospective candidates. Though i hold more than my share of certifications i / we do not require them. If you are good, know your stuff and can fit in, i could care less about your certification status. I have interviewed ccie's that i swear had someone else take the test for them, and have interviewed folks with not a single cert that i have hired. If you have the drive to succeed and the perseverance to chase it. You will eventually get there. Then you will find yourself in a place you can go take your ccnp for instance and not have had to study much at all. If you love networking, not because you think its going to make you alot of money, but love it because of what it is. You will find yourself successful down the road, just keep at it.