The Internet is evolving, and its next phase – the Internet of Everything – brings together people, process, data and things to create opportunities that benefit people, communities, and the environment. Cisco estimates that 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020, making cybersecurity more vital than ever before. Cisco is engaged in several efforts to prepare young people for careers in the field.
First, Cisco has partnered with CyberPatriot, the national youth cyber education program. Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot National Commissioner, emphasizes the need for cybersecurity training as breaches and threats become more common on the Internet.
“There are 15,000 attacks per second in the United States by people who would do ill to our systems,” Skoch said. “We have a dire need for cybersecurity professionals in the United States, but we frankly aren’t drawing enough young men and young women to be the designers, to be the planners, to be the operators of these very technical systems.”
About ten years ago, Courtney Church was studying to be a personal trainer. Then she realized that “people didn’t want to work out, but they needed their computers fixed.” So she did a 180 on her career, spent 8 years with the Best Buy Geek Squad, then enrolled in a Cisco Networking Academy course at East Carolina State University in Greenville, North Carolina.
“I fell in love with it the first day,” Courtney says of Networking Academy. “I’ve always had a passion for figuring out how computers and technology work.”
This week, Courtney joined 25 other Networking Academy students from the United States and Canada at Cisco Live – our annual customer and partner education event – to help a team of Cisco engineers maintain the massive computer network that supports more than 20,000 conference attendees.
Cisco Networking Academy student Courtney Church uses a rare break at Cisco Live to catch up on homework.
For students enrolled in Cisco Networking Academy courses, Networking Academy NetRiders Competitions are an amazing way to gain valuable hands-on experience, test their skills under pressure, and expand their network of professional connections. Most of all, winning NetRiders helps students stand out in the job market, as Jesús Israel Nava of Mexico and Csilla Bessenyei of Hungary found out.
Bob Schoenherr is a designer, content developer, and technical lead for the competitions. “Apart from the hands-on practical experience, the competitive environment allows participants to go head to head against students from all over the world,” he says. “NetRiders and other skills competitions give students exposure for internships and career opportunities and offer contestants development growth potential in networking and IT skills that prove beneficial.”
Bob offers a bit of advice for students planning to participate. He recommends that students learn the materials, as opposed to memorizing the material: “The best way to learn concepts is to create scenarios to be solved and then solve them.”
Watch Bob’s video below for more insights on the benefits of participating in NetRiders.
Even though I grew up surrounded by engineers and technology in Silicon Valley, I didn’t decide to seriously study science until my freshman year in college, when I switched my major from economics to theoretical mathematics at the suggestion of my calculus professor. That was the first time a teacher told me I had a strong aptitude for math and encouraged me to expand my idea of what kinds of studies and careers to pursue. Mentors are widely recognized as being a key factor in helping girls decide to study science and technology. This is especially true in developing counties where there are traditionally fewer professional female role models. Cisco is a champion for educating girls and women in technology and understands the importance of mentors early in a girl’s academic career. This is why 70 Cisco offices in 52 countries are putting on events for International Girls in ICT Day, introducing students to successful professionals and encouraging them to study science and technology.
In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, Scott Hanson (@CiscoServerGeek) and Conrad Ramos (@vNoob) discuss the IT jobs of the future, what the next gen needs to learn, and how to level up your skills. It’s a can’t miss watch for anyone interested in the trends of the industry. Also, how can your efforts benefit the community? Watch and see:
Unicorns at work: Scott Hanson and Conrad Ramos talk next-gen IT skills.
**The next shoot is last week of January at Cisco Live in Milan! Stop by the Social Media Hub to say hello.**
This is Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:
Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)