At Cisco Networking Academy, there is no such thing as a day of work. My colleagues and I show up each morning ready for a day of impact. This month, we celebrate Cisco Networking Academy’s 25th anniversary. We mark the milestone with great pride as one of the longest-standing IT skills-to-jobs programs in the world having reached 17.5 million learners in 190 countries since 1997.
It’s part of our Purpose
Cisco Networking Academy is an activator of Cisco’s Purpose to power an inclusive future for all. Our high-quality IT courses, simulators, and hands-on learning labs offered via our state-of-the-art platform enable 29,300 instructors to engage students who learn the skills that empower them for future education and career opportunities. We know education is the ultimate equalizer. Together with our partners in government, academic institutions, and non-profits around the world, we strive to reach underserved and underrepresented people who might not otherwise have access to life-changing educational pathways.
How we define “impact”
Through our two and a half decades of striving toward impact, we have been driven to match learners to in-demand jobs where they can personally thrive and contribute to their communities. From our Cisco vantage point, we see shifting market dynamics driving demands for the future. Our Cisco Networking Academy learning portfolio of courses and curriculum have always mapped to what’s needed now: from networking and the Internet of Things to programmable infrastructure and cybersecurity. We meet learners where they are. We make learning accessible with courses in 27 languages and offer ways to learn whether a student is connected in the classroom or engaged via an internet-enabled mobile phone.
Positively impacting lives
We measure our impact not just by numbers but the lives we touch. In our 2022 learner surveys, 97 percent of students say Cisco Networking Academy has had a positive impact on their lives. Ninety two percent of our instructors say our courses and guidance has helped them become better educators in the last year.
Our numbers are impressive but not nearly as impressive as the achievements among our students. Their stories inspire us to innovate for the next generation of learners. I’m proud to share a few of those stories of the lives we touched throughout the last 25 years.
In 2004, Hamid Hajar described himself as “desperate and hopeless”. Political unrest and economic turmoil forced him to leave Sudan for Lebanon. As a refugee, he found work as a cleaner despite a knack for technology. By chance and good fortune, his janitorial job was in the IT Department of Beirut’s Business and Computer University College. A perceptive manager spotted Hamid’s potential and encouraged him to join the university’s Networking Academy program. He earned his Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) certification opening a new world of opportunities.
Sometimes the student becomes the instructor. In 2012, David Tsulaia earned a college degree in finance, but he was seeking more. He learned IT skills through books and perusing the Internet where he came upon networking technology. He was hooked! He found a Cisco Networking Academy at Georgian Technical University in Tbilisi. His academic interest led him to the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia where he worked as the chief IT specialist in charge of the agency’s network and server farm. While David had a full workload, he became a Cisco Networking Academy instructor to help others achieve their own technology career goals. Today, he continues to work in technology as a Senior DevOps Engineer for a global software engineering firm.
Fast forward to 2022. Maria Gaffney who is among Cisco Networking Academy’s 4.6 million female students who have participated in the program to date. She first discovered her passion for technology in high school. She picked up work as a technology implementation project coordinator, but she wanted to expand her options. She took a few classes in networking and cybersecurity and then enrolled in the Computer Science program at the University of Columbia where she discovered Cisco Networking Academy. She dug into switches, routers, data routing methods, and the inner workings of the Internet. Her career has taken her from federal work to Amazon Web Services to becoming a client success technician at Vortex Managed IT Solutions.
Read more student stories and learn more about our global impact throughout
Cisco Networking Academy
Since 1997, over 17.5 million global learners have taken Cisco Networking Academy courses to gain digital skills. Now, Cisco aims to provide digital skills training to 25 million more people over the next 10 years to position them for in-demand jobs. Learn more in our news release: