After graduating from his local networking academy in Bulgaria, 26-year-old Yasen Spasov discovered an opportunity to develop his marketing skills in Amsterdam.

Twenty-six year old Yasen Spasov was unsure of what he wanted to do after completing his Cisco CCNA training through the Cisco Networking Academy program in Bulgaria. Fortunately, Spasov discovered a promising opportunity to supplement his networking knowledge with marketing skills. “Luck struck,” he explains, “I came across an online advertisement for the Cisco Sales Associate program.”

The Sales Associate program is a year-long, intensive graduate program that aims to develop the next generation of Cisco sales account managers and systems engineers. Graduates can apply for either the Associate Systems Engineer or Associate Sales Representative track at training centers in Raleigh, North Carolina and Amsterdam, Netherlands. Participants gain sales, business, and finance skills as well as an understanding of Cisco networking products. They also learn how Cisco networking solutions can increase profitability, innovation, and competitiveness for customers.

After completing the rigorous application process, Spasov was invited to participate in an hour-and-a-half telephone interview. “And finally,” he recalls, “I had a full day of assessment at the Cisco office in Bulgaria. I completed a one-hour interview with one of the current systems engineers from Cisco, and I also had to deliver a technical presentation.”

Spasov believes that his CCNA training played a key role in helping him prepare for the interview, particularly the practical aspects. “The most useful part of being a Networking Academy student is having the ability to configure real devices and gain hands-on experience,” he says, “which is the best way to learn for many people. Another advantage is the materials that the academy provides. They are easy to understand and easy to follow, with many additional resources. Trainers are well prepared and, most importantly, there are people with real experience, who can explain concepts with examples.”

Spasov soon learned that he had been accepted to complete the Sales Associate training in Amsterdam. He opted for the more technical Associate Systems Engineer training, which includes workshops, lectures, teamwork, role-playing activities, presentations, and technical exams. He is currently completing his training with a diverse group of 132 individuals from 45 countries. As a participant, Spasov is enjoying the opportunity to interact with like-minded individuals from around the world. When he graduates from the program, Spasov will have the opportunity to work with both technical specialist and sales professionals to further develop his skills.