Frequently Asked Questions


What is the first Cisco course I must take?

The first course is BCS 208 Introduction to Networks (Cisco CCNA Semester 1) class. This course will give students the basics of networking. Look at the Cisco Academy CCNA Networking Program information or the Networking Track of the BS in Computer Programming and Information Systems. The other courses in the CCNA sequence are BCS 209, BCS 320, and BCS 321.

Are there any prerequisites for BCS 208 Introduction to Networks?


NOTE: Students must be very familiar with concepts of computers and computer technology, including having a basic understanding of operating systems.

Will completion of these Cisco courses alone prepare me for a job in Networking?

No, the area of networking is a very complex and sophisticated field. The Cisco Systems courses are designed to supplement other courses taken by students in the computer science and networking fields. INSTEP and Cisco Systems suggest that students continue their education towards a Bachelor degree. The four semesters of Cisco Networking Academy courses by themselves will not necessarily mean a student is ready for a job in networking. The Cisco courses do fill in a vital area of information needed in networking, but it is not the only knowledge and skills needed by employers. In other words, the Cisco courses by themselves will not make students job-ready, but along with other courses will help students prepare for entry-level positions in networking. (The Computer Systems department offers a Bachelor degree in Computer Programming and Information Systems with a Networking Track.)

What if I do not have a Bachelor degree or will not be getting one? Will these courses still prepare me for a job in networking?

Yes, these and other networking and system administration courses will help (see the next question). Someone without a BA or BS degree should take as many networking courses as possible and obtain other credible networking certifications. Most employers prefer that potential networking employees have a Bachelor degree in an IT (Information Technology) field but even a Bachelor degree in a non-IT field is helpful. A Bachelor degree usually tells an employer that the applicant has the ability to start and complete the tasks associated with reaching certain goals. Without a Bachelor degree, it is up to the applicant to let the employer know that he or she has the technical and non-technical skills, knowledge and abilities to be an important team player in the company. Regardless of one's educational background, attitude and enthusiasm can go a long way in an interview.

What other courses do you recommend?

There are many courses and areas which will match well with the Cisco courses. The more you learn about networking, the more you will see there is a lot to learn and this will give you a better understanding of networking. Do you need all of these courses for your first job? No, but at some point in your networking career, you will be learning information pertaining to most of these areas. Farmingdale State offers some of these courses.

System Administration: (There are several courses in this area that students should take. See information regarding the various MCSE, Sun Microsystems, SAIR, and other certifications.)

  • Microsoft Windows MCSA or MCSE certification courses
  • Unix/Linux certification courses (SAIR or Sun Microsystems )

Networking and Telecommunications Courses

  • Data Communications and Telecommunications
  • Network Management
  • TCP/IP (including DNS, DHCP)
  • Network Operating Systems
  • Network Security

Other courses which can be very beneficial

  • Programming (C++, Perl, Java, PHP, CGI, etc.)
  • Algorithms (and any other Math courses, especially for those pursuing a BS degree in Computer Science or IT)
  • Electronics

Does INSTEP teach these classes so students can get jobs at Cisco Systems?

  •  Not directly. This program is not designed to prepare students for jobs at Cisco Systems, but as a piece of what they need to know to get a job in networking at any number of companies. Cisco, however, does have a program called the ASE/ASR program which students can apply for through Cisco.
  • The courses concentrate on router and inter-networking technologies, which is important information for anyone to know if they are considering a job in networking. Many company with networks and inter-networks will need people who understand router and inter-networking, system administration and other technologies.

What is the workload in these classes?


These classes are designed for students who are seriously interested in the field of computer networking. Students need to be committed to the amount of work required in these classes, both inside and outside of class. The courses are all 3-credit classes, which means extensive reading and homework assignments. Many of the topics in these courses are very complex and will require students to put in extensive time outside of class to grasp these subject areas. The classes are a mixture of lecture, simulation and hands-on equipment labs.

