Best IT certifications for 2017


So Many Certifications…So Little Time

Over the past year, the Networking and Security Professors in the CIS department (primarily myself, Professor Rozema, and Dr. Pavlov who joined us last semester), have been pushing hard for GRCC students to get certified in their field. We began seeing students take their certification exams and PASS in Winter 2016. During the summer, a few more gave it a try. And PASSED. And in Fall 2016, more students than ever PASSED a certification. But what cert is best for you? Many factors ride on that decision and any three of us would be happy to mentor you in helping to focus your studies.

The CIS department at GRCC, has the following networking/security certifications courses:

  1. CIS 135 Micro Operating Systems MTA Certification 70-680
  2. CIS 177 EC Council Certified Ethical Hacking I 312-50
  3. CIS 277 EC Council Certified Ethical Hacking II 312-50
  4. CIS 178 Comptia Security+ Sy0-401
  5. CIS 132  Comptia Linux+ Certification LX0-103
  6. CIS 232 Comptia Linux+ Certification LX0-104 (both exams needed for Linux+)
  7. CIS 233 Comptia Network+ N10-006
  8. CIS 234 Microsoft Windows Server I MCSA Certification 70-410
  9. CIS 235 Microsoft Windows Server II MCSA Certification 70-411 (2 of 3 required exams for MCSA)
  10. CIS 265 Comptia A+ 220-901
  11. CIS 266 Comptia A+ 220-902 (both exams needed for A+ certification)
  12. CIS 175 Cisco CCNA I
  13. CIS 176 Cisco CCNA II (ICND1 100-105)
  14. CIS 271 Cisco CCNA III
  15. CIS 272 Cisco CCNA IV (ICND2 200-105) (both exams needed for CCNA Routing and Switching certification)
  16. CIS 273 Implementing Cisco Security 640-554 IINS

(note: we have other certification courses such as database and web design too)

So, which one to focus on this semester? Email your academic adviser and we can talk.

Code 147 Network Administration: Professor Vander Meer at

Code 150 Pre-Information Security: Professor Rozema at

A+, Security+, and Microsoft Operating Systems questions: Professor Pavlov at

Read this for the Best Certifications in 2017

You can also find out what courses you need to take by looking at My Degree Path in the Online login Center or at

Academic Advising Day this Thursday! Come see us!!!

Thursday, October 8 from 4 to 5:30 in 120 ATC, the CIS department is holding a special academic advising day just for you! No appointment needed. All Full Time Faculty members will be there to help you figure out what classes you need for Winter 2016, take care of any substitutions, and make sure you’re on the right academic path!

Come and spend the late afternoon with us…

Thursday, October 8 2015
4 – 5:30 p.m.
120 ATC

Registration dates for Winter 2016

  • October 13  12 Credits/Higher Earned
  • October 15  0-11 Credits/Higher Earned
  • October 20  New Students

A great day to celebrate your change!

Welcome Students to Fall 2015!Inspirational-Quotes-for-College-Students-10

17 years! 17 whole years! I’m lost somewhere between how time is progressing so quickly and excitement for a new academic year. Today is the day. The day I begin my 17th year of Life as a College Professor. I have no secret anonymous webpage documenting the hundreds of stories I’ve heard over the years, although someday I might…it would probably give you all a grand laugh, a shuttered look, and plenty of eye rolls. The number of students I’ve had, the number of classes I’ve taught, the number of assignments I’ve written and then graded doesn’t matter. What matters most to me is the positive changes that people will see over this next year, and how I can contribute to that growth.

The subject we study really doesn’t matter to me. It’s the fact that there are all types of people about to begin or continue their college careers, in a bold move to better themselves, better their lives. I have a privileged position in their life, an opportunity to contribute to that betterment, and I do not take that for granted. College is a big deal folks. You all likely know someone, old or young about to begin a new class, a new degree, a continued dream of how they can succeed in this world. Our job today, tomorrow, is to support the people we encounter, our children we are sending off to college for the first time, our friends who are going back to college, our colleagues who are taking a leap and putting themselves back into the classroom so that they can expand their knowledge. They do it for a reason, one that may get lost sometimes along the way amidst inevitable failures that try to break them, but they do it for a change. A change for the better, and they will succeed.

