A conversation with Cisco Networking Academy

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Sheridan has partnered with Cisco, one of the largest network providers in the world, to offer the Certified Cisco Network Associate (CCNA) program through its Faculty of Continuing and Professional Studies.  

We spoke with Wadih Zaatar, Area Manager for Cisco Networking Academy for Canada, to learn more about the Sheridan-Cisco partnership, and how Sheridan students can become prepared to write the Certified Cisco Network Associate exam.


Q: Can you tell me a little bit about Cisco Networking Academy?

Wadih Zaatar: Cisco Networking Academy is a global (and the largest) educational initiative from Cisco Systems, offering networking programs, like the (Cisco Certified Network Associate) CCNA and (Cisco Certified Network Professional) CCNP courses, which prepare students for the certification exams of the same name, as well as other IT-related courses.

Since its launch in 1997, it has expanded to Canada (1998) and then worldwide reaching 9,500 partners and over one million students in 170 countries.


Q: How did Cisco come to partner with Sheridan?

Wadih Zaatar: I introduced the program to a few faculty members at Sheridan some time ago. Shortly after, we initiated the process of getting the college on board to become a Cisco Networking Academy. Sheridan College is now a fully accredited Cisco Networking Academy that is able to deliver this portfolio of courses under the Faculty of Continuing and Professional Studies.


Q: Why did you think that Sheridan would be a good partner for Cisco to deliver its curriculum?

Wadih Zaatar: I was always interested in a partnership with Sheridan: First and foremost, Sheridan is a well-known, established and academically respected institution. In addition, we have a great working relationship with the college for a Cisco Canada perspective.

We’ve also had the opportunity to work with some of the students and professors from Sheridan last year, during the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. Since we were the Premier Partner and the Official Information and Communications Technology Provider for the games, we had a big contingent of Networking Academy students from 25 institutions in Toronto engaged as technical volunteers supporting the games. And because of that very good relationship that we have with Sheridan we invited some Sheridan students to participate. All our volunteers (including the Sheridan College students) performed very well during the games!


Q: What would the benefits to students be for taking their Cisco program at Sheridan?

Wadih Zaatar: Plenty of them, to cite just a few:

  1. They get access to a curriculum that is being updated constantly (every 18-24 months to make sure that the students are working with the latest and the greatest).
  2. Since Sheridan is planning to teach certification-aligned, students will be prepared to sit for the corresponding professional certification exam (Example: CCENT or CCNA).
  3. Because of the college’s accreditation as a Cisco Academy, every student in good standing will also be able to get a discount voucher for these certification exam.
  4. Access to equipment: One of the key differentiators with the Cisco Networking Academy program is that it provides a 50/50 curriculum model — Students that take a course at a Cisco Networking Academy would spend 50% of the time learning the theory, the concepts, etc. and the other remaining 50%, they will be working with real equipment that provide them with the indispensable hands-on experience needed to prepare them for the job market.
  5. Besides the instructor-led courses, students have the opportunity to self-enrol in a variety of courses: operating systems, networking, cybersecurity, digital foundations, programming, etc… All accessible since they are part of the program.
  6. Finally, students will also get lifetime access to our learning management system, allowing them to come back at a later stage of their career for a refresh or even to check out new courses!


Q:   Is there anything that you would like to add or you think is important for people to know about the Sheridan-Cisco partnership or anything we’ve talked about?

Wadih Zaatar: We’re aiming for a successful partnership with Sheridan, working together to empower students with the necessary skillset to land a great job and a rewarding career.


Sheridan’s Faculty of Continuing and Professional Studies (FCAPS) offers the CISCO Certified Networking Associate program. Visit caps.sheridancollege.ca for more information on how Sheridan can help you on the path to a successful networking career.

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