Cisco academy programme hones in on IoT as APAC shortage looms

  • Skills gap of over 400,000 networking professionals across APAC by 2016, IDC says
  • Cisco academy to deliver new portfolio consisting of IoT curricula, assessments, etc.

Cisco academy programme hones in on IoT as APAC shortage loomsCISCO Systems Inc said it would deliver a new portfolio for its Cisco Networking Academy programme to address a critical shortfall of skills in key new areas, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and industrial networking.
The company will invest in the development of 400,000 networking professionals over the next five years to help address an IT skills shortage in Asia Pacific, it said as it launched an IoT webinar series designed to inspire the next generation of IT talent to pursue careers in the industry.
This is in addition to the Cisco Networking Academy (@CiscoNetAcad) programme, which it claimed has trained more than 410,000 students with 239 instructors across 56 academies since its inception in Malaysia.
There are more than 10,000 students currently enrolled in academies across Malaysia, of which 39% of them are women, Cisco said in a statement.
“The network plays a critical role in the Internet of Everything -- it must provide an intelligent, manageable, and secure platform to support billions of people, intelligent devices and ‘things' (such as sensors),” said Albert Chai (pic above), country manager for Cisco in Malaysia.
“Through the Cisco Networking Academy and our world class certification programme, we can address the skills gap in Malaysia and position graduates for the exciting world ahead, in which nearly everything will be connected,” he added.
The skills gap was outlined in the IDC study The Evolution of the Networking Skills Gap in Asia/Pacific, which was commissioned by Cisco.
The report stated that by 2016, there will be a skills gap of over 400,000 networking professionals across the region, which will represent a segment of the two million unfilled ICT-related jobs globally within 10 years.
Without investment in skills, technology progress will not translate into productivity growth, and Asia Pacific will not be able to compete in an increasingly knowledge-based global economy, Cisco said in its statement.
Over the next 10 months, the webinar series, which is available to all Networking Academy students, will cover various aspects of IoT and the career opportunities it offers. The series will be a combination of both in-person and virtual content using Cisco's own collaboration technologies such as Cisco TelePresence, Cisco WebEx and Cisco TV.
Based on Cisco's projection of 10 billion connections today to 50 billion by 2020, knowledge-based jobs will become more pervasive in an IoT-driven world, the company said.
According to a recent study published by the World Bank, the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector is rapidly growing, with an addressable market of US$800 billion globally, it added.
Recognising this projection, Cisco said it is committed to meeting the critical demand for high-skill workers through strategic programmes and collaborations for current and future generations.
To support talent enablement in key areas and reduce this growing skills gap, Learning@Cisco, along with its partners, will deliver a new portfolio, consisting of IoT curricula, assessments and an upcoming Cisco Specialist Certification to advance skills development in industrial networking.
This training and certification initiative, introduced at the Internet of Things World Forum, will help meet the growing need for specialised talent that can provide Internet Protocol (IP) networking expertise, with a focus in automation, manufacturing and energy and future expansion to include equally transformative industries, Cisco said.
The IDC report
For its report, IDC conducted 504 interviews in eight countries in Asia Pacific: Australia, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Interviews were segmented by vertical industry and size segments: Government, healthcare, telecoms, financial, manufacturing, retail/ wholesale, media/ broadcasting/ publishing, travel/ transport/distribution, natural resources and other services in companies with more than 75 employees.
Those interviewed included only companies that have inhouse ICT service staff, excluding IT staff used via outsourced delivery models.
Its findings include:

  • Almost half of the global unemployment is in Asia Pacific.
  • There is a networking skills gap for eight specified countries within Asia Pacific (Australia, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam).
  • Networking skills are in demand. The future demand for networking professionals requires an increase in essential and emerging skills development.
    • Essential: Routing, Switching, Wireless, VoIP (Voice over IP) and Security Skills (Security Skills were once a specialist skill; now they are classified an essential skill).  
    • Emerging: UC (Unified Communications), Video, Cloud, Mobile, Data Centre Virtualisation.
  • In 2012, there was a shortage of over 250,000 skilled networking professionals across Asia Pacific. By 2016, the skills gap will increase to over 480,000. 
  • Security skills are the most difficult to fill, with 82% of companies interviewed agreeing that they will need extra security skills in the next 12 to 24 months. 
  • 39% of respondents see more value in certification if they are recognised by the government. 36% of respondents see more value in certification if it is sponsored by technology vendors. 
  • 74% of respondents are expected to need multiple technology skills. This is the result of a need to offset the lack of skilled workers as well as to build a flexible pool of multi-skilled workforce.

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