I can’t speak for anyone but myself when saying, I’m happy to be part of their journey and excited for their accomplishments they will indeed have over the next year! And honored.


New Computer Certifications now offered at GRCC!

If you haven’t heard…we have revamped our entire curriculum over the past year. These changes have lead to exciting certification opportunities. Even if you are not pursuing an Associates Degree, you can still take these courses to obtain your A+, Network+, Linux+, Security+, MCSA, and CCNA certifications at the low GRCC tuition rate!

Courses needed for certification only

For more information, visit

Download your PDF here —->>>> Courses needed for certification only

Understanding changes to CIS degrees 

Need to know before registering for2015 and Fall 2015

You may have caught wind of some exciting changes coming to the Computer Information Systems department. Beginning Fall 2015, we have revised our curriculum, now offering 4 AAAS degrees (associate degrees) and 3 pre-major degrees (transfer degrees). This has a big impact on current and future CIS students.

We are phasing out a few courses and have added about 10 new courses to our department. These range from a series of CCNA courses to a new internship course. As the faculty advisor to the Network Administration degree, I am super excited for the CCNA courses (4 in total). Also, we became a Cisco Academy this semester and have begun the extensive process of bringing a physical Cisco lab to our area  (real live racks of routers we configure and manage)!

As Fall enrollment is open to all current students beginning today, please take some time to view the following podcast. We explain the switch from CO to CIS, talk about our new degrees, and explain course equivalences. (Just to name a few degree related important explanations).

Watch! It’s the best and most useful 20 minute YouTube video you will watch all week! Or your money back (it’s free)!!!

Don’t be like me…Shackled

Scholarship Deadlines: March 16 at GRCC and April 1 at Grand Rapids Community Foundation!

There have been a lot of articles over the past years about the rising cost of higher education.  Even at a community college, the costs are heavy.  There are 2 places that I know about where you can apply for scholarships and the deadlines are fast approaching.

GRCC Foundation Scholarships – one application for over 200 scholarships. Need and merit based, including transfer scholarships. Get more information at

Grand Rapids Community Foundation scholarships  – Over 70 scholarships for residents of Kent County – Get more information at

The GRCC Foundation offers over 200 scholarships for students attending in the 2015-2016 school year.  Only one application is needed to be considered for these awards.  A paper application is available in the financial aid office (Enrollment Center-Main Building) or you may print the PDF. Applications and a transcript must be returned to the financial aid office. (see link above)

Grand Rapids Community Foundation awards hundreds of scholarships annually primarily to Kent County students bound for or in college, or those pursuing a technical career.

Don’t be like me and be shackled to student loan debt. I’m happy for my education. I needed my education. I just didn’t do it right. DON’T BE LIKE ME! Apply for scholarships today!

Image result for student loan debt

GRCC runners raise $1,350 for Gilda’s Club

Professors in their undies?!?

GRCC Today

Thank you all for your support for FUNderwear Run and supporting our community! We raised $1,350 this year and we were once again the top fundraiser for Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids through the FUNderwear Run. Laughfest coordinators send their thanks and appreciate the support GRCC shows the community!

If you’re inspired, it’s not too late to donate at

And a serious Thank You to 2015 runners!

Sean Mackey, Monica Stevens, Fred van Hartesveldt, Sarah Laycock, Katie Vander Meer, Michelle Allen, Ann Alexander, Christina McElwee, AndrewRozema, Rosario Montes-Sutton, Alejandro Saldivar, and Dan Groh!

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Working from home? How’s that working out?

This applies to being a student or an employee…or heck as many of you are, both! I know it might not be very professional to have my son popping in and out of my lecture videos, but I’m not quite sure what else to do. I’m sure not all your professors will believe that you were feeding your baby while taking a test and they slammed the keyboard hitting submit. But you know what, it happens! It really does.

So for the 3rd time I made a lecture video today. Over the same thing! The first 2 times has issues because I had to pause it to take care of my little one. Well this time, I didn’t pause it and he’s popping in and out. I can’t change it. I won’t. While we are busy working and going to school, there are people in our lives who need us from time to time. We work hard at school and work for them! They are likely the reason you are working your butt off.

