ASK THE EXPERT
I want to enroll for a course in Certified Computer Network Associate (CCNA) or Cisco Certified Network Professional Programme (CCNPP). What do these courses really involve? Enlighten me about the career opportunities available.
- Martyns Orech
these courses are essential in computing and information technology (CIT), especially in managing computer networks. They were developed and are run by Cisco Systems Inc., the leading supplier of networking equipment and network management of the Internet.
Although they lead to certificate awards, both programmes contribute to content for degree courses like bachelors of IT, computer science and engineering.
Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, the Makerere University vice chancellor and former dean of the faculty of computing and information technology, says CCNA equips students with skills of using various protocols to install and configure Cisco switches and routers in local and wide-area networks. Students also learn how to provide troubleshooting services and improving IT network performance and security.
This involves designing measures to protect company or personal IT networks. Specifically, the measures protect the usability, reliability, integrity, and safety of the network and data. Students learn how to target a variety of threats and stop them from entering or spreading into the network.
Deborah Natujuna who heads Cisco programmes at the faculty says an Oâ€™ level certificate and basic computer skills, are the minimum academic requirements for admission.
She says the course is 70% practical and all taught contact time is in the laboratory. It is mainly conducted online and takes six months, split into four Cisco semesters, each lasting 240 hours. The course teaches proper care, maintenance and use of networking software tools and equipment. However, Natujuna warns that resolving network problems requires a lot of decision-making and problem-solving techniques.
Assessment is also continuous during the course and only those who complete all the four modules are eligible for the certificates.
In Uganda, tuition fees for CCNA ranges between sh250,000 and sh450,000.
CCNP, on the other hand, builds on the CCNA with more complex network configurations, diagnosis, and troubleshooting. Natujuna says the course targets students interested in improving their CCNA skills to become network administrators, Level 2 support engineers, Level 2 systems engineers, network technicians, or deployment engineers.
CCNP teaches advanced skills required to manage applications such as wireless internet, security, voice and broadband technologies. It also teaches students to install, configure, monitor, and troubleshoot network infrastructure equipment.
At Makerere, sh555,000 is charged as tuition for CCNP. But Natujuna says the program is designed for CCNA graduates. This means you are ineligible for CCNP unless you study CCNA first.
Baryamureeba says the courses provide the skills students need to pursue IT networking careers. They support successful careers in network design & administration, technical support, programming, and software engineering. With the mushrooming ICT sector, Natujuna says banks, NGOs, government agencies and other companies would employ CCNA and CCNP graduates as network administrators.
Compiled by Francis Kagolo
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