The Technology Management Lab in the College of Education and Human Development now houses the only Cisco Networking Academy in the Bryan/College Station area.
The Cisco Networking Academy is an IT skills and career building program that offers a high quality curriculum combining in-depth technical training and professional skills development. Courses range from computer basics to advanced networking and prepare students for globally-recognized certifications. More than five million people have joined the Academy and have become a force for change in the global economy since 1997.
Last month, Texas A&M’s Information Technology department made an in-kind donation to CEHD to help with the purchase of a new router, allowing the Technology Management Lab to bring up Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6.)
IPv6 is the most recent version of the communications protocol that provides identification for computers on networks and routes traffic across the internet. It became evident that there were not enough IPv4 addresses available to handle the rapid growth of the internet, so IPv6 was developed. It houses 3.4x1028 addresses.
IPv6 was the final step needed to bring the Cisco Networking Academy to CEHD.
“We’re excited about having this facility because we’re right at the forefront of everything that’s going on,” explained Dr. Robert “Trez” Jones, clinical assistant professor of technology management.
Students who enroll in the TCMG 476 Managing Tech Networks class will be able to earn the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification upon completion of the class.
“I think the biggest benefit is we’ll be able to give our students access to a whole new breadth and depth of facilities,” explained Dr. Jones. “They’re really excited about it over in Texas A&M’s Information Technology. There’s a real need for people that have that networking skillset and to be able to snatch them out of a program like this is great.”
Right now, the Academy is only available to students within the Technology Management degree program who are enrolled in TCMG 476. Dr. Jones is looking at the possibility of offering more advanced certificates, like the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certificate, in other courses in the degree program.
“This will help students get certifications that actually matter. All things being equal between two candidates, it’s that one extra skill that helps them stand out where someone else wouldn’t. The fact that they can say they went through a Cisco Networking Academy through their studies at Texas A&M is just an added bonus in their elevator pitch.”
Dr. Jones is also working to determine the potential for others on campus and in the community to be able to enroll and earn the certificates available through the Academy. The hope is to increase awareness of the technology management program not only to Texas A&M students but to others across the state.
“This not only helps acknowledge what we’re doing now but also legitimizes it. It’s a big deal to get an industry master like Cisco to come in and say we qualify to be an Academy location,” said Dr. Jones.
"CEHD is committed to increasing the quality of opportunities available in our technology management program,” explained Dr. Joyce Alexander, dean of the College of Education and Human Development. “This is one big step for the program and we are excited to support this growing program.”