What are the names and course numbers of the CISCO CCNA classes offered at Farmingdale State?


Here is the CISCO curriculum series:

  1. BCS 208 Introduction to Networks
  2. BCS 209 Routing and Switching Essentials
  3. BCS 320 Scaling Networks
  4. BCS 321 Connecting Networks

Why does it take four semesters (minimum) through INSTEP to learn the information to help me pass the CCNA exam? I have noticed that some private training companies "prepare" me in as little as 5 days.


INSTEP's objective is not only to help you obtain your CCNA certification, but to help you develop the knowledge and skills to live up to that certification title. Each INSTEP CCNA course is up to 15 weeks in duration. We want to make CCNAs , not just people who can pass the CCNA exam. Private training companies are not only expensive, but rely mostly on rote memory and cram sessions to try and pass the exam. Often, most of the material is lost after the exam is taken.

When does INSTEP offer these courses? How many sections will be offered and what are the days and times?

Please check the Schedule of Classes.

How do I register for these classes and is there a sign-up list for these classes?


These classes are like any other Farmingdale State courses. Students will need to go through the regular admissions and registration process. There is no advance sign-up sheet.

Can I take these classes if I do not want to pursue a degree at Farmingdale State?


Yes. However, you must register first as a NON-MATRICULATED student with the Registrar in Laffin Hall.

Can I register on-line?


Yes, but you must be a matriculated or official non-matriculated student first, with your student information on file with the Registrar in Laffin Hall. Then you can register at in the course registration section.

What certifications do Cisco Systems offer and how do INSTEP courses fit in?

  •  The courses offered by INSTEP will help prepare students for the CCNA, Cisco Certified Networking Associates exam. This is the first level of Cisco certifications.
  • See for information regarding Cisco Systems certifications.

Do I have to take these courses before taking the CCNA exam?


No, anyone can take the CCNA exam. See Cisco's website for exam information.

What certification is after CCNA?


The next level of certification is CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional). See Cisco's website for exam and other information. The level after CCNP is the highly coveted CCIE (Cisco Certified Inter-networking Expert).

Are the Cisco courses offered by INSTEP sequential?


Yes, the four Cisco courses are four different semesters and must be taken sequentially, one after the other. Students must pass the previous course with a grade of at least a C to proceed to the next.

Will these courses count towards a Computer Programming and Information Systems Certificate/Degree?

  • Yes, these are now part of the BS CPIS Degree.

I am not sure if the computer networking is for me. What does someone need to do in order to succeed in this program?

  •  There are many ingredients to succeeding in this field, but there are two important suggestions we have for students considering taking courses in the Cisco Networking Academy program.

Students should take these courses if:

  • They have a sincere and dedicated interest in computers and computer networking. The field of computer technology requires professionals to constantly keep up with changes in technology, and to keep updating skills and knowledge. This is especially true in computer networking, as it is one of the most dynamic areas in computer technology. Students and people working in the computer industry must constantly teach themselves the advances, applications and technologies in networking. This can include taking continuing education classes and reading technical books and magazines.. Most, if not all, of this professional development happens on a person's own time. Initiative and self motivation are important traits for success in this field.
  • Get a Bachelor degree in the computer technology field. The area of computer networking is very complex, and four courses alone is not going to give someone the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in this area. Students should take as many other computer technology courses as possible, besides the Cisco curriculum. If at all possible students should get a Bachelor degree in this field. Students will find themselves competing for jobs with students who do have these degrees.

Who is Cisco Systems?


Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. Cisco products include routers, LAN and ATM switches, dial-up access servers and network management software. These products, integrated by the Cisco IOS software, link geographically dispersed LANs, WANs and IBM networks. Cisco Systems news and product/service information are available on the World Wide Web site at Cisco Systems is headquartered in San Jose, California.

Still could use some help? Email us and we will get back to you shortly.


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