Behind-the-scenes interview with NetRiders top Designer

On 3 July 2012 the Cisco Networking Academy's International NetRiders competition will take place for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEAR) regions, utilizing Cisco’s Web 2.0 technologies, designed to create interactive networking skills for its participants. NetRiders competitions are an amazing way for Networking Academy students to learn valuable Networking IT skills through hands-on experience through a series of online exams and simulation activities using Cisco Packet Tracer.It is anticipated that more than 10,000 students, from more than 90 countries, will participate at the national and international competitions this year. These competitions take place from February-November 2012 and are geared toward CCNA certification, CCENT certification and IT Essentials courses.

NetRiders International Competitions are rewarding for participants and behind-the-scene Designer, Bob Schoenherr

Playing a very important part, behind the scenes in this year’s NetRiders International competition is Bob Schoenherr. Bob is actively involved in the preparation as Designer, Content Developer and Technical Lead.  He plays a key role in developing the format, test questions and Packet Tracer activities for the summer 2012 competition.  His pre-competition preparations will involve verification of content against curriculum, CCNA certifications and International ITE standards. He also produced the competition pages that will be accessed by students and instructors and assisted in the design and operation of the NetRiders website. During the competition, Bob will remain situated in the competition’s background, readily available to assist in technical glitches that conceivably occur from time to time during a NetRiders competition.

So, what are the benefits of participating in skills competitions? “Apart from the hands-on practical experience, the competitive environment allows participants to go head to head against students from all over the world.  It’s also about creating an opportunity for the future,” Bob states. “NetRiders and other skills competitions give students exposure for internships and career opportunities and offer contestants development growth potential in networking and IT skills that prove beneficial.”  How true!  In fact, many NetRiders winners have gone on to succeed in the workforce, read more about these winners in the  I Got a Job section! Finally last, but certainty not least, the winners of the International competition will be rewarded with a Study Trip prize to visit Cisco in San Jose CA, in the US!

Winners from the 2011 International NetRiders competition during their Study Trip to Cisco HQ in San Jose, CA.

When we asked Bob if he had any special memories that stood out from past competitions he recollected his experience in the very first Asia Pacific International Competition. “We did the competition over Telepresence and I had suggested that each country bring a flag representing their country for the background of their TP, “Bob remembered.  “As we went around the TP rooms, it was a joy to see the surprise of the students on the clarity of the TP, making it feel like an in-person contest. Following that competition was cheering as a gesture of admiration for all of the participants, clearly suggesting that we are positively changing the world by connecting each other through the use of our technology.”



Insider advice for competitors

As a key role player in the development of this year’s International competition, Bob offers a bit of advice for students planning to participate.  He recommends that students who plan to participate in this year’s competition learn the materials, as opposed to memorizing the material.  “The best way to learn concepts is to create scenarios to be solved and then solve them.  Once students utilize the networking protocols, it makes the concepts easier to understand, thus giving you an advantage into the process of thinking your way through the exam questions as well as the Packet Tracer activities,” he advised.  He also suggests getting involved in computer and IT clubs in preparation for the competition. “Look for other competitions to hone your skills,” he added.  He encourages student competitors to find a mentor, or competitive partner, in order to share problem-solving concepts. “Don’t be afraid to test yourself.  Consider composing your own test questions and then proceed to answer them.  Find a good website that contains IT technical information as the basis for your self-written examination,” he concludes.

Find out more about NetRiders, and how YOU can participate: