Happy New Year! As we wind down from the holidays, and start to act on those new years’ resolutions we’ve made, it’s time to start planning for the upcoming year.  In your personal life, you may resolve to lose weight, take up a sport, spend more time with family – whatever that resolution may be—but don’t forget to make professional resolutions as well.

As we found out in the 2020 Global Networking Trends Report, Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are radically changing the way modern networks are being designed, operated and resourced. That means big changes in the skillsets needed to run tomorrow’s networks. According to the 2000 IT leaders and network strategist we asked, the biggest skill gap is in analytics, AI and machine learning. As a network manager or IT leader, are you prepared for these changes? How can you prepare yourself and your IT teams for these technologies? Are you instilling a culture of continuous learning in your team?

Depending on your organization’s goals and maturity, there are several new year’s resolutions you can consider to accommodate these emerging networking trends.

  • Upskilling Leadership: As a leader, you need to be a good example for your team and model positive learning behaviors. Be sure that you keep your own skills honed on the latest technology. Even just keeping up on the latest reports, tech blogs, magazines and tech influencers can help you keep in touch with what is happening in the IT landscape, and make you better able to make decisions.
  • Enhancing Existing Talent’s Skillsets: Teams shouldn’t have to spend their weekends, evenings and vacations to upskill. On your teams, be sure to encourage learning during the workday, and even build goals around it. For example, each member of your team could prioritize going to one conference per year, paid for by the company, to learn more. Learning—especially when team members choose their own development—can help diversify skillsets, improve technical competencies, and improve decision making capabilities, and ultimately improve business and operational outcomes. For specific AI skills, Cisco’s DevNet has an AI Learning Lab 101 and a Sandbox, which you can try on their AI site.
  • Sharing Skills Among the Team: Team members can’t just keep their newfound skills to themselves. If you have regular team meetings, each member can be called on to share something that they’ve learned with the team, or you can have specific lunch-and-learns around specific topics.  More experienced team members can be subject matter experts, or mentors to more junior members.  This also encourages collaboration and teaches people management skills.
  • Hiring External Talent: Sometimes, you need to look outside your organization for a specific skill set or just a fresh set of eyes on the problems you’re trying to solve. External talent is great for quickly bringing in new expertise and skillsets that would take too long to develop organically in your team.  When selecting external talent, be sure to select them based on skills and proficiencies that are measurable through certifications. It shows not only that they are familiar with the latest technologies, but that they have hands-on experience and have a commitment to keeping their skills up-to-date.

 What are your career and talent priorities this year?  Comment below and let us know.


If your priorities include certification, check out our updated Cisco certification portfolio.  You can register now for the new exams and continuing education that will begin February 24, 2020, and you can begin earning training badges for courses completed after February 24, 2020, too.

AI and ML certifications won’t be available right away, but you can get a head start on other certifications to upskill your team.


For more information on individual programs and overall certification changes,
head to our DevNet Certifications page or to the Cisco Learning Network.



Joe Clarke

Distinguished Engineer, Customer Experience

Customer Experience