One very helpful community is The Cisco Learning Network. In this community I am learning a lot by just reading threads. The members of this community are a mix of people like me who are aiming for a Cisco certification and people who are experts in this field. Many of the questions of members in the community’s forums are like the questions playing in my mind. The answers and advises from expert members are like beacons that help guide those who are in the dark. I have read one thread started by someone who posed a very broad question. He was asking this question : How to prepare for CCNP. He got 38 useful replies. Those 38 replies from experienced members also helped me because I have more or less the same question in my mind as the guy who started that thread. The interaction between the experts and those who are learning is very helpful to both sides because both sides learn.
In a world that breathes technology, a career related to technology could get you to the top. Now that I am preparing for a Cisco certification I try to grab all the opportunities to learn and equip my self for the exam. I read a lot and have actually accumulated quiet a number of books that I believe could help me in achieving this important goal I have set for my self. But I know that reading books and self study are not enough to guarantee a smooth ride to a Cisco Certification. I must have other sources of knowledge. Aside from actual experience working in the field with people who have Cisco certification, joining forums and communities is of help also because there are many real life situations that are not covered in the books that could be opened in discussions.