Cisco Networking Academy
The 8,000 Pound Networking Gorilla
Cisco Corporation is a very large multinational technology company that makes networking gear such as routers, switches and Voice over IP (VoIP) equipment. Additionally, Cisco has their own proprietary software that runs on said switches, routers, and VoIP telephony gear.
Cisco has long been involved in a certification testing process that grants people who pass their exams the distinguished Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification.
Actually, there are five categories of certification levels, each of which carries with it one or more certifications one can earn. 'Tis a huge and elaborate (ahem) network of certs.
To train people in Cisco products, the company invented Cisco Networking Academy, a distance-learning portal that helps high school and college students learn about Cisco products and associated technologies, the end result of which would be to successfully sit for and pass one's CCNA.
At the high school level Cisco Networking Academy consists of four basic courses:
- IT Essentials - This course is somewhat similar to A+ in that it covers the basics of computer hardware and software.
- CCNA DIscovery - This course goes over basic networking theory.
- CCNA Exploration - Goes into a little more depth than Discovery and provides an advanced view of networking concepts.
- CCNA Security - This is the capstone of the CCNA training, teaching students how enterprise-sized networks are put together and includes such topics as security, wireless and VoIP applications.
Each Cisco Networking Academy course is one semester long and includes the course material, section quizzes, practice exams, and mid-term and final exams as well as lots of practical hands-on assignments that students can carry out. Additionally, Cisco Networking Academy requires that you use a tool they developed called Packet Tracer. This is a laboratory simulation tool that allows you to create networks, fire them up, and watch them work, all from a computer screen. Very cool!
Thus, a junior who is diligent in their studies could conceivably walk out the door at graduation day with a CCNA certification (YUGE!!)
Students who successfully pass a course are given a letter and a certificate by Cisco Corporation.
You will find that your A+ and Network+ TestOut studies will juxtapose nicely with Cisco Networking Academy.
Cisco Networking Academy is not mandatory, but is available for all Computer Science and Cybersecurity students.
If you participate in the U.S. Air Force Association cybersecurity competition called CyberPatriot you will automatically be enrolled in Cisco Networking Academy through them. However, you will also have access to Cisco Network Academy through our program at Warren Tech. If you are interested in networking, you must have the CCNA at some early point in your career!
You do not necessarily need to use Cisco Academy should you decide to pursue a CCENT certification. PluralSight has not one, but 14 courses on CCENT!