Changes Align Computer Networking Program with Industry Trends

by Alana J. Mauger

The Montgomery County Community College Board of Trustees took action on May 20 to approve modifications to the College’s Computer Networking Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) and Certificate programs to better align them with industry trends.

“This is a career field with high demand in Southeast Pennsylvania so it is imperative that our graduates as well as returning information technology professionals leave here with the skills essential for career success or career upgrading,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president of Montgomery County Community College.

The demand for qualified network and computer systems administrators is projected to grow by 28 percent through 2020, faster than the average growth rate for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. Moreover, over 90 percent of all workers in this field are employed full time, and the median industry salary is $69,160.

Previously divided into two concentrations – Network Administration and Computer Support Specialist – the revised A.A.S. program condenses the curriculum into one defined student pathway: Computer Networking. The emergence of new technologies — such as internet connectivity, cloud computing and virtual computing – has made the data-centric communications skills taught in the Network Administration concentration mandatory for all employees in the field.

Additionally, students in the revised A.A.S. program will complete a new capstone experience, CIS 257: Network Planning, Project Management and Implementation, during which they will plan, design and implement network components of a Microsoft Server-based project. The capstone will combine skills that were previously taught in two separate courses, reducing the overall credits required for the degree from 63 to 60.

Students who graduate with an A.A.S. in Computer Networking are prepared with the knowledge and skills necessary to work as entry-level network engineers, administrators and computer support technicians. They are also prepared to take industry certification exams, such as A+, Network+, Microsoft MCP, Microsoft MTA, Security+ and Cisco CCNA.

Revisions to the College’s Computer Networking Certificate assure that it aligns with the A.A.S. degree in a stackable format that enables completers to easily transition into the degree program if they choose. The revised certificate also takes students through the entire Cisco training sequence to better prepare them to sit for the Cisco CCNA certification.

For more information about Computer Networking and Computer Science programs at MCCC, visit mc3.edu/academics.

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