Cisco is committed to building an inclusive future for all.

In recognition that women were underrepresented in information and communications technology (ICT), Cisco Networking Academy launched the Women Rock-IT program 14 years ago. The program aims to show women they have a prominent place in the tech sector, and of the more than 1.8 million participants so far, more than a million have gone on to enroll in Networking Academy courses.

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Future of Jobs Report, jobs in demand include Data Analysts and Scientists, AI and Machine Learning Specialists, Cybersecurity Specialists, Robotics Engineers, Software and Application developers and Digital Transformation Specialists. Women can and should be part of this technology and workforce transformation, and Cisco Networking Academy is working hard to build opportunity.

For International Girls in ICT Day on April 28, we focused on esports to celebrate International Telecommunications Union’s annual day to address the gender imbalance in ICT.

On the surface, esports may seem an odd springboard for a career in IT, but gaming relies on technology for streaming, production, programming, and management, data privacy, cybersecurity, game integrity, analytics, and artificial intelligence amongst others.

In fact, esports is 100% dependent on technology with the network being the backbone of the gaming industry.

With women representing 45 percent of gamers worldwide, that passion for gaming can translate to a rewarding career in technology and has the possibility of shaping the future of industry.

On April 28, Networking Academy hosted a lively televised panel of women in the esports and gaming industry, who not only shared their varied experiences, but inspired participants to explore ICT as a career option.

Girls in ICT Day graphic with stats

Around the globe, community-minded Cisco employees volunteered to help during the event. Some, like Elda Perez, who draws from past experiences to inspire people, while others were inspired by their sense of civic duty, paving the way for women in tech.

The events were a success by all accounts. In the weeks following the event, Cisco Networking Academy experienced a surge in enrollment to our free introductory tech courses on Skills for All.

But we’re not done yet!

Continuing with the theme of esports, Women Rock-IT is hosting the second of a two-part series with another live telecast and a different panel of women in the industry on May 31 and June 1.

The panel features:

  • Renee Gittins, General Manager of Phoenix Labs, has a background in software engineering and creative direction, and is a passionate advocate and connector for developers and diversity in the gaming industry.
  • Nicole Pike, Global Sector Head of Esports and Gaming at YouGov, is responsible for its esports and gaming analytics strategy, using data to drive growth and investment in esports and gaming and finding the “why” behind entertainment fans’ decisions to view, play, and purchase content.
  • Rebecca Dixon, Co-founder and CEO at the*gameHERs, a media platform and social network for women who game. the*gameHERs celebrates women in gaming industry and works to advance the role, voice, image, and power of all the*gameHERs in the gaming world. Rebecca discusses job opportunities available in the esports and gaming sector for people with the right passion and skills.

To experience this exciting panel, register now.

You can read more about International Girls in ICT Day here:

How COPE leverages esports to inspire youth success

IT’s Game On! International Girls in ICT Day April 28, 2022

You can watch this great Q&A video here:

How Cisco Networking Academy changes the game for esports careers

And listen to an engaging podcast here:



Laura Quintana

Vice President and General Manager

Cisco Networking Academy