Four-Course Program. Students should understand that the CCNA program includes a four-course curriculum sequence. Only those students intending to complete the entire sequence should enroll. Accordingly, it will be helpful if students considering the program have a realistic career interest that is based on personal experience with computers, as well as some knowledge of the industry and its demands.
Working Conditions. Computer network professionals are paid well for demanding, high-pressure work. Work outside the traditional 8AM to 5PM window is common, and system problems may necessitate unplanned work until problem resolution is achieved. Network staff may carry a pager and be "on call" outside the normal work day. Salary tends to be commensurate with level of responsibility and related job pressure. Achievement of professional prominence may require occasional job transitions as career opportunities arise, and it will surely require ongoing training to maintain technical currency and proficiency. You're never "done", but you're never bored!
Salaries. Career opportunities in the computer networking field are excellent, but press commentary may have fostered unrealistic salary and compensation expectations on the part of some students. The program prepares students to be entry-level technical professionals, and they should expect entry-level salaries. Representative Bay Area salary reports are available from Salary.com.
Certification. The program provides broad, college-level preparation for entry-level positions in computer network design, implementation, and support. The courses are not focused exclusively on CCNA exam preparation. Nevertheless, program graduates will be well-prepared to sit for the commercially-administered CCNA certification exam.
Abstract Material. The program covers exciting technologies and includes hands-on learning, but it is not all fun and glamour. There is a significant amount of theory which is presented at a high level of abstraction, especially in Semester 1. Quite a bit of memorization is required to pass the Cisco-mandated online exams, which sometimes include detailed and "picky" questions.
Student Readiness. Although there are no formal prerequisites for the program, we expect successful students will possess a range of skills and experience that assists them in mastering key requirements of the curriculum and online tests: