This post was written by Gary Coman, who oversees engineering and development for Cisco Networking Academy. It originally appeared on the Huffington Post.
I love my job and I want you to love yours too. I meet people of all ages, everywhere in the world who are shaping the future of their communities and transforming their lives. As director of engineering with the Cisco Networking Academy, I am part of a global community dedicated to training the next generation of networking technology professionals who will design, build, and dream up the technology networks that will connect everyone, everywhere. They will change the way we work, live, play and learn.
Whether you’re just planning a career or considering a career change, here are 5 reasons you should include computer networking in your course studies.
1. Opportunities abound
People with ICT and networking skills are in short supply worldwide. The US Department of Labor estimates the number of jobs for network systems and data communication analysts will grow by 53 percent from 2008 to 2018. In Brazil, these types of jobs will grow from about 60,000 today to more than 115,000 jobs by 2015. The story is the same in country after country from continent to continent. As organizations and institutions invest in mobile devices, cloud computing, social media and big data, they depend on a workforce with networking technology experience. The current number of people working and studying technology simply won’t match the expected demand. Individuals who choose to add networking to their studies or professional skills can transform their lives. Ntombozuko (Soso) Luningo leveraged her interest in computers into a successful career first as an IT professional and now inspires others as an instructor.
Soso Luningo teaches computer networking skills at the CIDA City Campus in Johannesburg, South Africa.
2. You don’t have to be a math wiz
Networking starts with basic logic and connections. The only prerequisite for the Cisco Networking Academy IT Essentials class is an interest in information communications technology (ICT) and basic math and reading comprehension. If you are in or have completed high school, you have the skills to launch a networking career. High school students in Bulgaria have become networking champions through online study, simulations, hands-on activities, and working in teams. You can study networking technology at a broad range of educational institutions — high schools, community colleges, institutes, community knowledge centers, and universities as part of your degree studies or while you work.
Students at Technology School Electronic Systems (TSES) in Sofia, Bulgaria, benefit from taking the rigorous Cisco Networking Academy curriculum.
3. Every workplace needs a few friendly geeks
Networking skills give you an edge and an opportunity to make a career in almost any sector you can imagine: financial services, education, transportation, manufacturing, oil and gas, mining and minerals, technology, government, hospitality, health care, retail… you name it. If you have an interest in a particular field, technology is probably part of it. For example, health care clinicians study networking technology to better understand how to use it in their practice. At Effat University in Saudi Arabia, women have dramatically expanded their career opportunities by adding networking to their skills set. Veteran Matt Hefler became a virtual systems engineer with several job offers after his networking studies. Whether you see yourself with your own business, as part of a small company or inside a global corporation, networking basics open the door to help advance your career.
4. Get connected to the most connected people
There is a worldwide community of people just like you. More than 4.75 million students in 165 countries have participated in Cisco Networking Academy courses since 1997. That’s a lot of friends to find and connect with on LinkedIn or the Cisco Networking Academy Facebook page, which has over 530,000 student and instructor members who use it to stay in touch, ask questions, and learn about new learning opportunities. Most academies have their own Facebook sites and many have LinkedIn communities.
5. The places you’ll go and the things you’ll do
Networking standards are global. That means your skills and certifications are recognized anywhere in the world your career takes you. Cisco certified professionals have worked their way up through global corporations in places all over the world. They live in every sized community, supporting small businesses, schools, and social services in every town or village where someone connects to the Internet. They build networks for essential communications after disasters like in Haiti after the earthquake. They connect isolated places like refugee camps to the world, giving displaced persons a bridge to a more promising future.
I know that networking can take you wherever you want to go, because I’ve lived it. I started out as a systems analyst with Fidelity Investments. But I had ambitions to build life experience and travel the globe. I used my knowledge in networking and technology to move to Europe and then to Asia for over 10 years, advancing my career from systems to sales to business development. Now, as director of engineering for Cisco Networking Academy, I ensure that people everywhere benefit from the power of ICT. When you choose to add networking skills and Cisco certification to your résumé, you open the door to opportunities.
“Given the rapid speed of change in today’s global marketplace, a country must invest in its greatest asset—its people—and train them to excel in science, technology, engineering, and math [STEM].” Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers
A skilled workforce is the backbone of a successful and competitive economy. Unfortunately, here in the United States, we are falling behind on educating people in the STEM fields that are vital to the technology careers that our society depends on.
At Cisco, we are working to change that through our educational investments, particularly our Networking Academy program.
The U.S. National STEM Solutions Conference is just around the corner and the Cisco CSR team will be among the more than 2,000 business, education, and government leaders from around the United States in attendance at the Austin Convention Center from June 17 to 19, in efforts to continue change in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) education, policy, and workforce development.
Cisco CSR, along with its partner STEMconnector, will use the conference to advocate for more STEM education to better equip the students of today with the education and resources necessary to become the leaders of tomorrow.
During the three-day conference, the Cisco CSR-funded EdTech: Revolution in Education and 100 CEO Leaders in STEM reports will be showcased. EdTech: Revolution in Education is a first-of-its kind effort to create an inventory of education technology resources. The 100 CEO leaders in STEM report features interviews with 100 CEOs, including Cisco CEO John Chambers, which highlight the committed leadership necessary to win the STEM education battle.
It’s 5:30am on Monday morning (10th June 2013 to be precise). “ Wake up it’s a beautiful morning” by the Boo Radleys is blasting out of the speakers at the camp site. “I shouldn’t be up at this time” is one of the lines of this songs which rings so true to me on this day. It’s not a dream although my head wishes it was. I’ve been awake since around 4am -- thanks to the and chirpy wildlife and early sunrise in the north of Scotland where the sun appears at not long after 3am. Yes I’m back on the Deloitte Ride Across Britain (“RAB”) again, aiming to cycle 220 miles over 2 days, to help Cisco raise funds for the paralympic athletes via the Paralympics GB charity.
The “RAB”, as we call it, is a cycle ride from John O’Groats, in the very north of Scotland, to Lands End, in the very south of England -- top to bottom of the United Kingdom, in fact. Cisco supports and encourages us to take part -- around 50 of us were taking on typically one or two stages, with a few mad colleagues doing the whole 9 days of 100 mile+ daily cycling! Yes we had “free” days off work, away from my usual work in Cisco Data Center Services around Cisco Domain TenSM- committing to achieve a fundraising target -- however it’s not quite what most people would call a holiday! And we also had a “Virtual RAB” in our offices to ensure everyone gets an opportunity to help further the fundraising cause.
As the video shows, we cycled through some amazing scenery, connected with new colleagues across Cisco UK & Ireland, and renewed old friendships. Our fund raising is in progress and I’d appreciate any and all donations here!
Join us tomorrow, as Cisco sponsors the launch of Changing Tack, the final report of the Regeneration Roadmap, via global webcast from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. PDT (11 a.m. EDT/4 p.m. London)
The Regeneration Roadmap is a collaborative, joint initiative by GlobeScan and SustainAbility designed to advance sustainable development. What is “sustainable development?” It is defined by a United Nations commission as development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” In business, this equates to people and production practices that are good for society and the environment, as well as the bottom line.
The aim of the Regeneration Roadmap is to provide a roadmap for achieving sustainable development within the next generation, focusing in particular on ways the private sector can improve sustainability strategy, increase credibility and deliver results at greater speed and scale.
The Changing Tack report released today holds that choices made on sustainable development now will shape success or failure in future. It also demands that business leaders commit to doing more to guarantee that present and future societies and ecosystems thrive.