Mark of CA, USA in the United States thanks Thurgood Marshall for help with CCNA which led to a job in Software Consulting.
“The Cisco Network Academy was just starting when I attended. My journey through it is long and I haven’t reached the end yet. For me, it started with a great teacher and then later manager and mentor. He taught me that the best way to learn is to get into the guts of it and learn by doing. After I finished the CCNA course, I was immediately tasked with writing new labs for it and creating a “Teacher’s Guide.” When five routers were not enough to share with dozens of students, we sought out network simulations which I was tasked to QA. Eventually, I was tasked to develop our version of a network simulator that focused on learning and allowing learners to experiment freely. And that was just the first few years out of dozens more. Every task was new, challenging, and something that’s not been done before. Now, I cannot go a day without learning something new and most days involve creating software in that space.
My hope is that students who went through the program developed the same curiosity for learning by doing through the tools and guides that my mentor, Dennis Frezzo, and I had a part in creating.”
Mark of Minnesota, US thanks Wheaton High School & Alexandria Technical and Community College for help with Networking (CCNA & CCNP) which led to a job as a Customer Success Executive in the technology industry.
“My Cisco journey began in 1997 when my father, an industrial arts teacher in rural Minnesota, agreed to establish one of the first 100 Cisco Networking Academies in our high school. Since he knew nothing of Cisco or networking, his condition was that I take the class. Feeling both interested and obligated, I enrolled and unwittingly found my career path. I continued that journey by attending college for networking where I found myself piloting the first CCNP curriculum.
After college I spent 20 years consulting hundreds of customers with various technology initiatives. Just over a year ago I was pulled back into Cisco’s orbit when a friend, and fellow Cisconian, urged me to join Cisco. My current role is Customer Success Executive, where I leverage my prior experience to ensure customers are loving our solutions and realizing the value from their investments.
I still look back at the early days of the Networking Academy and cherish the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given as a result. An early highlight I have is presenting as a 17-year-old to George Ward, the godfather of the Networking Academy. We considered him a celebrity, but he was so kind and incredibly excited and passionate about the movement that was taking place. Much has changed with the Networking Academy since we accessed the first curriculum on CD (and later a local “micro-webserver”), but the spirit of curiosity and enthusiasm remains the same.
To say that Cisco has influenced my career greatly downplays the impact that this company has had on me. I am extremely grateful to finally be part of Cisco proper after all these years! Sadly, I lost my father 2 years prior to joining, but I know he would be proud and delighted that he agreed to embarking on the Cisco journey. Shout to Marv (dad)!“
Dominic of Canada and Hong Kong thanks Vocational Training Institute, Hong Kong for help with CCNA which led to a job as the Vice President, Government Affairs & Strategy in the tech industry.
“My first job when I joined Cisco in 1998 was as an Area Manager for the Networking Academy program. My job was to introduce the program to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea. At the time, I had been unemployed for six months, my work visa was expiring, my money was running out and my girlfriend was getting ready to throw me out. So I knew when I was offered the Cisco job that I better not screw it up! I decided the best way to start was to learn the curriculum too, so I studied alongside the other teachers in training and managed to earn my CCNA. Now, 24 years later, I am still at Cisco and have done all kinds of interesting roles. One role I was particularly happy about was to oversee the Networking Academy program for all of Asia-Pacific as part of the Cisco APAC Social Innovation Group. There is no question that the Networking Academy program had a huge impact on my life, and I am so grateful for it and for all the wonderful people I met through it.”