“This is something I earned through my own ability. I see this as a testimony to my skills and my uniqueness – and a great stepping stone to my future.”
Eric Ho has just spent a week at Cisco HQ in San Jose, California. He and 18 other Networking Academy students got to meet with many Cisco executives and managers throughout the week. They learned how to communicate their nontechnical skills and had opportunities to build relationships that may lead to job opportunities.
The winners also toured the Cisco campus, meeting top engineers and the Packet Tracer team. The students also visited Stanford Univeristy, where the Cisco story began. They also had a chance to go sightseeing while they were there, and visited Santa Cruz, saw the coastal redwoods, and enjoyed the Santa Cruz Wharf. They rounded off their trip in San Francisco, taking in the sights and sounds of Union Square, a walk on the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, and dinner on Pier 39.
Sounds good, right?
Well, for the winners of the Cisco Networking Academy NetRiders Competition, the good stuff does not end there.
Just ask a few previous NetRiders champs how the competition has affected their lives, and you might be astonished by the answers.
Liviu Bleuto from Romania was one of the global NetRiders winners in 2011. The trip, he says, was the “experience of a lifetime.” But that’s not all. “My life changed after NetRiders. Employers came looking for me. That meant a better job, better pay, and a chance to buy a home for my family.”
Nicolas Maragliano also was on a NetRiders study trip as one of the 2009 winners. This young networking engineer from Argentina believes the competition “took away my fear of certifications. I’ve spoken to other students who took part in NetRiders, and they all feel the same.”
Ugandan champ, Mark Oganjole, who was one of the global winners in 2013, says his NetRiders win led straight to a “first job in my dream career.” A Voice and Data Engineer with Cisco Gold Partner, Copy Cat Ltd, Mark works with Cisco technologies and Cyberoam on a daily basis. “Participating in NetRiders not only impacted my career, it got me to where I am today,” he says. “The study trip made me think bigger, and helped me to see clearly where I wanted to go.”
NetRiding the Winds of Opportunity
NetRiders has been around for more than a decade. The competition kicked off in LatAm back in 2003 when the regional Networking Academy decided to incorporate student competitions in their academy conferences. The idea was that students with the top scores in their country would be invited to the conference.
The idea caught the imagination of other regional teams and six years later, NetRiders competitions took off globally, with the top scoring winners from around world invited to San Jose, California.
In 2014 alone, an impressive 10,000 students from 110 countries battled it out for the top scores. The 19 winners visiting San Jose this month come from 13 different countries – from Bahrain to Taiwan via Greece and South Africa, they all have one thing in common: when it comes down to hands-on skills, and keeping cool under pressure, these students have the networking chops to go the distance.
NetRiders: What, Who, and How?
So do you think you have what it takes to get involved? Well, the good news is that the NetRiders competition is open to current or recently enrolled Networking Academy students all over the world. So no matter where you are, you have the chance to take part and pit your skills against your fellow students around the globle.
The competitions kick off at a local level and wind up to regional or provincial and then national championships, whose winners go on to compete in four international finals. The finals are played out in the US and Canada; Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Russian/CIS, Middle East and Africa; Asia Pacific; and Latin America and the Caribbean.
The competitions themselves utilize Cisco’s technologies and are interactive networking skills contests, built around CCNA/CCENT and delivered through a series of online theoretical exams and simulation activities using Packet Tracer.
And the good news is that Cisco offers you practice sites where you can get a real feel for the types of questions and the exam formats. Available online for each region, these practice sites will put you through your paces across three exam types: CCNA/CCENT Theoretical Exam, CCNA/CCENT Packet Tracer Activity Exam and IT Essentials Practice Exam.
To register, all you have to do is head over to the NetRiders Competition home page and follow the simple six step enrollment process. There’s a short NetRiders enrollment video too that walks you through the registration process. You’ll find out when the next competition will be and get your access to the practice exams.
Building Skills for the Internet of Everything Age
The competition is a great way to build, practice, and showcase the networking skills demanded by employers in our constantly-evolving IT environment. And it can help prepare you for the world of work by exposing you to real-world trouble-shooting challenges and experiences.
Diana Pombo from Colombia is one of the 2015 Study Trip winners . Besides the thrill of winning, Diana says that the highlight of the experience was the competition itself: “I knew it was going to be very challenging but I was glad to find that also fun; all tests during the process were very entertaining and just being a participant in every phase was a victory for me.”
“Now I will be able to say that I’ve met in person one of the biggest technology companies in the world - and the people who are making the biggest impact in the way we communicate. For an electronics engineer passionate about networking, this is a dream come true.”
Read more about the 2015 Cisco Networking Academy NetRiders trip to California
Registration is open for the 2015 NetRiders competitions
NetAcad Advantage Reading Note: You can learn more about competing and how it helps strengthen your critical thinking skills. Building skills so you can be a competing force within the future workforce is critical to being successful. Not to mention, you also gain valuable experience that you can use on your resume to show employers that you have applied the skills you have learned in the classroom in an outside setting.