Practice makes perfect, right? And even better is hands-on practice. One of the best ways to really test your knowledge and skills is to set up your own lab environment… and go wild! Using a home lab or lab simulation platform enables you to test ideas out without having to worry about “breaking” something or invest in brand new equipment.
We asked trainer Keith Barker, who has created several hands-on prep courses for CBT Nuggets, about his top five reasons he thinks that working in a lab environment is important to your training.
1. Using your own lab allows for trial and error before touching a production network.
2. You can increase your skills in regards to implementing, verifying, and troubleshooting a network topology.
3. It’s cost-efficient. Cisco physical hardware isn’t required to practice, by using the GNS3 emulator on your local computer. (For more about GNS3, watch Keith’s “GNS3 1.x Fundamentals” course!)
4. Bringing up a network topology in a virtual environment never gets old!
5. Competition for jobs is intense, and the practice you do now could be the difference between employers hiring you instead of someone else.
Using Cicso’s network simulation platform, VIRL, is great way to practice designing, setting up, and configuring Cisco networks. And guess what? We’ve got training to get you up to speed with VIRL, thanks to Anthony Sequeira!
Virtual labs also are a great way to get hands-on experience. A number of CBT Nuggets courses have virtual labs (available to Premium subscribers) associated with them, but you can make your own, too.
Keith and Jeremy Cioara created video tutorials about how to set up home labs. You can find Jeremy’s video on how to build a CCNA home lab here, Keith’s video on how to build a CCNA Security virtual lab here, and Keith’s video on Juniper Emulation via VirtualBox here.
So get out there and lab IT up!