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Role of Vendor Technologies in the Development of Network Professionals Mak Sharma and Sharon Cox School of Computing, Telecommunications and Networks.

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Presentation on theme: "Role of Vendor Technologies in the Development of Network Professionals Mak Sharma and Sharon Cox School of Computing, Telecommunications and Networks."— Presentation transcript:

1 Role of Vendor Technologies in the Development of Network Professionals Mak Sharma and Sharon Cox School of Computing, Telecommunications and Networks

2 Certification is a Key Requirement of Employers, Demonstrating a Level of Knowledge Competency. Junior Networking and Security Analyst Requires: “Technical or other degree, CCNA - a plus … Good Knowledge of Cisco product configuration”. Graduate Network Engineer Requires: “Higher education (e.g. computer science) or equivalent education experience … You must have CCNA” Certification is an Internally Recognized Level of Attainment. “Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) validates the ability to install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot medium-size route and switched networks, including implementation and verification of connections to remote sites in a WAN” Source:

3 Key Issue: How to Prepare Undergraduate Students for their First Post as a Network Professional?

4 Vendor Academies are: Partnerships between universities and vendors to create a learning environment within which university students can gain practical experience and develop the technical skills sought by employers. Example of vendors offering academy partnerships include: – Cisco: involved/become-an-academy involved/become-an-academy – Microsoft: riculum-resources/IT-academy/the-programme.aspx riculum-resources/IT-academy/the-programme.aspx

5 Vendors Provide: Access to vendor resources including: – Online teaching resources (e.g. practical exercises, self assessment exercises, lesson plans, remote access to equipment, serious games). – Practitioners using: Proprietary tools such as MicrosoftLync (Microsoft), Webex (Cisco). FAQ, email and instant messaging. Web 2.0 technologies (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds).

6 Key Issue: How to Integrate Vendor Resources into the Academic Curriculum and Maintain Academic Standards?

7 Academics Identify two modules in the academic programme (in different years of study). Each module involves 24 weeks of study and has 30 credits associated with it. Map vendor resources to the intended learning outcomes. Integrate vendor resources with academic teaching resources and assessments.

8 Role of Certification Academic programme using vendor resources prepares students to sit certification exam. Students usually complete their academic degree before taking the certification exam. But, only 10% of students choose to take the certification exam. Further research is needed to find out why so few students take the exam.

9 Challenges for Universities Challenges of industry-academic partnerships relate to at the: – Macro level of organizational policy. – Meso level of community of practice. – Micro level of interpersonal relationships.

10 Macro-Level Challenges for Universities What are the benefits for both partners? With which vendors should academies be established? What are the objectives of the collaboration? What are the critical success factors of the relationship? What are the core competencies of the vendor that can enhance the academic curriculum?

11 Meso-Level Challenges for Universities How to incorporate vendor resources into course and module design without comprising the core academic values of higher education? How to provide student access to proprietary equipment within the physical ICT infrastructure of the University and in accordance with the University’s ICT usage and security policy? How to ensure equipment and software can be supported by the University’s ICT technicians? How to enable academic staff to complete the vendor certification required to use the vendor resources in their teaching and maintain their level of certification? How to provide appropriate time allowance to staff to for the administration of associated with vender resources (e.g. booking timeslots to access remote equipment)?

12 Micro-Level Challenges for Universities How to motivate staff to gain and maintain their vendor certification required by the academies? How to ensure staff stay up to date with new technologies? How to encourage staff to embrace new ways of teaching offered by the vendor resources? How to ensure staff balance vendor specific training within the context of critical evaluation of wider theories?

13 Student Views A survey of 225 graduates suggests that use of vendor resources helped them gain employment. Almost half of the respondents felt they were not employed in the general areas of their studies. The use of vendor resources: – Does not limit a graduate to jobs using a specific vendor’s technology. – Does demonstrate technical aptitude that can be applied to other products and services.

14 Areas of Further Work Why do so few students take the certification exam after graduating? What is the role of certification in career progression? – As graduates move to their second employer. – As network professionals seek promotion. Can the experience of working with vendor academies be transferred to other fields to improve industry-academic collaboration?

15 Summary Vendor academies facilitate access to a wide range of vendor resources which can add value to academic programmes. The use of vendor resources in the curriculum prepares students for certification specified in graduate job adverts. Graduates who used vendor resources in their education believe it helped them gain employment, but may not necessarily be working with the specific vendor technology used in their course. Incorporating vendor resources in the design of the curriculum requires challenges at the macro, meso and micro level to be addressed.

16 Final Thoughts: The success of using vendor resources is primarily dependent on the willingness of staff to address the challenges of embedding vendor resources into the curriculum. It requires significant personal commitment of staff to achieve and sustain their own certification required by vendors.

17 For More Information, Please Contact: Mak Sharma: Sharon Cox: School of Computing, Telecommunications and Networks Birmingham City University Millennium Point Birmingham B4 7ET United Kingdom

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