At the age of 22, Nir Bar Natan is happily employed at Cisco, after an interlude in the Israeli army.

Enthusiasm for technology often starts at a young age, and by the time Nir Bar Natan was 17, he had already fulfilling a great ambition by gaining technical skills through the Cisco Networking Academy program in Israel.

He remembers his Networking Academy experience well. "I enjoyed the practical hands on activity, using high-level programs such as Packet Tracer, visiting Cisco, and being one of the 'chosen' ones to take part in this program," he recalls.

Bar Natan was introduced to the Networking Academy by his computer science teacher, who recognized the young man's potential and enthusiasm for technology. The program was challenging and Bar Natan's studies were not always easy, as he recounts; "The biggest difficulties I had to deal with were the constant use of the English language and the stress of taking exams." Despite this stress, Bar Natan passed his Cisco CCNA and CCNP courses and also completed a Cisco firewall specialist course.

Like the majority of young people in his native Israel, Bar Natan was required to undertake military service in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Fortunately, he was given the opportunity to develop his IT skills while serving his country when he was placed in a one of the IDF's technological units.

During his service, Bar Natan's talents were again noticed and he was recommended to Cisco by his commanding officer. After being discharged from the IDF, he took advantage of this recommendation and aimed to become part of what he describes as the "Cisco Family."

His efforts paid off, and now he is an enthusiastic and hardworking test engineer at Cisco. Bar Natan credits the qualifications and experiences he gained through the Networking Academy program for much of his career success. He explains, "It gave me the opportunity to be a part of a wonderful family, fulfill my dreams and become someone that I always wanted to be."