CNCC welcomes new computer instructor to Craig campus

Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) is gearing up its computer curriculum on the Craig campus with a new instructor.

Kirk Ferguson joined the CNCC staff in November.

"I'm prepared to help computer students acquire the skills they need for high-tech careers," he said. "I feel that computer science and the entire computer field is a good choice for students because it is an evolving field that constantly presents new challenges and an abundance of opportunities."

Ferguson will be teaching Computer Science I, Basic Programming, Telecommuni-cations, and CISCO networking.

According to Ferguson, the CISCO company manufactures network equipment, such as routers, that most Internet traffic travels on today. It is one of the largest companies in the computer industry, used by more than 450 Internet-service providers around the world. Situated in more than 49 countries, program members offer a wide range of CISCO-based services for small and large businesses.

"I would like for my programming students to come away from their classes thinking in an analytical way, and for the CISCO students to come away with an industry understanding and the knowledge to become certified," Ferguson said. He added that computer science and programming students generally pursue a four-year degree after leaving community college, whereas students in the CISCO classes desire to pass the tough exam, comparable to Microsoft certification exams, to pursue jobs where the Cisco program is utilized.

According to Mary Morris, community relations manager at CNCC, students can complete the networking program, which leads to the highly-desirable CISCO certification, in two years.

"Regardless of whether students want to complete the CISCO program and seek employment or continue on to a bachelor's level or beyond, CISCO gives them the opportunity to obtain a current skill set and get a job in state-of-the-art technology," Morris said.

"CNCC is creating an Associates of Applied Science degree that includes the CISCO curriculum and contains relevant supplemental courses to make this program very distinct from the traditional computer science degree," Morris added. "The new degree will focus on specific networking and system skills, which provide students with the skills needed to work as network specialists."

Before relocating to Craig, Ferguson taught at New Mexico Junior College and San Juan College, and worked as a lead network specialist for Corporate Systems, a 600-employee company headquartered in Amarillo, Texas. An avid camper and outdoorsman, he is looking forward to hiking and biking the northwest Colorado region.

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