The 2015 Cisco Networking Academy NetRiders Competition grand prize trip is coming to an end today, and the 17 winners will be heading home very soon. William Neumann will travel back to Brazil, Diana Polombo will fly to Colombia, and Kepei Xiang will be in China by Sunday, but the visitors will always be connected by the trip of a lifetime. Their success in the international NetRiders Competitions led them to Cisco headquarters, and their experiences in San Jose, California will change their lives forever.
NetRiders competitions are a great opportunity for Cisco Networking Academy students to learn valuable technical skills through a series of online exams and simulation activities. The grand prize study trip, awarded to the the top scorers among 10,000 international NetRiders competitors, is an exclusive opportunity to meet with Cisco staff, tour the Cisco offices, visit the Stanford University campus, and explore attractions in San Francisco and the Bay Area. “It’s been a privilege meeting all of the Networking Academy staff,” Bill Triantafillou, a winner from Greece, said. “I’ve had a great time all week, and being able to visit the Cisco headquarters is an experience I’ll never forget.
On Monday, the students got a behind-the-scenes look at a potential career in engineering when they toured one of Cisco’s data labs. The next day, they split their time between Cisco’s TV lab and compliance lab, learning firsthand how Cisco operates and what employers look for when hiring new employees. “I’ve really enjoyed seeing how products are made and tested,” Diana Polombo said. “I’ve loved learning from people in the field and watching them do hands-on work in the labs.”
By winning the NetRiders competition and earning a trip to San Jose, the young men and women have proven they have the technical skills to succeed in the information and communications technology (ICT) field. On Thursday, Cisco executives shared valuable insights with the winners, explaining the importance of the soft skills they’ll need when pursuing a career.
Tae Yoo, Senior Vice President of Cisco Corporate Affairs, emphasized the value of networking. “Partnerships allow us to grow as a company,” she said. “In order to build those partnerships and find a job, you need to network and connect with other people.” Harbrinder Kang, Vice President of Cisco Corporate Affairs, echoed Yoo’s advice to the students later in the day. “There are many paths to follow toward a career,” he said. “You all have the power to make a difference in the world, so choose a path that lets you do that.”
Over the course of the week, the students have introduced themselves to some of Cisco’s top executives, forging relationships that may lead to future careers in the ICT field. They’ve learned exactly what skills they’ll need to succeed, and they’ve built friendships that will last a lifetime. Some winners may speak Spanish, some may speak Chinese, but all leave connected by one common language – networking.