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After a slow start in the IT industry, an ambitious young man from Saudi Arabia gained the skills that he needed to advance his career.
It took Mohammed Al-Kady less than two years to advance from directory operator to network engineer at the Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC). He believes his Cisco Networking Academy training played a significant role in his promotion. "It’s thanks to the Networking Academy program that I have become self-reliant in working with the latest technologies and equipment," says Al-Kady.
Faisal H. Al-Otaibi, Al-Kady’s supervisor at STC, agrees with this assessment. "Without having completed the Networking Academy courses, I am certain that Mohammed could not do his job as efficiently as he does," says Al-Otaibi. "I would encourage all my employees to join the Networking Academy." On a personal level, Al-Kady is delighted with the progress that he has made in his career. "Working as an operator was very routine and monotonous,” he recalls. “Within the networks department, I face new challenges and learn new things every day."
Al-Kady, now aged 33, is a highly motivated individual who is not afraid of a challenge. In 1997, he began working for STC as a directory operator, answering calls and providing the information that clients needed. "I was overqualified for the work, but this was the kind of job that was available to me as a high school graduate," he explains.
At around the same time, Al-Kady enrolled in the computer science program at King Abdul Aziz University. Over the next five years, he studied for his degree in the morning and worked at his job for eight hours each evening. "It is quite common here to work and study at the same time, but it is certainly tiring,” says Al-Kady. “I was determined to do it because I was interested in computing and noticed the career prospects in IT were very good."
Although networks were not a major part of his degree studies, Al-Kady developed a strong interest in networking technology. "Sometimes when we had a problem with the network, I would contact the technical support team, including the network engineers. I was struck by the innovative and creative approaches that they took to problem-solving, and I decided it was the job for me."
After Al-Kady had completed his degree in computer science, he was fortunate enough to obtain a technical support position within STC's IT department in Jeddah. His interest in networks continued to grow while working alongside colleagues who were qualified network engineers. "My new job showed me just how important networks are in the working environment, especially in a big company like STC. Networks are one of the most important factors in recent IT progress."
Cisco Networking Academy Delivers the Right Education
In order to pursue his growing interest in networks, Al-Kady recognized the need to supplement his degree with additional training. The solution presented itself when a colleague informed him that an academy was opening at the Jeddah International Computer Center. In January 2003, Al-Kady enrolled in the Cisco CCNA course, with the encouragement of STC management.
The course exceeded his expectations. "The program provided me with knowledge of the networking environment,” Al-Kady recalls. “I also discovered how LAN and WAN systems can be used to create a better work environment." He completed the CCNA curriculum in seven months and then passed the CCNA certification exam on his first attempt.
A few months after completing his studies, Al-Kady began a new job as an engineer within the networks department at STC. In this role, he oversaw the operation of networks that enable STC's business. "I had a great deal of independence in my new job, and was facing new challenges daily,” says Al-Kady. “I was learning to be flexible and to make bold decisions." Even before he had completed the CCNA course, Al-Kady discovered he could apply material from the Networking Academy to his daily work. "Everything I learned was relevant to the situations that I encountered in my job," he recalls.
Al-Kady believes that his Networking Academy studies also led to a recent promotion to the position of deputy manager of STC's networks department, which is a job that he very much enjoys. "I now have even more opportunity to put what I have learned into practice,” he says. “My current job is all about solving network problems. Every day, I encounter different issues, which may be at the level of the user, department, or an entire LAN or WAN. I also monitor network performance and use software tools to pinpoint the location of problems."
Al-Otaibi understands the value of Al-Kady's work. "His job is essential to our department's daily business of network planning, implementation, and maintenance,” says Al-Otaibi. “The skills and knowledge that he has gained from his training have had a strong positive influence on our daily work by helping us achieve better accuracy and reliability."
Al-Kady credits his career advancement to the Cisco Networking Academy and recommends it to anyone who is interested in working with networks. According to Al Kady, "the combination of technical knowledge and practical skills is your gateway to the world of networking.”