• I finished and passed my CWNA exam, so I thought I'd answer a few questions that I had when I first started ... for the benefit of anyone new who might have similar questions.

    Why did you take the course?

    Just to calibrate, I'm a firmware engineer for a company that makes access points, and even though I had a few years of experience I wanted to round out my knowledge from the perspective of someone who is "up to their elbows" in day to day wireless problems ... wireless network administrators.

    Some people might think that certification as an administrator for someone who is had worked with the firmware (in my case, OpenWrt) was frivolous, but I say it was not.

    My primary objective was to round out my knowledge ... the certification was a 'bonus'

    Of the overall content, I would say about 30-40% was new to me. Firmware types like me typically don't work with antennae, we typically don't work with cabling or PoE, nor do we work with post-deployment validation, among other things.

    How did you go about the coursework?

    I initially got my study guide and dug in. At around Chapter 5, I decided to include the on-line lessons with my study. My approach was to view the on-line lesson, take notes and the on-line quiz, the move to the study guide and read, take notes and take the review quiz.

    I also generated copious 3 x 5 "flash cards" to study on my daily bus commute to work. Maybe that sounds like going overboard, but I am pretty serious about wireless.

    So ... how long did it take?

    I started at a tough time ... shortly before Christmas, so I wasn't able to keep to my original objective of a chapter every two days.

    All in all, I believe I probably invested about four hours per chapter (total) over about 3 weeks, which would bring me to around 52 hours total for the course ... but then I'm hard core.

    What would you recommend?

    I think that for me, the on-line course was well worth it ... if it's within your budget that is.

    If you can afford the on line course, it's has benefits because I can pause the on line course while I take notes on what was just said. I ended up with about 4-5 pages, single side, of notes for each on-line chapter and about 5 pages for each study guide chapter. So ... I have a LOT of notes which will come in handy when it's time to re-certify.

    My approach of 'watch the on-line course, take notes ... read the study guide, take notes ... write a few flash cards' paid off. For me the on-line course gave me the essentials, and the then study guide was the 'deep dive'

    So ... was it hard to do?

    I grew up with a love of computers and radios ... so the overall topics were fascinating so it wasn't a burden to do the course work.

    After passing my certification test, I signed up for CWSP, and I bought the full package with study guide and on-line course which saves me some money.

    Anyhow ... when I first started the CWNA course I wondered about all these things ... and now that I know, I thought I'd share in case someone else was curious about these same things.

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