Student shines in North American Cisco competition

Community College of Aurora not only offers courses for beginners but aids individuals already entrenched in the workforce by offering curriculum that allows for professional development in the computer industry.

Eric Withrow, for example, graduated from Grandview High School in Aurora and regularly has kept current on computer technology by taking individual classes at CCA. The benefits of CCA computer classes, including training for Cisco certification, are underscored by Withrow’s recent first-place finish in the state in a Cisco Networking Academy competition covering all of North America.

“The nice thing is the program is constantly evolving,” he said. “When I started taking computer classes in high school at CCA it was something that wasn’t even relevant today (Visual Basic Programming), whereas today I can go take a .NET programming class or whatever. The technology is constantly changing, so I just look CCA’s schedule, see the newest thing and do that.”

A recent Colorado Technology Association survey revealed that metro Denver has the ninth-highest concentration of high-tech workers among the 50 largest metro areas.

The CTA study went on to say that the region's information technology and software industry employs 41,640 people and includes software publishers, custom computer programming, data processing/hosting, Internet service providers, and computer systems design.

Another job trends report from the state placed software development among the top-five fastest growing segments of the local economy. So there’s both need and demand for Colorado computer schools.

Community College of Aurora is collaborating with local and national businesses to ensure its computer and information technology programs meet today’s needs and those in the future.

A full array of options are available for individuals interested in keeping computers and networks secure; managing computer networks and Cisco; programming and software development including C++ classes; programming and developing websites; database administration and Oracle; gaining A+ certification; administering Linux/Unix systems; and more.

Withrow has taken various Cisco coursework since 2001 at the community college in Aurora as part of his continuing education.

His full-time position is as Chief Technology Officer at Mattress Firm, which boasts 1,100 stores in 28 states. Withrow, a Georgia Tech graduate, is seeking to gain CCNA certification to become a Cisco Certified Network Associate, which is a top-tier designation in the field.

The coursework he’s gotten at CCA proved essential in the Cisco contest, in which he finished 18th nationally. That competition exposed him to four theoretical exams and two simulation exams that he strongly believes will help his preparation for eventual CCNA testing.

“I can probably go into the test and pass it with flying colors with Cisco,” he said.

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