Milton Keynes, 12 March 09: In these times of economic uncertainty, the Open University is encouraging all IT professionals to enhance their skills and knowledge to ensure employability in a volatile employment market.
The Open University is integrally involved in providing world-standard, employer-respected skills to thousands of IT professionals each year and now has the largest and fastest growing Cisco Academy in the UK.
Cisco Systems are worldwide market leaders, supplying networking equipment for the internet - to large, medium and small organisations as well as the home user.
An industry standard in networking and telecommunications, Cisco qualifications are available at undergraduate and postgraduate level through the Open University.
Following the success of the undergraduate Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) accredited courses, the Open University is launching postgraduate courses based on the Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP) syllabus. These will allow students to learn skills in WAN security techniques, VPNs, and hardening Cisco routers, managing multilayered switched systems, VoIP and Quality of Service.
The first new course, on Advanced Routing, develops practical skills including Intermediate System to Intermediate System (ISIS), Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), route optimisation, IP multicasting and address management, delivered online via a virtual learning environment. This prepares students to take the Building Scalable Cisco Internetworks (BSCI) certification. The other three Cisco-accredited courses cover Implementing Secure Converged Wide Area Networks (ISCW), Building Cisco Multilayer Switched Networks (BCMSN) and Optimizing Network Technologies (ONT).
According to Open University academic Brendan Quinn, the key benefits of studying through the OU are that students can learn practical skills employers greatly value, and can also credit their individual courses towards a postgraduate award – and of course our supported open learning allows students to plan their study to suit their other commitments.
“If you successfully complete these four CCNP courses, you are entitled to a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Networking. Completing one more project course leads to the MSc in Advanced Networking,” Quinn said.
For students who may not have formal IT qualifications, there are no entry requirements into diploma courses, which is another benefit of an Open University Cisco qualification, according to Quinn.
“The OU’s award-winning supported open learning approach, allows people working in industry to study flexibly for formal qualifications to help them advance or secure their career,” Quinn said.
“In the current economic climate, improving qualifications and skills is more vital than ever to help both employees and employers to stay competitive in the globalised market,” Quinn said.
Cisco Systems is proud to be associated with the Open University as part of the internationally recognised academy programme.
“Cisco systems is a world leader and known for its innovative approach to education, as is the Open University. Therefore our association with the UK’s largest university seems obvious,” Cisco Networking Academy Program Manager UK & Ireland, Dr Jane Lewis said