I’m not sure I really have a point. I’m tired. I have a cold. I just made a semi-professional, semi-unprofessional video I’m going to post and it is what it is. So, to all of you out there who have families and jobs and responsibilities and still give it your all at school…I admire you!

Pass it on!


Guest Blogger Aris Fleming: Welcome to the Internet

Welcome to the Internet

The internet is a giant network of networks. Floating around in these networks is data, which can be defined as meaningful information. Some data like the image above may seem debatable in terms of meaningful information, but I assure you, gun wielding cats riding fire-breathing unicorns forefront-ing the Mushroom Kingdom are as vitally important to the development of the internet as the events to precursor it. The internet as we know it did not happen over night, it has been a work in progress since 1969 where the first metaphorical domino was tipped.

There was the commercial computing network, the telephone system network and the academia network; a tool to share and exchange research. These networks in addition to others were stitched together to form a global network; ARPANET, the first internet. In an attempt to homogenized communication the Defense Advanced Research Project (DARPA) of the Department of Defense created the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, more commonly known as TCP/IP. This allowed networks of all types to connect and pass around information.

Almost a decade later the UNIX-to-UNIX copy program (UUCP) would make its mark on internet. UUCP allowed users to send files to other computers on the network who were also running UUCP. In subsequent years the USENET, CSNET and BITNET platforms were developed opening up the possibility of users emailing users. All of a sudden people were connecting for the sake of connecting. The system was gaining developmental momentum and growing in popularity. Finally, in 1982 the system was given a name; the “Internet”.                                                        

By the end of the 1980’s the National Science Foundation (NSF) implemented several supercomputer centers where users could access stored data. They did this by linking the supercomputers together with the NSF network and it is considered one of the more important backbones of the Internet. Then came 1990 and along with it a new graphical user interface giving inexperienced users an easy layout to navigate the internet. This only caused the user count to climb and climb into the millions leading the federal government to legitimize the internet with a new high-speed backbone upgrade; the National Research and Education Network (NREN).

In 1995 the internet becomes a playground for the private sector. Microsoft releases Windows 95 and its first version of Internet Explorer (yay…). Java is released by its former owner Sun Microsystems. Amazon, Craigslist and the awesomeness of Geocities debut. Geocities is a web hosting service that gave inexperienced users the tools to throw together terrible looking web pages. Typical characteristics are clashing foreground background colors, senseless visit counters, broken links and pre-Google pop-up advertising strategies to name a few. As terrible as the designs were, the hosting services created the opportunity for individuals to get involved and contribute their personal expertise.

In 1999 the infamous Napster launches paving the way for future peer-to-peer file sharing services like Folding@Home, BitTorrent and Bitcoin. The browsing market was entirely dominated by Internet Explorer and Netscape, neither of which are used today. Okay some are still using Netscape…






 Mozilla Firefox




Gangnam Style

Sites come and go, some are bought, some are sold.

The landscape of sites and services is constantly changing. Today’s champions may be tomorrow’s losers.

In regard to internet accessibility in the future, we will continue to see traditional business models like tiered plans and unlimited talk/txt/data fade away. They simply won’t be able to compete with pervailing wireless use. Eventually, the internet will become a public good like the library. Something we come to expect. Something our children laugh at us about, “You paid for internet!? Hah!” The internet provides too much for everyone involved to justify a charge from a private party.

And after that, Skynet.


Join CIS and our quest to Code 100 Hours on December 11

Don’t worry, you don’t have to code it all alone…or even know how to code.  As part of Computer Science Education Week, the CIS Department at GRCC is hosting an hour of code on Thursday, December 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  You can do this online or face to face in 214 ATC.  It is a great opportunity to network and learn a few things about programming (and we will have FREE swag if you show up in person!!!).  You really DO NOT NEED TO KNOW HOW TO CODE.  Together, we’ve got this! is a non-profit dedicated to expanding computer science education. The vision is that computer science should be part of the core curriculum in every school, alongside other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, such as biology, physics, chemistry and algebra.

Why 100 hours?  Well, if you haven’t heard…it’s GRCC’s 100 year Birthday this year!  We need at least 100 hours of code on December 11.  If you are interested or want to sign up, please visit….