Free Training from Cisco Networking Academy
Cisco called on me earlier this week to conduct a telephone interview about the company's Networking Academy program. I've been following those efforts for years, of course, because they represent Cisco's primary training and certification outreach into the secondary and post-secondary education markets — primarily, high schools, community colleges, and regular colleges and universities (mostly at the undergrad level).
What I didn't realize, however, was that Cisco also makes ALL of its self-paced "netacad" (as they like to abbreviate the program's name in conversation and on the website) courses available to the general public for free. As far as I can tell that means all courses labeled as "Beginning" in the classificiation system that divides courses up into Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced levels in the Networking Academy.
These include at least the following items:
Get Connected (Learn Basic Computer Skills)
The other Networking Academy classes are available to the general public as well. If they're offered online, one can take them for free as such. To take them in a classroom setting, that must be coordinated with the Networking Academy institutions that offer them.
In my own immediate environs of Austin, Texas, for example, that means that adults typically do not attend such classes at any of the local high schools where they're offered as part of their curricula. Instead, adult learners must work with (and pay for) such classes as they're scheduled and offered at local community and regular colleges (which include the ubiquitous Austin Community College, or ACC, as well as numerous other community colleges and universities in the area).
In more rural areas, it may be possible to make arrangements with local high schools to attend Network Academy training on a case-by-case basis. You'll have to inquire to find out if campus and school board policies allow such access.
Because the number of online elements in the Networking Academy curriculum appears to include all of the beginning classes and at least some of the many intermediate classes — all of the advanced classes I sampled were classroom only — this is one of the great unsung training bargains in the virtual world.
I encourage you to check this stuff out today, if only to turn on younger family members, students you know, or more junior colleagues who could benefit from this free and excellent collection of training materials. Shoot, you might find some of this material useful yourself. Great stuff!