Integrating IT certifications in networking courses: CISCO CCNA versls comptia network+

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Source of Publication

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings

Publication Date



Currently, industry and government need a workforce with the latest technical skills in order to remain globally competitive. Furthermore, there is a rising demand from industry for university and college graduates who also have acquired information technology (IT) certification. Community Colleges are increasingly offering IT certification programs as a mean to provide students with viable skills needed by the workforce. However, Universities are still reluctant to include IT certification into their curriculum. The IEEE and ACM recognize the importance of IT certifications and currently provide their members with over 800 online courses to help them prepare for certifications exam. In networking, there are two important IT certifications: the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) Network+. While the CCNA certificate is vendor specific, the Network+ certificate is neutral. The objective of this paper is to study the integration of IT certification goals into Network and Telecommunication courses in Information Systems. The IS 2002 model curriculum is used as a basis to develop IS curricula (http://www.acm.org/education/is2002 .pdf Y Furthermore, the IS 2002 model curriculum implements ABET (http://www.abet.org/criteria_cac. html) requirements for IS program accreditation, which include a course in network and telecommunications (IS 2002.6). Two prominent IT certificates are examined for integration into the IS 2002.6 course: CCNA and Network+. The objectives of the CCNA and Network+ certificates are examined and mapped into the network and telecommunication course topics. An introduction to Cisco Networking Academy, which is one approach used by universities and colleges for preparing students to take the CCNA exam, is provided. A comparison between the Cisco Academy and other alternatives to obtain the CCNA or Network+ certificate is discussed. CCNA and Network+ certification goals are also studied from several points of view including lab requirement, faculty certification needs, completion time, market demand and certification exam requirements. Network and telecommunication textbooks are reviewed in order to select the best textbook that covers both course and certification objectives. Finally, a course syllabus is developed to combine course topics and shows how various certification objectives are addressed in each topic. The syllabus also includes all course assessments, which include passing the certification exam in order to complete the course. It is anticipated that this study will help students, faculty, and college administrators determine the proper networking certificate for their undergraduate program and help instructors integrate the chosen certificate into their courses. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2006.


American Society for Engineering Education


Computer Sciences | Education


Engineering education, Information systems, Textbooks, Certification programs, Technical skills, Computer networks

Scopus ID


Indexed in Scopus


Open Access


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