IT skills and Career Building

Courses that prepare students with IT skills for the future digital economy

Supported by Cisco

What is this?

Cisco Networking Academy is an educational platform offering courses that provide IT Skills essential for companies and for future workers to develop the digital economy.

Cisco Networking Academy is a programme to train and teach about IT skills and career building for learning institutions and teachers, instructors and educators all around the globe. More than 6 million people have joined the Networking Academy since 1997.

Structure of the programme

The online Networking Academy programme is delivered on a learning platform, in collaboration with learning institutions. Cisco Networking Academy encompasses a curriculum, a learning platform, and material to help teachers and educators. The role of learning institutions is to provide trainers, equipment, and making sure students register.

Cisco Networking Academy resources includes:

·        Interactive content designed by experts in technology and education

·        Practical labs and online activities connected to real-world application of the IT skills developed in the course

·        Cisco Packet Tracer, a tool that simulate the configuration of network, that can support teaching, gaming, and collaborative learning

·        Guidelines for teachers and instructors, forums, and professional development support

·        Online assessments that teachers can use to evaluate their students with embedded activities, simulations, questions, and examinations based on performance

Who is it for? 

Cisco Networking Academy is targeted at educators, employers, and technology experts to create courses that prepare students for the future.

·        More than 9500 educational institutions use this curriculum to enhance their academic and career development programs.

·        Employers worldwide recognize the quality of the Cisco Networking Academy curriculum in preparing students for entry-level IT jobs.

·        More than 1 million students participate each year, and 1.3 million students obtained new jobs between 2005 and 2014.

What are the strengths and opportunities?

The Cisco networking academy courses is a good support for teachers to teach technical competencies and some soft skills like critical thinking and problem solving. This learning activity link very well with STEM career attractiveness. The skills students will develop have been identified as the one needed in sectors where new jobs emerge.

These online resources are good material to integrate in classroom teaching, provide material to apply the skills using practical applications and are good preparation for third level studies and other type of certifications.

Another advantage is that the courses are either self-paced (studied in-group or individually) or instructor-led, and are available online. Teachers can use various pedagogical materials including lectures, practical exercises, hands-on labs, quizzes and tests.

The domain covered by the courses includes basic IT skills and computer science but also introduction to more advanced domains like Cyberscurity and Internet of Everything. Here are some examples of courses:

  • IT Essentials, for the beginners in IT, to learn how computers and mobile devices work from both theoretical and practical side
  • Get Connected, is a course for beginners, an induction on computer education with training on Microsoft Windows applications, Internet search, email, social networks and issues related to hardware and software.
  • Intro to the Cybersecurity, most common risks that could threaten every-day life of students - healthcare, banking or telecommunications - and what actions need to be taken in order to reduce them.
  • Intro to the Internet of Everything (IoE), basic knowledge about the evolution of networks and development of the Internet technologies. Tight connections between data, people and processes are discussed in context of information science.

Tips and tricks

The Cisco Networking Academy courses are very good teaching resources that can be complemented with career orientation events at local level in your schools. We invite you to organise these events during the most appropriate moment of the school year according to your schedule and context. That being said, the STEM Alliance will strongly encourage teachers to run the event during one of the school campaigns of the STEM Alliance to ensure better visibility of your activity. The two annual campaigns are:

-        The STEM Discovery Week celebrating innovative STEM teaching and strong collaboration between schools and companies, an occasion to reward the most innovative teacher and school. This campaign will take place each year on the last week of April. Professional from Cisco and other companies will be invited to go back to school during the special week and to participate to the local events organised by teachers.

-        The STEM Discovery back to school campaign organised online in the autumn to renew the engagement of schools and industry into innovative STEM education and on the career challenges.

Career orientation events can take the form of a half to an entire day marathon on job attractiveness were students have the challenge to reflect on how IT can change the future. Proposed activities:

  • As a preparatory activity, use the CISCO networking academy courses as a support to IT teaching and introduction to domains like the cybersecurity and the Internet of Everything that have a lot of potential in the future.
  • On the career orientation event, create students groups and make them invent a job that will contribute to change the world with IT applications. The idea is to bring students to think about the kind of problem (societal challenges, environment, space exploration, etc...) they would like to solve in their future jobs using technology.
  • When they have identified a challenge they would like to address, they should make some research on the domain of activity tackling this issues and look for current jobs existing in this/these sector(s) - scientists, engineers, IT professionals, marketing professions, etc..
  • While they have agreed on a profession - existing or that they believe should be invented or will appear in the future - make them describe the skills needed to do this job.
  • To help students figure out the content of this IT jobs, and the skills needed (technical and soft skills), invite a professionals from a local company or university to share about his/her career. This can be done online or as a visit from the professional in the class. STEM Alliance can help organise this type of collaboration with the online activities the initiative proposed and the STEM Professionals going Back to School scheme.
  • As a result, will create a profile job and the contribution this activity will bring to the society. The work of the students should be done using ICT tools like digital publishing tools, small animation apps, etc. They will be encourage to think of the impact technology has on the society and the grand challenges (ageing society, environmental issues, global health, etc.) they would like to contribute to solve with their future work activity.
  • Finally disseminate the result of this event with your students for example creating a mock-up of the career orientation day they had at school with pictures and/or videos.