Skills Competitions Key to Job Offer

Since early childhood Gábor Szabó has experienced developing interests in everything related to computers. At first, he played with the keyboard, later adding and taking apart components, eventually streamlining pieces to learn how they operate together.  As he advanced in age and school years, it became obvious that he would set his academic sights on a school where he could gain an education in the IT field.  Thus, he chose Mechwart András Secondary Technical School, which he refers to as “the best secondary school in the IT field in Hungary,” his home country.  It was during his final semester at Mechwart where Gábor became familiar with networking and Cisco.

"Pay attention to competitions. They offer a great deal of experience in preparation for a job." - Gabór Szabó

After his studies, Gábor moved on to work as a Network Administrator at IT Services Hungary, (a subsidiary of T-Systems International, Inc.), where he is part of a team that works together to manage and implement changes on a large networking system.

Because IT Services Hungary works in cooperation with the top academy school, Mechwart András High School students, like Gábor, are often contacted by the company and offered  the opportunity to practice real work environment situations while learning, eventually leading to a job offer at the end of his Networking Academy courses.

Landing an initial opportunity with a large company, leading into a successful career, isn’t always easy and can be quite intimidating for new graduates.  Gábor recalls some key elements that helped him obtain his position as a Network Administrator.  He remembers that hands-on experience, most importantly, helps employers evaluate potential employees by corresponding them with current job opportunities. Secondly, he recommends Networking Academy skills competitions which helps participants platform their skills while networking with peers.  Gábor raised his level of expertise in the EuroSkills competition in Lisbon in 2010 and WorldSkills 2011 in London, placing 1st in the nationals and 7th internationally in WorldSkills and 1st in the national round of EuroSkills, finishing 4th internationally.

“I obtained a great deal of hands-on experience during the different competitions that I participated in.  That experience proved to be an important factor in obtaining a job offer,” recalls Gábor.

Taking on challenges

“I was participating in many competitions during my final semester at Mechwart.  It was very challenging to prepare for competition, as well as rewarding to finish in a good place,” he recalls.  Those challenges helped Gábor with life encounters. “In real-life networking, every day there are challenges.  There is always something new, an unforeseen problem, or a new piece of technology discovered to learn more about.” Gábor credits the courses that he participated in with Cisco as assisting him in mastering a variety of developmental skills applicable to his job and his everyday life.  “The Cisco courses are well sequenced.  I appreciated the beginning courses that focused on theoretical aspects, followed by the many hands-on laboratories.  This has greatly assisted me grasping different technologies,” he added.

Gábor emphasizes the importance of competition participation for those seeking to further their careers in the field of technology.  “Pay attention to competitions.  They offer a great deal of experience in preparation for a job.  Go for Cisco certifications, learn and love what you are doing,” he adds.

Future Plans

Gábor is in the process of earning his Cisco CCNP certification after graduating earlier this year from the University of Debrecen as a System’s Engineer.  He has his sights set on obtaining his CCIE Certification to continue enhancing his career as a technological service provider.  Apart from certifications, he also has an interest in working abroad.