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Creating a New Skills Framework for the Digital Economy

In today’s hyper-connected economy, every company is a digital business. Technology professionals play an integral role in driving business outcomes, and that requires a new skills framework. There are new demands for IT expertise in a changing technology environment. For the individual, rapid change is driving the need for continuous skills refresh. For the enterprise, technology expertise must link to business outcomes. For the industry, a new skills framework is needed to develop cross-technology and cross-functional leaders.

The IT jobs of the future are being defined now, but many organizations and individuals are being left in the lurch. In fact, a report from the MIT Center for Digital Business Research found that nearly 80 percent of companies consider missing digital skills to be the key hurdle to digital business transformation.

To overcome this hurdle and stay ahead of disruption, a broader perspective is required – one that goes beyond the traditional infrastructure model. It’s a view not limited to just a network topology or architecture discussion, but rather, one that looks to the opportunities made available through evolving technologies. Additionally, organizations must be able to use these emerging technology trends to drive business outcomes.

Raising the Bar

That’s why Cisco is evolving its certification program to ensure that candidates are prepared for new and changing job roles that unfold with emerging technologies.

Core technology expertise is essential, of course, but practical IT expertise in a single, siloed technology area is no longer a differentiator. IT professionals also must have a clear understanding of the evolving and disruptive technologies that are fueling innovation.

With this evolution of the career certification program, Cisco is ensuring IT professionals are equipped with the skills and education needed for evolving technologies such as Cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), and network programmability. Read More »

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The Importance of Security Skills in Today’s Workplace

Information technology and its use have transformed every aspect of society. In today’s digital economy, every company requires effective security to protect their information. Security breaches mean lost intellectual property, compromised customer information, and reduced customer confidence. These are critical considerations as organizations become more agile and try to grow their business models to leverage evolving trends of mobility, cloud and digitization.

The number of connected devices alone is expected to grow to 50 billion sensors, objects, and other connected “things” by the year 2020. With this, the number and type of attack vectors will increase, as will the amount of data, creating a daunting challenge for companies and those responsible for defending the infrastructure.

Cybersecurity has expanded from just focusing on building secure technology perimeters, to now also working with business management to reduce security risks – as well as detecting, responding to, investigating and handling security events when they occur. As a result, security is not a point-in-time component, but rather, it must be a part of every deployment, every development and every decision.

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Thank You to Our Veterans

Veterans, Thank you.

Thank you for your service to our country. Thank you for the sacrifices you make for all of us. And thank you for our freedoms.

With all of you, past and present, we have an amazing country in which to live, liberties many others do not experience, and the opportunities many others are not afforded. You’ve made this great country possible from those that dreamed what it could be.

As a National Honoring, every November 11th at exactly 11am, a color guard comprised of a member from each of the military branches, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Arlington National Cemetery salutes and honors our Veterans. It’s a beautiful ceremony and true dedication to our Veterans.

So today, I ask that we all take the 11 o’clock hour and stop checking off our ‘to do list’, hang up the phone, put down our computer and honor, thank, and support our Veterans any way you can.

It does not have to be big; the littlest of gestures often have a far greater impact. Buy a cup of coffee for a Veteran. Walk over to your fellow co-worker who happens to be a Veteran and thank them for their service. Maybe find a veteran cause such as Wounded Warriors or Operation HomeFront and make a donation.

And while I know many of you already keep our service men and women in mind and honor them daily, today is their day, like a birthday, so let’s make it special.

As a company, supporting Veterans is a key priority of our culture and employees. We are involved in and have many wonderful programs that focus on supporting our Veterans.

This November 19th (November 13th in San Jose), we are hosting a Veterans Career Transitioning Day across various Cisco locations: San Jose, CA, San Antonio, TX, Research Triangle Park, NC, Englewood, CO, and Washington DC. Local employee groups and some of our supporting Partners are holding this event to provide Veterans with information and resources to help them transition from service into civilian life.

Please join us for this amazing event in supporting our Veterans: Veterans Career Transitioning Day.

Thank you again to all of America’s Veterans.

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Learning from EDUCAUSE 2015

EDUCAUSE is always one of my favorite conferences, and this year was no exception. While many of the discussion topics weren’t new, they did focus on issues that are gaining steam, such as mobile device management (MDM) and how to prevent cybersecurity breaches. Last week, I shared some of the things I was hearing on the show floor. Now that EDUCAUSE 2015 has wrapped, and I’ve had some time to reflect, I wanted to share a little more about what I learned.

I was lucky enough to speak with a number of educators, IT professionals, and members of the media about trending topics in higher education IT. One of the highlights included a conversation with Campus Technology and Dr. Lance Ford. Dr. Ford is a former teacher and technology coordinator for Howe Public Schools in Oklahoma. The Campus Technology team joined us to discuss the complexity of cybersecurity for students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, the Cisco team was interviewed on-camera by EdTech: Focus on Higher-Ed to discuss the use of collaboration tools in higher education. Check out the photo above and video here of our senior engineer, Kevin Livingston, talking shop with EdTech!

In all of my conversations,  I repeatedly heard the challenge that university leaders are having with the demands that mobile technologies are placing on universities. Today, students are bringing an average of seven to 10 devices to campus, which puts a huge strain on university networks. My conversations with reporters included solutions on how campuses can prepare for the burden of mobility with new technologies to better manage and support mobile networks. Additionally, as classrooms swell with students who are connected 24/7, faculty are wrestling with how to integrate mobility into their courses. How can educators benefit from mobile integration, without creating distractions? It will be interesting to see how universities address mobile expansion, and it’s something we’ll be hearing a lot more about in 2016.

While I loved talking with different educators about how Cisco technology can help them meet their goals, one of the topics that grabbed attention on the floor was the Cisco Network Academy. Cisco is an education company, and the Cisco Network Academy is an IT skills and career building program that helps students succeed in the post-graduate world. Today’s digital natives are tomorrow’s global citizens, and to bring our students into leadership roles, we must give them opportunities – as early as possible – to build skills essential to their future. Check out more about the Cisco Network Academy here!

Overall, EDUCAUSE 2015 was filled with enlightening and engaging conversations between universities, technology companies, and the media about the major trends in education IT. What new problems are universities facing? And how can we use technology to address these issues? By thinking creatively about how technology tools that support education, we all have the power to help our students Learn Without Limits. If you attended EDUCAUSE this year, let me know about your experience – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Who to trust in training – what you need to know

The convergence of market transitions, ranging from collaboration and video to virtualization and cloud-based services, is fundamentally changing the way businesses acquire and use technology.

The most successful organizations use training to evolve their practices and seize upon market opportunities, increase growth and build customer retention. In the competitive marketplace, the way to thrive is to arm your employees with the best and most comprehensive skills training.

In fact, certifying the skills of IT staff members is the single biggest predictor of IT project success, according to IDC’s December 2014 report, Market Analysis Perspective: Worldwide and U.S. IT Education and Certification Services.

All training is not equal, however.

A recent survey of Cisco Authorized Learning Partners found that 63 percent of their customers think that unauthorized training is lower priced. When it comes to training, however, the old adage rings true – you get what you pay for.

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