Online Microcredential in IT & Computer Science

Cisco: CCNA - Introduction to Networks

Build the foundations in infrastructure networking and boost your career as a network engineer with Cisco and The Open University

Created by

The Open UniversityThe Open University

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Endorsed by

Cisco Networking AcademyCisco Networking Academy

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Take the first step to gaining Cisco’s internationally recognised certification

Networked systems form the backbone of modern information systems. They’re rapidly evolving and adapting to changing infrastructure, consumer, and cybersecurity demands.

As networks expand, so has the demand for people with infrastructure networking expertise within computing, digital technologies, and infrastructure engineering.

On this ten-week microcredential from Cisco and The Open University, you’ll lay the groundwork for the Cisco Certified Network Associate certification, building your knowledge and skills in infrastructure networking.

Gain industry-recognised skills to begin your networking career

For digital technologists and network engineers wanting a solid foundation in networking basics, this course will prepare you for a range of technology routes, including the Cisco Certified Network Associate.

Increase your knowledge, skills, and expertise on different networking concepts

You’ll learn the basics of networking, from network fundamentals and technologies to the principles and structure of IP addressing, Ethernet concepts, and network application communications.

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to apply a range of networking concepts, design a simple networking address scheme, experiment with a networking environment, and implement foundational networking technology skills. You’ll also be able to build simple LANs, perform basic configurations for routers and switches, and implement IP addressing schemes.

Learn from the experts at the largest Cisco Academy in the UK

This microcredential is endorsed by Cisco and designed by leading experts and practitioners from The Open University’s award-winning Cisco ‘NetAcad’ academy.

Through guided academic learning in a supportive online learning environment, you’ll have mentor support, share experiences with other learners, and begin your Cisco Certified Network Associate certification journey and futureproof your career in networking.

A unique pathway to obtaining the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification in Routing and Switching

This course is the start of a three-part microcredential pathway, preparing you for the CCNA certification (content formerly covered in the CCNA Routing and Switching certification).

Part 1: Cisco: CCNA - Introduction to Networks

Part 2: Cisco: CCNA - Switching, Wireless and Routing Essentials (coming soon)

Part 3: Cisco: CCNA - Enterprise Networking, Security and Automation (coming soon)

The subsequent two microcredentials will explore the extensive range of technologies that form current networks, such as the Internet, corporate networks or domestic broadband, and WiFi connections.

By the end of the three-part microcredential pathway you’ll be fully prepared to take the Cisco Certified Network Associate certification, setting you up for a career in networking.

What skills will you learn?

  • IP addressing
  • LAN technologies
  • Network troubleshooting
  • Configuring a network device
  • Router technologies
  • Network numeracy

What you will achieve

By the end of the microcredential, you’ll be able to...

  • Describe the range of network technologies in current use
  • Experiment with a practical networking environment
  • Design a simple network addressing scheme
  • Calculate an address range based on a given scenario
  • Apply a range of networking concepts
  • Synthesise a range of practical networking technology skills

Are you eligible for this microcredential?

You don’t need any prior experience or qualifications to enrol on this undergraduate microcredential. If you don’t have basic knowledge of networking, exposure to introductory networking courses, such as The Open University’s free OpenLearn course Discovering Computer Networks would be beneficial.

Please note: From October 2021 some of the content of this microcredential will be duplicated within the longer and more in-depth module, Cisco networking (CCNA) part 1.

Is this microcredential right for you?

This microcredential will benefit anyone currently working in, or wanting to start a career in, a comprehensive range of globally relevant Digital Technologies disciplines including:

  • DevOps Engineer
  • Infrastructure Network Engineer
  • Cloud Technician
  • Cyber Security Professional


What happens before, during, and after your microcredential

  • Before learning

    You’ll have access to our online welcome area where you’ll be able to read any announcements relating to your microcredential.

    Prior to starting, if you want to gain a basic knowledge of networking, we recommend The Open University’s free OpenLearn short course Discovering Computer Networks.

  • Course

    From 28 Mar 2022

    Cisco: CCNA - Introduction to Networks

    Build the foundations in infrastructure networking and boost your career as a network engineer with Cisco and The Open University.

    10 weeks

    10 hours per week

  • After learning

    Once you’ve successfully completed the microcredential, you’ll receive your academic credits from The Open University. You’ll also have ongoing, unlimited access to the course materials and also be ready to progress to the Cisco: CCNA - Switching, Wireless and Routing Essentials (SWRE) course.

What you will receive

10 UK credits at Undergraduate level from The Open University and a Certificate

Credits are awarded on passing the final assessment.

Find out how credits work and where you can use them in our FAQs.

A Certificate of Completion and Digital Badge from Cisco Networking Academy 

Passing the course with 70% or higher at first attempt will earn you a certificate of completion and a digital badge.

Learn more about this organisation

Additional benefits

Passing the Cisco final course-based assessment in all three microcredentials in this pathway, each with 70% or higher at first attempt, grants a 50% discount on the optional Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) exam (to be redeemed within 30 days).

What is a microcredential?

Microcredentials are designed to upskill you for work in rapidly-growing industries, without the time and cost commitment of a full degree. Your microcredential can stand alone as an independent credential, and some also offer academic credit to use towards a degree.

Learn online with expert instructors

Complete online courses led by experts over 12-16 weeks with a dedicated group of professionals.

Complete project-based assessments

Test your understanding with online tutor-marked assessments and exercises.

Earn a professional credential

Finish your learning and pass your assessments to gain an accredited credential.

Advance further in your career

Use your microcredential as evidence of your specialised skills and progress further in your industry.

Career-focused learning by The Open University

As the UK’s largest university, The Open University (OU) supports thousands of students to achieve their goals and ambitions via supported distance learning, helping to fit learning around professional and personal life commitments.

  • Established

  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

This microcredential is endorsed by Cisco Networking Academy

Cisco are a global manufacturer of infrastructure networking and cybersecurity focussed technologies, with their own internationally Corporate Social Responsibility-based education programme (NetAcad).   

Delivered by experts

Experienced network engineer, passionate about programming and automation. Interested in finding new methods for developing the knowledge of students.

Dr Amel Bennaceur is an engineer, researcher, and educator in Computing. She is an Associate Professor at The Open University. She published 30+ papers in top journals and conferences.

Enthusiastic about teaching digital, network engineering & cybersecurity - been doing it for a very long time. Also: iconoclast, herder of geeks, nerds & enthusiasts.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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When would you like to start?

We aim to run our microcredentials every few months. Join on the date that suits you or register to hear about future runs and updates.

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We can accept payments made by card (Visa, Mastercard and American Express) or PayPal via our online system.

You will have 14 days from the day the course starts to apply for a refund. You can find more information in our cancellation and refund policy.

Microcredentials are designed to fit around your life and timezone.

There may be live events as part of your studies, but these will be recorded and can be watched afterwards if you aren’t online for the live broadcast.

No, microcredentials are designed to be taken anywhere in the world. You won’t need the right to study in the country where the university offering the microcredential is based.

Microcredentials are stand-alone products, designed to meet specific learner and employer needs and offer a credential in their own right. Those awarded by The Open University have a credit value at either undergraduate or postgraduate level, and this may in the future be used towards qualifications (for example, a Bachelor’s Degree, Diploma of Higher Education or Postgraduate Certificate) at The Open University, or potentially at another university (subject to the agreement of the receiving institution).

Want to know more? Read the microcredential FAQs, or contact us.