Like a lot of things, I’ve procrastinated about doing CCNA too. Well when I finally decided it was time to do it, my first self assigned task was to find a professional institution to do the course from. If you know me personally you’ll know that this is a departure from my typical self learning style and a general rebellious attitude towards any kind of organized education system. But I’ve heard scores of stories of people being overconfident and attempting to clear this course on their own but after a number of failed attempts people generally wisen up. But given the current economic climate, I figured giving the exam multiple times at close to 13,000 a sitting wouldn’t suit my health too much. I might be headstrong and stubborn but believe me I’m not stupid. Well a cursory glance through the papers gave me 3 maybe 4 options, each with their own fancy advert and each quite visibly trying to sell his product, well this is totally fine, I mean its a free market and to each his own. But something about the extreme commercialness of these so called “professional institutes” put me off to the whole idea of joining a class. I mean its like everyone is having a print war on who has more Routers & Switches, nobody was really talking about the course and the structure. I even had the opportunity to speak to the “Center Director” of one of these places and he was trying to sell me Cisco, I had to literally stop him and say, “Dude, I’m enquiring about the CCNA course specifically so like ‘duh‘ I know what Cisco is” and he went on to tell me that his “institute” had a different approach, and that they gave their students “hands-on” experience on routers and switches. This kind of got me thinking, like I mentioned before I’m kinda allergic to classes, so I figured that I could buy a router of my own, or maybe run an emulator/simulator or something and learn it on my own. He then went on to say that there were places that had like a 100 students and they focused only on theoretical knowledge and immediately I caught on, if you ask me knowledge is only theoretical, practicals give you experience, and I was looking for the former, because I don’t need to pay anyone to get the later. I politely said I would get back to him, never intending to keep to my word. My next step was to ask my colleagues and acquaintances and one name that kept repeating without fail was Vagish Dwivedi. I learnt that he had classes in Matunga, so I set my mind to it, since I’ve had a very old connection to the place and it seemed like providence that the classes were located there. Interestingly this was starting to tickle my rebel attitude quite strongly, simply because even after searching almost every news paper and classified listing I could find no mention of this Vagish or his so called RST, I didn’t even know the expansion then. One of my friends told me that he had a number somewhere but unfortunately he didn’t respond, I’m glad he didn’t, it made the thrill of the search even more exciting. I then did something I should’ve done right at the beginning. “/facepalm”
I googled for CCNA classes in the Matunga area, and sure enough I found a website. It was pretty well organized, and thankfully after a good 20 minutes I found no mention of the number or type of routers or switches. I said to myself “Here’s a place that doesn’t need to sell itself, they’re so inaccessible it must be brilliant!” The truth is that a place like RST doesn’t need print ads or any kind of marketing at all is testimony of the quality of knowledge sharing. I quickly enrolled and gave myself a virtual “pat-on-the-back” for my efforts. I found out that a CCNA batch began the exact same day, unfortunately due to prior commitments I wasn’t able to attend but then I joined from the following day. When I reached the class I was quickly repenting everything I said in the 3 lines above this. It was a fairly large room with Speakers and benches, Lots of them! I figured there might be close to 50 people there, thats when I was proved wrong yet again! I filled out the form and learnt that I was the 113th person to enroll for this batch, I was trying to come up with a way to get out of this one with minimum damage. A little bit later, Mr Dwivedi arrives, If you know me you’ll know that I start forming an opinion about everyone, even if I don’t need to, He looked borderline weird, well I classify most people as that, including me ;) , then everyone wished him like we were in school “good morning sir” I was like wait on one dog gone minute! I hardly ever did that in school, let alone college and I am certainly not doing it now. The sheer fact that I was boxed in and the class had 120 odd people in it stopped me from walking out the same day. I’m glad! Sir then started teaching and instantly I was giving myself back-pats again. His attitude, manner of teaching, and expressing almost anything was exactly what I was looking for because it was exactly like me! I realized that here’s a guy who actually knows what he’s talking about! Anybody who’s attended his classes will agree that his personality is so magnetic and he just has a way of routing the information straight to your brain. In the industry we have a term “Baap” literally means father. Someone who knows everything there is to know about a topic is said to be a Baap of the topic. I would have initially found this hard to admit but Mr Vagish Dwivedi truly is the Baap of networking! Anyways I’m about to give my CCNA exams in a couple of days as of this post so I’ll keep you updated.
May the Force be with you!