Free and cheap ways to study for IT certifications

Use these tips for finding inexpensive study resources and getting hands-on experience

For as long as there have been technology certifications, IT pros have debated their value. Some believe they're the key to a better job or paycheck, while others contend that they're often not worth the paper they're printed on. Still others say, essentially, " it's complicated."

This aim of this story is not to add to that debate. This story is for technology professionals who have already decided to pursue a certification, and who are looking for ways to do so without breaking the bank.

Because there's no denying it: Studying for and taking certification exams can be costly. Instructor-led classes often cost in "the thousands of dollars," notes Tim Warner, a 15-year IT veteran, technology writer and trainer at CBT Nuggets, which specializes in IT certification training. Even computer-based classes, which generally don't offer direct contact with the instructor, typically cost "in the hundreds of dollars," he adds.

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