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We are facing a growing IT skills gap that threatens our long-term economic prosperity and security. Simply stated, today’s workforce doesn’t have enough workers with the right skills to support a fast-changing technology landscape.

In fact, ManpowerGroup’s 2023 Global Talent Shortage survey found that 77% of companies are reporting difficulty finding the skilled talent they need—up 2% from 2022. As a result, 71% of organizations are forced to upskill and reskill their existing workforce to fill their IT skills needs.

While there are significant challenges to addressing the IT skills gap, National Online Learning Day on September 15 serves as a reminder to celebrate the array of opportunities that online learning and educational technology provide to students and learners around the world and how Cisco’s learning environments can help grow IT skills for new learners all the way up to expert IT professionals.

At Cisco, we know that it’s not any single program or approach that will solve the skills crisis. That’s why we look at development from every angle of the learning continuum. No matter where someone is in their learning journey, we meet learners where they are to prepare them for their future.

We offer courses in high-demand areas such as cybersecurity, networking, and programming aligned to entry-level certifications, as well as advanced training to support upskilling aligned to professional and expert-level certifications.

Cisco’s training and curriculum is available online in three ways:

  1. through our education partners
  2. direct-to-the learner, and
  3. alongside a third-party trainer.

Through Cisco Networking Academy, one of the longest-standing IT skills-to-jobs programs in the world, we provide curriculum licensed free to a partner ecosystem of educational institutions and organizations, offering 47 courses in up to 27 languages through 11,700 high schools, vocational colleges, universities, and nonprofits worldwide. Over the past 26 years, over 20 million learners have taken Networking Academy courses. We empower people everywhere with career opportunities through the power of technology and education. And we’ve focused on being inclusive to reach diverse communities and underserved people to transform lives.

At the entry level, Skills for All with Cisco Networking Academy offers learners free, self-paced, mobile-first courses to start them on their learning journey. For example, a learner can take courses to prepare for a role as a Jr Cybersecurity Analyst. Recognizing that technical skills alone are not enough in today’s workforce, Networking Academy recently launched new professional courses on Skills for All, including Engaging Stakeholders for Success, Discovering Entrepreneurship, and English for IT.

For tech professionals to reskill or upskill, and for our Cisco Customers and Cisco Partners, our training prepares learners for Associate certifications up to expert-level bootcamps and role-based skills training. This training is offered through Cisco Learning & Certifications.

The quality of our curriculum and courses are known and trusted for preparing learners for Cisco Certifications and other industry-recognized certifications. Learners pay to sit certification exams – from entry-level, associate, specialist, professional, and expert certifications.

Cisco’s newest online learning experience is Cisco U., which provides Cisco Learning and Certifications’ 1.3 million community members the guidance and depth of content they need to grow their skills, further their careers, and accelerate business outcomes leveraging Cisco Solutions.

Cisco U. enables all learners to acquire the skills they need for certifications and business outcomes, like network automation and cloud operations. It delivers an efficient and effective way to upskill across Cisco domains and technologies with online tutorials, podcasts, and hands-on labs, all supported by an engaging community.

Read next: New Entry-Level Cisco Certifications: CCST Gains Ground by Dave Free, Product Strategy Lead, Cisco Networking Academy


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Laura Quintana

Vice President and General Manager

Cisco Networking Academy

Par Merat

Vice President

Cisco Learning & Certifications