Cisco Live comes once a year and many spend their entire training budget on it in the form of Cisco Learning Credits. To be honest, this used to drive me crazy. Why? Because I own a Cisco Learning Partner training company and those Cisco Learning Credits were designed to be used to purchase training from folks like me. In hindsight I realize the reason I felt that way is because of how I used Cisco Live. For me, Cisco Live wasn’t about the learning, it was about the interaction with my industry peers.
Things have changed since then. I’ve realized that Cisco Live is about a lot of things. It’s not just about the peer interaction, but it’s also about the learning. Let’s look at it this way…
One may have 20 CLC’s. That would equate to roughly about $2000.00. Currently you could enroll for a full conference pass at the rate of $1995 through 02/09/15
or 24 Learning Credits. If you were to come take a CCNA class with me it would run you $3695 or 36 CLC’s for 5-days of training with lab access. Obviously that’s more than a full conference pass at Cisco Live. But what do you get at Cisco Live?
Cisco Live calls training sessions “breakout sessions.” These breakout sessions vary in content and depth, ranging from the most entry level session to expert level. They also cover every discipline from Routing & Switching to Wireless, Data Center and Service Provider. Not only are the presenters pulled from the Cisco ranks, but some of the most distinguished trainers in the world are used as well as trusted partners and industry well-knowns. There are a ton of sessions as well, so if you are a jack of all trades and work in wireless, security, and data center, you can schedule your sessions to get the most bang for your buck. You can literally take a wireless session in the morning and in the afternoon hit an entry level data center session. You can even pay a bit extra and take a 4 or 8 hours technical seminar- perfect for CCIE candidates.
While the hand’s on sessions are not free of charge, they are available. 8-hour lab instruction and 4-hour lab instruction is available throughout the week for 1095 and 695 respectively. Again, by the time you count the cost, you’re probably just leveling out with a 5-day training class.
Networking with your peers is a constant at Cisco Live. You can spend hours engaging in conversations with one another on all the intricacies of data networking. Couches and tables are found all over the place. This is where Cisco Live brings together folks who may only communicate via the twitters for the entire year. I always look forward to this, and meeting with my pals like @Someclown , @Tonhe , @Fryguy and many others!
The World of Solutions
Vendors, vendors and more vendors! That’s the world of solutions. You could spend hours in here checking out all the products delivered by partners. If you’re into the marketing swag you could grab a bag and fill it a few times over. But seriously, some vendors put a lot of time into the booth and making it a place where you can really get some value. I’m not a fan of the booths that make you sit through a mic’d up 10 minute sales pitch, in fact I think they are worthless, but I do appreciate the ones with gear onsite and the willingness to show me the goods (and I don’t mean the booth babes).
There is so much more.
- the food
- the music
- the friends
- the customer appreciation event
- the social events
- the keynotes
- the recorded sessions made available afterwards (Cisco Live 365)
Here’s the Thing..
As I mentioned, I own a small training company and I’m more than happy to have you come to a 5-day CCNA class. But still, you can’t deny the value in Cisco Live. So here’s what I’m proposing. Use your training money to head over to Cisco Live this year. Find me while you’re there. The easiest way is via Twitter. When the times comes for you to spend some time in a 5-day class, regardless of the track of the level, just let me know and I’ll work with you on pricing even if it’s delivered by one of my partners. But don’t miss out on Cisco Live trying to choose between the two.
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