Check for aid at work and school: If you already have a
professional job, check with Human Resources on the aid they can provide.
Some companies may help pay for training classes, materials, and
certification costs. Additionally, see if they have memberships to
organizations that offer resources or discounts. If you are in school, check
with your college to see if they offer any financial assistance or similar
membership benefits to societies, organizations, or digital collections.
Subscribe to Safari Books Online: This is great if you are a book
worm and don't care to join societies or associations that provide partial
access to Safari, or you desire complete access. However, they don't just
offer books. You'd also be able to access training videos, review short cut
documents, preview upcoming titles, and search through technical articles.
Their over 8,000 books in digital format are from
numerous publishers, including O'Reilly Media, Addison-Wesley, Peachpit
Press, Cisco Press, and Wiley. However, before you subscribe, you can always
search or browse through the content and see what titles are offered. Then
to get a real taste of what they offer, you can sign up for their
10-day free trail. If
you choose to continue you can select the $42.99 a month unlimited access
option, or opt for the limited $22.99 or $9.99 a month options.
Google for resources: Of course, you can always scour the web to
find free resources. You might want to search for practice
exams on the certification you desire, in addition to general content.
Practice tests can give you an idea on whether or not you're ready to take the real deal.
After you've studied for tech certs
If you haven't found out yet, you'll probably soon see that the cost of
taking the exam you've studied so much for could be more than the amount you've
invested in preparing for it. As Ive already touched on, be sure to check with your
work and school on any help they can provide. If you haven't already, you'll also
discover that real hands-on experience trumps certifications and degrees. Thus
I'll leave you a few final ideas on how to get real-world experience:
- Explore internships to get training and experience.
- Start with entry-level jobs if needed.
- Take classes at a community college and explore the possibility of using financial aid.
- Volunteer your time and expertise for any organizations you belong to.
- Try hardware/software simulators if you can't get your hands on the real
Eric Geier is an author of
many computing and networking books, including Home Networking
All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies (Wiley 2008) and 100 Things You
Need to Know about Microsoft Windows Vista (Que 2007).