When we first started running foundation IT classes in 2011, it was only a ‘2-Cert’ program offering CompTIA A+ and Network+. These first few 2-Cert program courses were well received by our students and provided them with a solid fundamental background to quickly enter the IT workforce. It wasn’t long after we launched our first 2-Cert program, that many of our graduates wanted to explore the world of information technology further, receiving even higher level training. It was at this point we decided to expand our program.
The question we then faced was, “What is the next logical step a student should take after our 2-Cert program?” After completing our CompTIA A+ and Network+ classes, a student still has a plethora of paths she/he may take to dive deeper into information technology. We decided to play to our strengths and pursue the path of networking, specifically networking within a Cisco environment. We’ve been a Cisco Academy Support and Instructor Training Center for the Mid-Atlantic region since 2010. We were the first in the region to be recognized by Cisco in this capacity. We provide training and support to Maryland Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers who teach information technology in their respective schools. Access to this networking resource allowed us to add a Cisco network component into our program, now making it a 3-Cert program. We also invested heavily in procuring new state-of-the-art Cisco routers, switches, racks and a NETLAB+ server. The NETLAB+ server is an appliance with all software tools preloaded for academic institutions to host real lab equipment, virtual machines, and lab content for students. In 2013 we launched our first 3-Cert program with the newly added Cisco networking component. Like our 2-Cert program, it was met with great success.
We now offer 3-Cert programs in two formats where students can “choose their own adventure.” All of our 3-Cert students take the CompTIA A+ and Network+ portions of the program. At the end of Network+ they may choose to dive deeper into networking and pursue the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) track, or they may choose to pursue cybersecurity and select the CompTIA Security+ component. This new cybersecurity track gives students the opportunity to learn more about computer security and introduces them to topics like computer system risks and vulnerabilities, encryption and cryptography, data recovery, and forensics. The U.S. Department of Defense Directive 8570 (DoDD 8570) stresses the need for cybersecurity experts in today’s labor force – private and government sectors.
Our 3-Cert program has grown to not only meet the needs of our students, but also the needs of our workforce. We continue to provide high quality training and produce graduates ready for today’s workforce. Talk to a counselor today or request more information.