We just started running the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) courses in our new Cisco Networking Academy programme. CCNA is just one of the many Cisco Career Certifications which are quite valued in the workforce. It’s quite a helpful piece of paper for fresh graduates to better market themselves when they look for their first job. Definitely more valuable than certifications like MCSE, although of course the certifications are not about the same things.
The Cisco Networking Academy programme seems to be fairly successful. They train nearly 600K students in over 160 countries every year. The online academy portal is superb. I’ve never seen anything as comprehensive as what the Cisco Networking Academy offers. It’s not just the learning environment for students, but also the support systems for teaching and administrative systems for running the academy.
The learning environment is very comprehensive. Students can learn the course materials through a Flash-based system that provides diagrams, explanations, animations, video clips and quizes. Powerpoint presentation slides are provided for in-person classroom teaching. Lab manuals, virtual lab (“Packet Tracer”) manuals, activity files, etc are also available to complement the teaching. Finally there is also online continual assessments and final exams. It leaves very little additional preparatory work for the instructors to do.
Yes, even the certificates (pictured above) are generated online. Instructors print out the certificates themselves, sign, and hand them out to their students. Cool!
There are 4 modules in the CCNA Exploration programme which are designed to lead towards CCNA certification testing. We’ve just completed the first 2 modules. CCNA is actually pretty easy materials. “Easy” still means studying is required of course. It is easy, but not that easy. That’s what makes it more valuable.
Not many students, however, know to take advantage of opportunities to make themselves more marketable. Maybe they don’t care, there are too many fun things that they are busy with to be bothered with extra curricular learning programmes. I find it like a reversal of roles. Once upon a time I was probably like these students. Now, I’m trying to explain about making oneself stand out better than thy fellow graduate.