A bit of a shout out for @CiscoNetAcad as an Academy Instructor ...

In 1999 - yes that long ago, I did not plan to become involved with the Cisco Networking Academy. I was aware of Cisco Systems but had spent most of my time at that stage on Novell and Microsoft products.

Such were the times.

At work a colleague and I had created our own computer maintenance courses - undoing some serious damage by the electronics team who were obsessed with board level repairs and had already set up our own networking courses based on student demand.

Our senior management managed to acquire a substantial matched funded grant from the European Social Fund to deliver telecoms courses. Cisco fitted the bill and to be fair, senior management were none the wiser.

So - we had a plan, went for it - created our regional academy and to be honest, I did not expect to be doing what I do now. Still involved with the Cisco Networking Academy programme some seventeen years later.

Since coming into teaching, I have taught many subjects, networking the most prevalent. What I have always enjoyed about Cisco - is their attitude to corporate social responsibility - something that still remains. Rather than simply acquiring academies for gain - we created sustainable models and opportunities for students who may have never considered networking or any other sector in the computing/IT industry.

The programme has evolved over the years, I suppose that being an old hand I can become the occasional cynic. Been there, seen it, done it, wearing the t shirt (from an old conference) as well as the hat. Yet, there are always new students, new opportunities and new experiences.

While there are challenges for educators - getting Cisco to fit, encouraging others to see what one knows. I must give a shout out for thousands of Cisco Academy Instructors - old and new. Chances are they do a great deal outside of the spotlight - make real world networking work in education systems oblivious to their contribution.

This is not a new phenomenon - while education systems seeks new fads. With the Cisco Academy no longer being the hip new thing in many nations - it has the opportunity to enjoy the maturity to develop our network engineers and technical experts of tomorrow.

Now off to meet a couple of fellow Cisco instructors between whom we have around 50 years combined teaching experience.


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