Olympic athletes train hard year round to be the best in their sport. Every 4 years we have the chance to watch them give it their all and compete on a global level.

Did you know that a similar event takes the most talented, skilled workers from around the world to compete head-to-head for a world title?

Welcome to the WorldSkills Competition, what a Cisco executive once described as the “Olympics of the skilled trades.”  This event is hosted by different host countries every 2 years:  this year Germany is the proud host and in 2015 it will be held in Brazil.


Excitement, joy, tears, and triumph are among the many emotions awaiting competitors and visitors at WorldSkills Leipzig 2013 this July 2 through 7. World Skills brings top international trainees age 23 and younger to compete for medals in 46 official disciplines — from cooking to IT networking.

This year, more than 1000 competitors from 54 countries are registered to participate in the event, making WorldSkills Leipzig 2013 the biggest international competition of its kind ever held.

Apart from the competitors, the event attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to find out more about exciting industries and career possibilities. For young people, it offers a unique opportunity to test their skills, as well as seek advice on their choice of job and plan their career.

The event hosts “Discover your Skills” booths that provide hands-on opportunities for visitors to get acquainted with and try out skills and professions. Cisco is sponsoring a booth that will be hosted primarily by volunteer Cisco Networking Academy students and instructors from the Vocational Training School Academy in Muelheim, Germany. They will be offer information about their Cisco Networking Academy studies and careers in the computer networking field.

Local governments, industry partners, and educational leaders will also be in attendance in Leipzig, and many will participate in the conference “Our Youth – Our Future,” taking place in parallel to the competition.

Skill #39: IT Network Systems Administration

Since Skill #39 was introduced to WorldSkills Montreal in 1999, Cisco has provided the equipment for all competitions. In 2005, Cisco joined WorldSkills International as the second Global Industry Partner.

Over 90 percent of the competitors in Skill #39 are Cisco Networking Academy students. In the last 3 competitions — which took place in Japan, Canada, and the UK — 8 of the 9 medal winners were NetAcad students.

Skill #39 helps to demonstrate the value of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competencies while giving competitors real skills they can apply in their professional careers.


Find out more about the WorldSkills 2013 Skill #39 competitors (select WorldSkills Leipzig 2013 and Skill 39 from the drop-down menus).

How can competitions like WorldSkills help prepare  you for a career in IT?

“WorldSkills was helpful in my career path because it pushed me to strengthen my technical abilities, and exposed me to problem-solving scenarios that I had not seen before,” said Matt Vicari, a U.S. competitor in WorldSkills 2011 who is now employed as a network engineer at Dycom Industries. “I also met many other IT professionals from around the world that I still keep in touch with to this day.”

Gábor Szabó of Hungary, another WorldSkills 2011 competitor, said “I obtained a great deal of hands-on experience during the different competitions that I participated in. That experience proved to be an important factor in obtaining a job offer.” Gábor  is now employed by IT Services Hungary.

Did you know that the Networking Academy also hosts NetRiders, a skills competition exclusively for NetAcad students?  This competition takes place around the world with the help of local Cisco teams, governmental agencies, educational and industrial partners.  Apart from recognition and a great accomplishment to add to their resumes, top competitors from each region and the top overall female score win an all-expense paid trip to the Cisco Headquarters in San Jose, California.

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