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Your certificate in network infrastructure along with your certifications can take you places in growing IT field

As a network infrastructure specialist, you’re a problem solver who enjoys troubleshooting challenges that range from login issues to an entire system being down.

As the computer system’s architect, the network infrastructure specialist is adept at creating, altering and managing a company’s hardware and software.

It’s not just a job for the present. It’s a career for the future.

As companies modernize their IT infrastructures, they face a host of obstacles related to keeping it running efficiently to meet business demands. The need for network technicians is increasing with starting salaries in excess of $60,000 per year.

Tidewater Community College’s Career Studies Certificate in Network Infrastructure will jumpstart your career in this burgeoning field where earning certifications are integral to success. Completing the 28-credit certificate prepares you to sit for the Cisco Certified Network Associate exam, which provides a rapid path for new IT professionals to advance in security.

Being able to secure a network properly is critical given constant hacking threats to private data. “To secure it, you have to know how it works,” said Professor Gregg Tennefoss, program head for network infrastructure certificate.

“I like the hands-on nature of it,” said student Daniel Force, earning the certificate along with his Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology. After he graduates next fall, Force plans to go directly into the workplace either as a network technician or as an entry-level engineer.

All his credits stack into the associate program.

All of the introductory classes for the certificate are online. Courses in software design and Java programming are part of the curriculum.

The final semester includes ITN 295 or Internet of Things, a new class that focuses on fast moving technologies.

“In simple terms, everything and everybody will be on the Internet from lightbulbs to health monitoring,” Tennefoss said. “The class will delve into the devices and software that allow the average person to actually create and program these devices.”

laser cutter
A laser cutter in TCC’s new maker space

Students in the course use TCC’s new maker and hacker space on the second floor (H-206) of the Advanced Technology Center on the Virginia Beach Campus. Inside the dynamic space, students will find 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, electronics equipment, computers and a plethora of tools to advance their projects.

“It’s a world of diversity in here,” Tennefoss said. “Anything you can think of, you can make.”

Then you take. What you make is yours to keep.

The hacker space is a lab for students to practice their offensive and defensive cyber security skills in a sandbox environment where freedom to experiment is encouraged.

Both spaces are ideal for peer learning and open to all staff, faculty and students – not just those enrolled in the network infrastructure program. TCC’s coding club meets there on Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m.

It’s also an ideal location for students to study for the CCNA certification, said Tennefoss, who often staffs the space and is available for assistance.

For further information on the network infrastructure certificate or about the maker and hacker space, contact

Maker and hacker space hours are as follows: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursdays 3:15-5:30 p.m.; Fridays 6-9 p.m. Additional hours will be added.