I've been looking for a training provider so I can achieve one of my long term goals of CCNA (and eventually CCNP+ certification) and I've come across a huge range of providers and courses. These range from a 5 day cram course for £295+VAT to heavily structured long term courses costing over £1000. Most of these do not include the actual certification exam fees, so they really are just a preparation course leaving you to arrange your own exams.
What I'm wondering is how effective one of these extremely short cram courses can be? I would assume that you'd need to have a very high level of knowledge already for it to be effective, because information that is crammed in so quickly can be used to pass an exam, but how long it can be retained to be of any use is questionable.
I know that anecdotally, the certification is only really prized when it is backed by experience, and learning at a slower pace, taking time to really grasp the concepts and making use of labs to put the concepts into practice would seem to be a better option to me.
So far, the Open University course at £850 for a 9 month, 12 hours a week course seems to be reasonable value, especially if you fall into a category where you may get government help, or if your employer is willing to help with costs.
However, it would be nice to see a comparison between the pass rates between the different course types, and how many candidates from each course type actually go on to use their certification in real life scenarios. It would also be useful to learn which candidates would be more sought after by companies, the fast-track or slow and more structured students.