Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Cuyamaca College's Cisco Networking Academy offering 16-week certification program

Instructor Steven Grishkowsky and student William Simmerman
in the Cisco Networking Academy lab
Michael Kelsey was working at a local Starbucks when he enrolled at Cuyamaca College’s state-of-the-art Cisco Networking Academy en route to finding a new career. Today, he’s taken the hands-on training he received and put it to use as a networking consultant for a San Diego internet technology firm.

“I not only would recommend the Cisco Academy to others, but I have recommended it to others,” Kelsey said. “As a matter of fact, a co-worker of mine has gone through the academy as well.”

Cisco is a leader in the Internet’s infrastructure hardware, and the Cisco Networking Academy covers a combination of concepts to understand the foundations of how such systems work. The Cisco classes teach students how to design, build, troubleshoot, and secure computer networks for increased access to career and economic opportunities. The Cisco Networking Academy offers eight courses that begin with Introduction to Networks (CIS-201).

And starting this spring, the Academy is revising its curriculum to allow students to earn certification as an entry-level network technician within just 16 weeks.

The Academy is able to do that by condensing the schedule for the first four courses in the Academy program from 16-week to 8-week classes beginning in the spring. After completing the first two courses – Introduction to Networks (CIS 201), and Routing and Switching Essentials (CIS 202) – students are ready for their initial Cisco certification and can begin working in their new career.

Academy graduates will not be confined to working with Cisco systems because the principles learned through the Cisco Networking Academy are applicable to virtually any other system.

“The goal of the Cisco Networking Academy is all about getting people the networking technology skills that can help them with a new career,” said Steve Grishkowsky, the academy’s lead instructor. “After two accelerated eight-week courses, our students will have enough information to go out and get a job as an entry-level network technician. There is a lot to learn in those 16 weeks, and you will be challenged, but our students are succeeding.”

Said student Haroun Khattab: “It’s a good environment, a very good lab, with good instructors who work with the students, and the tutors are also helpful.”

Introduction to Networks introduces students to the architecture, structure, functions, components, and models of the Internet and computer networks. The principles of IP (Internet Protocol), Ethernet concepts and operations are among the areas covered by the curriculum. By the end of the course, students will be able to build simple LANs, or Local Area Networks, perform basic configurations for routers and switches, and implement IP addressing schemes and basic network security techniques.

In Routing and Switching Essentials, students learn how to configure a router and a switch for basic functionality. By the end of this course, students should be able to configure and troubleshoot routers and switches and resolve common issues with various networks. Course material also expands on network security techniques introduced in CIS-201.

The third and fourth courses in the Cisco Networking Academy, advanced classes in routing and switching, also have been accelerated into eight weeks each.  Completion of those courses leads to further Cisco certification and even better-paying computer networking jobs. Network security is a focus in all classes.

Students should have little trouble finding work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that the number of computer network security analysts will skyrocket 37 percent from 2012 to 2022, which promises to push wages even higher as competition for the best and the brightest continues.

“We’ve had people come in here not knowing anything about networking systems and leave to get good jobs in the field,” Grishkowsky said. 
get good jobs in the field,” Grishkowsky said.
And no wonder. “We have probably one of the best-equipped Cisco labs south of Orange County,” said instructor Curt Sharon.

Courses are three units each and are taught at night. At $46 per unit, that means an eight-week course will cost $138 – or $276 for the two courses needed for an entry-level networking job. Registration for spring courses began Nov. 16.