Cisco networks to tap IT talent

Cisco is embarking on an ambitious drive to take advantage of IT professional talent across the world.

The company has created the Cisco Learning Network', a Web 2.0 community which is designed for seasoned professionals as well as individuals looking for a career in IT. Networking professionals across the world will be able to use the community to collaborate through document sharing, open forum discussions and idea exchanges.

As well as this Cisco also made major changes to its career level certifications, with the introduction of three concentrations, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice and CCNA Wireless.

Cisco said it was designed to expand competencies and skills in the CCNA curriculum, but also make sure that individuals would be able to step into careers involving the sophisticated converged networks of today.

Cisco said that as networks continue to stimulate economic growth, collaboration and human interaction, the need for networking talent would grow in importance.

"To address the growing global demand for networking talent, we estimate that we will need to double or even triple our certified individuals over the next five years," said Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, general manager of Learning@Cisco.

"We have added two more critical components to our companywide initiative to address the global IT talent shortage, accelerate the development of the information economy and improve the productivity of this vital technical community."

The Cisco Learning Network has social networking features such as blogs, wikis and forums which would enable individuals to discuss and interact with experts in network design, implementation and operations. It would also help Cisco's education strategies by providing real-world feedback.

A recent study was commissioned by Cisco and conducted by Forrester Consulting that said 36 per cent of surveyed global companies already had dedicated wireless specialists in their IT organisations, and that this percentage was likely to double in the next five years.

Network security specialists were found in 46 per cent of companies and expected to double to 80 per cent in five years while 69 per cent were predicted to have a dedicated voice specialist.