The Cisco Networking Academy NetRiders competition champions have been enjoying a whirlwind tour of the Cisco San Jose campus and Silicon Valley this week. Their agenda has included both technical sites and locations of scenic and cultural interest.

The 17 champions from 13 countries started out their weeklong visit with a trip to Santa Cruz and a hike at Henry Cowell Redwood park in Scotts Valley. For many, this is their first trip outside their country. In fact, 5 champions had never ridden on an airplane before.

2013_NetRiders_RedwoodsNetRiders champions at Henry Cowell State Park.

The NetRiders have toured Cisco’s Data Center and the Compliance, Cable and AST (Administrative Serviceability Tools) labs. They even got to visit Cisco CEO John Chamber’s office.  He wasn’t in, but Rob Lloyd, Cisco’s President of Sales and Development, gave everyone a tour.

The annual Networking Academy NetRiders competition is an interactive networking skills contest. More than 10,000 Cisco Networking Academy students in 85 countries competed last year. Of those, 17 won the Study Trip Prize to visit Cisco headquarters in San Jose. The prize rewards and recognizes outstanding Networking Academy CCNA students and encourages them to further their career development in IT.

Seeing the Cisco offices has given the champions a whole new appreciation of the power of technology. Hernán Stockebrand, a NetRiders champion from Chile reported on Facebook, “In the middle of the 2nd day of our study trip, we had the opportunity to visit the Cisco Arena showroom where TelePresense equipment is tested and showed to customers. It’s a dream come true. It’s the beginning of new ideas and aspirations. I feel like this is the point when future begins.”

2013_NetRiders_Data_RoomA 360 angle view from Hernán Stockebrand, a NetRiders champion from Chile, of the Cisco Arena showroom where Cisco TelePresense equipment is tested and showed to customers.

The group spent yesterday visiting the Intel museum and Stanford University. Darvin Moctaram from Mauritius had never seen anything like Stanford University.  He was amazed at the size of the campus and the quality of the lab equipment available.

Edwin Marin Vargas, a student from Peru, is one champion who experienced his first plane ride on Sunday from Lima to California. Winning the contest and trip mean a lot to him. [Translated from Spanish] “It is a major achievement for me which required a lot of dedication and commitment. The prize has a special significance for me and I dedicate it to my late mother… I am so happy to have the opportunity to visit the Cisco facilities in person.”

Most of the champions report they studied 8 hours a day for 20 days straight in order to win such a coveted position out of the 10,000+ competitors worldwide. The prize-trip is giving them a chance to relax and enjoy meeting new people and seeing new places, as well as learn more about their chosen profession of IT.

2013_NetRiders_Rob_LloydRobert Lloyd, Cisco President of Sales and Development, gave the NetRiders champions a tour of the Cisco executive offices.

Learn more about the Cisco Networking Academy NetRiders competition.

You can join in the conversation on the Cisco CSR Facebook page and by following the #CiscoNetRiders hash tag on Twitter and Google+.


Jennifer Barr

Social Media Manager, Online Brand

Cisco Talent Acquisition