Cisco Regional Manager, Corporate Affairs, sub-Saharan Africa, Alfie Hamid

Emma Okonji

In celebrating its 20 years of operation in Nigerian, the Cisco Networking Academy, which is an initiative of Cisco to develop people in technology education, said it has trained over 7.8 million students in 180 countries, including Nigeria.

The Cisco Networking Academy (NetAcad) is the world’s largest technology classroom, partnering closely with 22,000 educators to deliver a curriculum that gives students digital, problem-solving and entrepreneurial skills needed to get a job, promotion or start entrepreneurial businesses.

In Nigeria alone, the NetAcad has trained over 101,000 students of which 41 per cent are female in the past 20 years and currently has over 32, 000 active students and an instructor population of 218 in 167 Academies, seven Academy Support Center (ASCs) and nine Instructor Training Center (ITCs).

With many industries experiencing a shortage of Information Technology (IT) talent, Cisco Networking Academy is developing a pipeline of IT talent to support digitisation in Nigeria.

Speaking at a press conference in Lagos recently, Cisco Regional Manager, Corporate Affairs, sub-Saharan Africa, Alfie Hamid said: “Cisco Networking Academy plays an essential role in Cisco’s commitment to positively impact over one billion people by 2025 through digitisation. For 20 years, Cisco Networking Academy has enabled people from all works of life to form part of the digital economy, positively changing the lives, incomes, and narratives of their families.”

Cisco General Manager in Nigeria, Olakunle Oloruntimehin, expressed Cisco Nigeria’s commitment to advancing skills in ICT saying, “As we celebrate 20 years of innovative IT teaching, we are proud that the Cisco Networking Academy has contributed to the growth of the Nigerian economy.

The crown jewel of Cisco Systems’ offerings is their Cisco Certified Network Associate curriculum (CCNA), which includes basic mitigation of security threats, introduction to wireless networking concepts and terminology, and performance-based skills. It’s aligns to industry recognised certification, which is what potential employers are looking for.
The curriculum, according to Oloruntimehin, could be a gateway to a number of careers—network technician, support engineer, network administrator, network designer, network engineer, amongst others.

Students who have benefitted from the initiative, are now gainfully employed as technology experts, while majority have set up their own businesses, employing young school graduates.

Bello Fathia, an SS 3 students of Federal Government College, Yaba, Lagos, who is currently taking some courses at the NetAcad, was able to design Smart School Solution that address security challenges schools. She was able to demonstrate how the solution works, during the press conference to celebrate the 20 years anniversary of NetAcad in Nigeria.

The Networking Academy learning experience includes e-learning curricula; personalised assessments; and hands-on opportunities such as labs, networking simulation software, competitions, and hackathons.