Learn IT-networking at JCCC
Network security is a top priority for nearly every business and organization owning a computer, from IBM to the FBI. To secure the information stored on those networks, companies need a knowledgeable technician like the ones who graduate from JCCC’s information technology-networking department.
Mazen Akkam, professor/chair, information technology-networking, said the computer world is currently preoccupied by the idea of security, especially after high-profile hackers have made vulnerable sensitive information found on supposedly private networks.
At JCCC, students are taught three key elements of computer security: authentication, authorization and accountability. From these vital concepts come the tools: firewalls, intrusion detectors, encryption and whatever new deterrent might be available.
“In order to adequately protect the network, you must understand how the network is constructed. We tell the students, ‘No one will trust you to secure the network unless you understand the network.’ That’s why security classes tend to be higher-level classes, and we start with building that network,” Akkam explained.
The department recently underwent a name change from information technology to information technology-networking. The new hyphenate shows the community the renewed focus on networking as part of the program and better reflects what the department teaches, Akkam said.
“The network is the foundation for the exciting things we do today. When we send emails, when we go online to make purchases, when we share files, when we use social media – without the network, none of those exciting services would happen,” he said.
At the basic level, information technology-networking professionals connect people, departments and companies for communication purposes. The technology of local area networks gives employees the ability to share information as a group. Combining local area networks with the Internet and other telecommunications resources provides unlimited access to information.
The associate of applied science degree in information technology-networking provides students a foundation in designing, installing, implementing and securing computer network resources. The 64-hour program employs up-to-date technology to teach the newest methodology, including the recent acquisition of high-end equipment to migrate the classrooms and labs to a virtualized platform.
“Virtualization is an important technology right now,” Akkam said. “Companies are doing this, so we have a responsibility to our students to provide them with the skills they need to compete for jobs in this emerging market.”
The Windows and Linux tracks of the program will be based on a virtualized environment; the Cisco track, which requires direct physical access to networking devices, will remain machine-based.
Learning all three tracks will make any student more marketable. “IT is a great career path,” Akkam said. “It’s a common denominator to many different computer-related fields.”
Having an interest in computers helps, Akkam said, but it’s not enough just to have technological interest. Students have to invest time and energy into learning the most cutting-edge technology.“You have to have discipline, but it’s an excellent first step to love computers,” Akkam said.