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Cisco Networking Academy Empowers the Disabled in Sri Lanka

This post was written by guest blogger Emma Reid, marketing manager for Cisco’s Social Innovation Group, Asia-Pacific region.

emreidIn 2001, the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) launched the Network on Disability, a program designed to connect Sri Lanka’s disabled community to meaningful jobs. The EFC’s ICT Training Center, which launched in 2009 with the support of the International Labour Organization (ILO), has empowered more than 160 disabled people with the IT and language skills training they’ll need to thrive in a digital world. The EFC’s objective is to develop the employability skills of people with diverse disabilities in Sri Lanka by embracing the vision of “productive employment through social harmony.”

In 2014, the training center achieved status as a Cisco Networking Academy. “This is a milestone of the ICT Training Center, as it is the only center in Sri Lanka which trains people with diverse disabilities in Cisco courses,” said Manique Gunaratne, Head of the ICT Training Centre. This year, EFC started offering Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) courses to students with disabilities. For the CCNA course, nine men and women with disabilities have been selected. Among them are three visually impaired participants, three hearing impaired participants, and three with physical disabilities. On October 23, the Commercial Bank donated millions worth of Cisco equipment to be used for the courses. Gunaratne, herself, lost her sight 15 years ago due to retinitispigmentosa, a disease for which no cure has been found.

“Cisco’s own research indicates that certified professionals often earn as much as 10% more than peers without Cisco credentials working in similar routing and networking jobs.”

Gunaratne was recruited as a role model to the Network on Disability in 2001 as the first employee with a disability. Trained both locally and internationally to teach, promote, and develop IT skills for individuals with disabilities, Gunaratne has been nationally and internationally recognized. In addition to winning a Gold Medal at the Assembly for Women with Disabilities in Seoul, South Korea in 2011, she also received several coveted national awards in 2007, including the Keerthi Sri Lankabhimani Desha Bandu Award, the Zonta Woman Achiever, and Most Inspirational Woman on Special Skills of the Year. Gunaratne’s commitment to the betterment of the visually impaired in Sri Lanka is exemplary.

The training center is fully equipped with more than 50 devices specially designed for individuals with disabilities as part of a collaboration with Curtin University of Technology in Australia and SLIIT (Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology) Malabe. The programs are also recognized by the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) and within the EFC membership, which consists of 620 companies.

“The prime objective of the program is to improve the computer knowledge and networking skills of our students,” said Gunaratne. “Moreover, it aims to improve the employability of the trainees and create a group of trainers for future training needs.”

Find out how you can hire Networking Academy talent to grow your business.

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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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Refreshed Wireless and Design Certifications Offer Up-to-date Skills for IT Professionals

As the technology landscape continues its rapid transformation, those who work in the industry are faced with the constant challenge of keeping their skills up-to-date. To address the needs of professionals looking to build, assess and continually reinforce wireless technology or network design expertise throughout the spectrum of their career, we are announcing updates to three of our training and certification offerings: CCDA, CCDP and CCNA Wireless.

Designing Tomorrow’s Networks

Enterprise environments require networks designed for performance, availability and scalability with the flexibility to meet rapidly evolving demands. Skilled IT professionals are needed to plan, design and optimize today’s enterprise networks. Cisco’s Design certifications drive successful business outcomes by building and validating end-to-end network design skills.

Learning@cisco2The new training courses we are introducing teach Cisco network design principles that apply to enterprises of all sizes. This update to the curriculum extends the design perspective across all segments of Cisco’s Enterprise Network architectures while adding focus on new and evolving technologies such as services virtualization and programmable controller based architectures. The updated training and certification offerings are:

Updates to the design certification and training offerings include:

  • Teachings on current technologies and solutions that are leveraged in designing and optimizing reliable, scalable and resilient enterprise networks.
  • Goals that align to the promotion of a modular network design that Cisco formalized and that remains applicable to new and evolving enterprise networks.
  • Expansion of network design topics to include Network Programmability, controller based architectures and virtualized services that require a holistic design perspective in order to transform the digital enterprise.
  • Elevating the focus to consider design dependencies and considerations that span across the campus, data center, WAN and branch segments of advanced enterprise networks.
  • Additional aspects of the modular, hierarchical campus design, advanced addressing and routing to enable transitions to IPv6, optimizing WAN services, interconnecting data centers and improving overall network security.

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Meeting the demand for Cloud technology skills

What makes the cloud such an attractive option for enterprises? The cloud empowers IT to act as a broker of business critical IT services. It helps the organization become a more proactive player that can aggregate, integrate, and customize the delivery of cloud services to meet specific business needs. Instead of working in a technology vacuum or owning the entire IT value chain, IT can make build or buy decisions in the context of IT services sourcing recommendations. Meet critical business objectives

Businesses in every industry are rapidly embracing the cloud. They want the agility, security, and performance that cloud technology delivers. And they want the flexibility to deploy their choice of workloads securely to the cloud. This growing demand for cloud services is creating new opportunities for cloud providers and driving new job roles and responsibilities.

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Prove Your Collaboration Expertise with Cisco Certifications

The way we work – and where we work – has changed immensely in the past decade alone. That transformation will continue with the ongoing proliferation of communications devices.

According to Gartner, an estimated 40% of the workforce will be mobile by 2016. In addition, more organizations have employees in different buildings, cities, states, and even countries.

Collaboration is critical to business success and innovation, but the changes in the workplace require new ways to collaborate. No longer can you rely on being able to huddle at the cubicle down the hall.

Fortunately, advancing technologies have empowered people to engage and innovate anywhere, anytime.

To support this transition, today’s IT staff must wear multiple hats. Gone are the days when you’d have a dedicated voice guru, a specialized video expert, and someone else to support collaboration tools. Multiple trends are converging and with them, IT job roles are blending. In many organizations, video and voice specialist roles have converged to become a single specialty.

As a network engineer, how do you convey and prove that you have the skill set to deliver business value using Cisco collaboration solutions? Through Read More »

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