There’s hardly a more scrutinized stage to demonstrate Cisco’s best-of-breed network technology than at Cisco Live, our largest customer event of the year. Over 26,000 attendees will converge at the Orlando Convention Center from June 10-14 to check out Cisco’s latest solutions and meet with some of the best and brightest in the industry.

The folks responsible for keeping the network running smoothly are the unsung heroes of this large-scale event — the Network Operations Center (NOC) team, who work tirelessly throughout the week to pull off an exceptional customer experience. This is their time to shine, ensuring uninterrupted wireless network connectivity and top-notch customer service.

Since 2011, the NOC has relied on a group of stellar students hand-picked from Cisco Networking Academy colleges and universities from across North America as an extension of their on-the-ground staff to help with the network deployment for Cisco Live. The “Dream Team” works alongside Cisco engineers, gaining valuable real-world experience that, as a result, has often led to employment opportunities at Cisco and with our ecosystem partners.

To be selected, students must be nominated by their instructor, demonstrate both technical and professional aptitude, and have a passion for a career in IT. This year, over 60 Dream Team hopefuls submitted video applications for the chance to land a coveted spot. Ten finalists, along with a returning Team Captain and two instructors, make up this year’s team.

Representing diverse backgrounds and experiences, these student ambassadors get the full Cisco Live experience. Here’s a glimpse into what they have planned for the week to come:

  • Executive Meet & Greets with Cisco leaders (including Chuck Robbins, CEO; Guillermo Diaz, CIO; Francine Katsoudas, EVP of Human Resources; Gerri Elliott, EVP of Sales & Marketing; and Tae Yoo, SVP of Corporate Affairs)
  • Cyber Talks with Cisco Talos & Learning@Cisco
  • Tech Tours: Technical Solutions Clinic (Cisco TAC) & DevNet Zone
  • Cisco TV broadcast interviews & Social Media Hub engagement
  • Full conference staff badge to attend keynotes, technical sessions, and the Customer Appreciation Event
  • Free Cisco certification voucher for an onsite exam of choice

This year, Cisco Gold Channel Partner, CDW, is the official sponsor of the NetAcad Dream Team, which is a true reflection of their commitment to investing in the development of talented engineers.

They have been tapping into the Networking Academy for many years to grow their early-in-career talent pipeline. In fact, about 30% of all CDW’s Associate Consulting Engineers hired in 2017 were alumni of the Cisco Networking Academy program. While in Orlando, CDW will host the Dream Team for a dinner, career discussions, and at their customer appreciation event.

The Dream Team is currently on location in Orlando and ready to embark on an amazing journey. Be sure to follow them all week on Twitter using the #NetAcadDreamTeam and #CLUS hashtags!

Social Impact at Cisco Live

Talent Bridge: Dream Team Opportunity

Cambrian College Student Makes Dream Team

Dream Team Thrives at Cisco Live

Dream Team Puts IT Talent To Work

NBA: Tapping into NetAcad to Develop Talent Pipeline


Gena Pirtle

Veteran & Workforce Programs Manager

Corporate Affairs