Cisco Live: A Doorway to Opportunity for Networking Academy Students

Cisco Live offers Networking Academy students a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get their hands on real ICT experience at one of Cisco’s most prestigious customer events.

The NetAcad "Dream Team" at Cisco Live in the US

Each year, Cisco Live heads to key technology hubs around the world, showcasing the very latest in Cisco and partner technologies and trends in the sector. Our largest customer event, Cisco Live attracts no fewer than 200,000 attendees globally, and hundreds of thousands more via streaming; and features a diverse and dynamic lineup of events, including executive keynotes, technical sessions and labs, certification testing and the World of Solutions customer solution expo.

Any event of this size and impact requires a complex and expansive network to support attendees. And this is where Cisco Networking Academy students come in!

For several years now, Cisco Live Network Operations Center (NOC) has partnered with Cisco Networking Academy to create a win-win model for all parties. Students from academies around the globe are selected to travel to the venue and work alongside Cisco engineers in support roles.

For these students, hands-on learning from the crème de la crème in network engineering is combined with job shadowing and mentoring, exposure to the latest in ICT technology and careers, and a chance to meet Cisco leadership and customers.  It’s a unique opportunity to develop and showcase new skills, both technical and professional.

At Cisco Live Mexico, celebrated in Cancun in November 2012, 60 Networking Academy students joined the staff to help set up and maintain the NOC. They were also invited to participate in a learning event hosted by Cisco Systems engineers and the Universidad Tecnológico de Cancún, where they were able to meet high-ranking government officials. Watch the video about Cisco Live Mexico (in Spanish)

In May of this year, Cisco Live Australia gave four students a chance to support the ICT team at the largest event Cisco Australia and New Zealand has produced to date. Watch this video by NetAcad student Denis Komyza who shares his experience day-by-day at Cisco Live Australia.

For Maritza Concha, it proved to be “…the most exciting and greatest work experience ever. We had the opportunity to configure and troubleshooting in real time, and have a clear idea about a real fast-paced job in our future IT networking environment. This for me was absolutely valuable and will help me in my professional future.”

Stephen Ludlow agrees. “After my experience of being IT ambassador, and reflecting on my experiences working with industry professionals, I find my study methods have changed. I no longer just see the words and concepts as theoretical. I can envision their real world application, purpose, and impact on a network.”

Cisco Live 365 Content Manager, Daniel Gerson, who headed up the Cisco Live Support team in the UK in January this year, welcomes the chance to work with Networking Academy students. “The students are a perfect fit for us, as it gives them a chance to see how a massive event like Cisco Live comes together behind the scenes.  They are eager to learn, and there are many small jobs that are required onsite, which we can teach quickly.  Learning about the devices in a classroom is great for basic understanding, but when you see hundreds of devices deployed at a large event, the understanding for all the details really comes together.”

Cisco Event Marketing Manager, Lesley Henderson, who organized the London event agrees. “The event not only provides the students with greater insight into Cisco, but the fact that the students gave up their time to support the event demonstrates to future employers their eagerness to learn and progress within the marketplace.”

Participation at Cisco Live is open to Networking Academy students all over the world. Academies nominate their students and preference is usually given to students who have a clear interest in networking as a career, and those who have had some experience in a customer-facing role. Once students have been nominated, a selection process based on short video applications or interviews takes place to choose the final participants.

Joni Blakeslee, Senior Manager in Cisco Corporate Affairs, says, “Our students at Cisco Live, or the “Dream Team” as we call them, have demonstrated increasing value, providing excellent technical support to Cisco teams, and customer support to 20,000+ attendees. This year, the team was comprised of 10 academy students and two academy instructors. Selections were based on geographic representation, diversity, technical and professional skills, instructor recommendations, and activities outside the classroom.” Read more about Cisco Live in the US, as well as this Behind the Scenes interview.

As Daniel Gerson says, “…the event experience for these students is a trial by fire, and I think they learn a lot in a short period of time. They are tasked with a number of new responsibilities, and they must think on their feet to get everything accomplished. These conferences are industry-leading, and any IT professional will know of them. This can only help students in their job hunt, as they can refer to their accomplishments at Cisco Live.”

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