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Program Benefits

Those who have been in IT for awhile and have looked at this program and course have shared with me their impressions. Included in those impressions were the benefits of the program and the final course. Here are some of the benefits of the Master of Integrated Networking program and Capstone Course:

  • This program addresses many of the top 10 problems with IT certification defined in the first article in this series.
  • It is scalable. Based on the amount of equipment available, this program can be scaled up or down depending on need.
  • It is flexible. It is geographically flexible to address industry needs. Those in the U.S. Midwest won’t to be the same as those in the UK.
  • This can be a cost-effective program when Virtualization (i.e., VMWare, Virtual PC, or XEN) is used in a manner that emulates a production setting.
  • This is a real world-oriented scenario. Integrated, not vendor dependent.
  • It is designed to be a hands-on, skills-oriented program; not one that pushes out paper certs.
  • A degree or certificate with vendor certifications is more appealing to potential employers when a candidate is looking for a good position.
  • It has a limitless lifecycle and is adaptable. This is my favorite benefit. It can be adapted to an environment that is cutting edge or one that is comfortable with older technologies that still work. The key focus of this credential is not to generate profit for a vendor's product, but to validate a candidate's skills within an integrated environment.
  • Universities have broader appeal and attract multivendor students with a degree and certificate.
  • Current and former certifications could easily be repurposed/repackaged for this type of certification. An MCP with NT 3.51 would be just as welcome as someone with the 2003 MCP.

    A Novell 3.12 CNA would be just as welcome as an OES CNA. If someone has an expired CCNA from 2004, s/he would be just as welcome as someone with the current CCNA. This is not a race to spend money on the latest and greatest, but an evaluation of one’s skills.
  • It would test in the final course (the capstone course—Master’s Project) a higher level of understanding and skill based on Blooms Taxonomy—higher-order knowledge and the application of that knowledge.
  • Students would not be accused of being a paper cert with the Master of Integrated Networking under their belts.
  • Colleges and universities would be the oversight folks requiring their instructors to be fully versed in all applicable technologies.
  • Vendors such as Microsoft, Novell, CompTIA, and Cisco (if they buy in)) could make this the program that transforms IT certification worldwide, giving credence and oversight to further development.
  • The workplace and HR folks have already requested this type of credentialing. Now they would have it.

Program Weaknesses

Just as there are strengths to this program there are also some obvious weaknesses that I see:

  • Professors have to teach toward vendor certifications (until now, most have not been required to do so).
  • Professors have to be more adaptable to the real world and not the isolation of academia. This is also a sticking point for vendor-based trainers who are book smart but not field smart. All trainers would have to be really in touch with the real world.
  • Trainers and professors would have to adapt pedagogical techniques that are attractive to students who want to get a good job.
  • There could be some equipment costs if a center or school wants to encourage students to use Cisco equipment. But other than that, with the use of virtualization this should be a minor point.
  • Major vendors would have to buy in somewhere along the line for this to not only grow legs but run!
  • HR folks and schools would have to be educated to its value (as I am doing now through this proposal).
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