Former software developer Antonio Cunanan gained the skills needed to pursue his true passion.

Software programmer Antonio Cunanan pursued his dream job in networking by enrolling in the Cisco Networking Academy at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. Prior to joining the program, Cunanan had been working in the information and communication technology (ICT) field for three years. Although he enjoyed finding technical solutions to software problems, Cunanan’s real interest was networking, which provided the types of challenges he craves.

While searching for a job in networking, Cunanan quickly realized that his minimal knowledge of the subject wasn’t enough. “With my software development background, I knew it would be very difficult for me to apply for roles in the networking industry without a sufficient foundation in the basics of networking,” recalls Cunanan.

Cunanan learned about the Networking Academy courses offered at the University of Technology and decided to enroll in the program. He felt the courses would provide a valuable opportunity to develop the skills needed to succeed in the industry. “Cisco Networking Academy was the perfect place to learn about networking in a structured format,” says Cunanan. “The path leads all the way from the Cisco CCNA certification to the Mount Everest of certifications—the Cisco CCIE certification.”

Completing the Networking Academy courses while working full time required Cunanan to make several sacrifices. He spent many weekends and evenings on his coursework, leaving little time for friends and social activities. When asked how he found the time and discipline to study, Cunanan attributes it to passion. “I have an immense passion for networking, so maintaining the discipline to study was never difficult,” he explains. It all paid off when he landed his first networking job at Cisco almost immediately after earning his CCNA certification.

After entering the networking field, Cunanan was motivated to obtain more certifications. “I achieved both the Cisco CCNP and CCIE Routing and Switching certifications within a year of starting at Cisco,” says Cunanan. In September 2007, Cunanan, along with two other engineers from Cisco, were selected to lead a tutorial on the CCIE Routing and Switching certification exam at the annual Cisco Networkers conference. The eight-hour, interactive lecture and tutorial session was attended by 80 networking experts who also hoped to achieve their CCIE certification.

“The participants in the tutorial flew in from all over Asia Pacific to be part of the event,” Cunanan recalls. “I felt really honored to be in this unique position to give back to the networking community. Achieving the CCIE was a huge achievement personally,” he adds, “but to be given the opportunity to help others on their path to CCIE success was just as rewarding.”

After Networkers, Cunanan moved over to a prototype “solutions” team at Cisco. Up to that point, advanced technology teams at Cisco supported a particular technology such as voice, security, routing, or LAN switching. The solutions team, however, supports all three core technologies: voice, security, and routing. “As you can imagine, this was immensely challenging and presented a steep learning curve,” says Cunanan. “I thrived in the opportunity this presented and as a result, obtained my Cisco CCSP and CCDA certifications.”

Cunanan is currently pursuing his Cisco CCVP certification and hopes to achieve his CCIE Voice certification in the near future. In his current role, he supports some of the biggest networks in the world. “Every day, I work with global customers to help them solve and troubleshoot their network issues,” remarks Cunanan. “This is far beyond what I could have ever imagined when I started the course two years ago.”

Cunanan encourages anyone who’s interested in networking technologies to enroll in the Networking Academy. “This program allows you to gain the necessary theoretical and practical experience and understanding to succeed in the field of networking,” he says. This is evidenced by his remarkable career advancement and achievements.