This has been an unforgettable week with the top networking students from around the globe. I’ve had the pleasure to meet 19 winners from the International NetRiders skills competition for Cisco Networking Academy students, and join them on their grand prize visit to Silicon Valley: an experience most students can only dream of!

NetRiders international competition winners from 15 countries
NetRiders international competition winners from 15 countries

The trip provides these students an amazing opportunity to tour labs on the Cisco campus, see the beauty of Santa Cruz, hear insights from President Rob Lloyd, and interact with Stanford University engineers, just to name a few! But most importantly it exposes them to career opportunities and creates an invaluable human network.

A great example is the Cisco TelePresence session they attended with 3 NetRiders winners from last year’s study prize trip. Winners were curious to find out about Jesus Israel Illescas Nava’s day-to-day role as a network consulting engineer for Cisco Mexico, a job he claims he could not have achieved without his achievements through NetRiders. Lilia Rosioru answered questions about moving from her home country of Moldova to become a customer support engineer at the Cisco Global Support Center in Krakow, Poland.

Cisco TelePresence session with 3 of last year's winners.
Cisco TelePresence session with 3 of last year’s winners.

How can they make the most of the week here in Silicon Valley, this year’s winners asked? Tim Heckmann encouraged participants to build a network among other winners, and shared his personal experience about contacting Jesus and Lilia for their advice in preparation for job interviews.

NetRiders winners are creating a lifelong human network
NetRiders winners are creating a lifelong human network

Winners are Workforce Ready

The majority of the 19 visiting students are getting ready to head into the labor market. They are top talent, eager to test their knowledge and continue to learn in a professional setting. I would encourage any employers who need people skilled in networking technology to take a special look at the NetRiders winners.

Overall, Networking Academy students have the skills employers are looking for, and the NetRiders winners have proven themselves in a high-pressure, competitive environment. These students have developed not only the latest technical knowledge, but also hands-on experience and valuable career skills such as:

  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Negotiation

If you’d like more information about hiring Networking Academy alumni please contact netacadadvantage@cisco.com.


Julie Chrysler

Program Manager

Cisco Networking Academy