Saleh Albaladi, Student, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia
Students at King Abdulaziz University gain a competitive edge in the IT job market with practical, hands-on training and certification as part of the Cisco Networking Academy program.
Scarcity of Job Prospects in Saudi Arabia
After high school, Saleh Albaladi knew he needed more experience to find a job in Saudi Arabia. Many of his relatives were unemployed and prospects were not good. The unemployment rate is about 35% for men in their 20s and those with university degrees. The right type of education would make all the difference.
He enrolled in the 2-year diploma program in networking at King Abdulaziz University because it included the Cisco Networking Academy curriculum and sparked his interest in technology. He hoped the hands-on training and practical knowledge would give him an edge in the crowded job market.
The Cisco Networking Academy Advantage
The Networking Academy program at King Abdulaziz University offers students practical, hands-on training and certification as well as connections to employers who need their skills. As the IT industry grows in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East, employees with proven skills and respected certifications have an advantage over other applicants.
“Cisco Networking Academy training is different,” said Hashem Shahwan, Cisco Academy Manager for Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Lebanon. “The students use the equipment. They configure it. They are ready to work the day after they graduate.”
From Classroom to Career Pathway
Shortly after Saleh completed his degree, he found a position as a technician for Information Technology Company, Ltd. (ITC). Employers look for graduates who have attended Cisco Networking Academy because they know what they can do. “They are ready to work,” said Faisal Al Amri, Saleh’s manager and a senior engineer at ITC. “They have the know-how and hands on experience. We save a month or two of training.”
After a week of training on the company’s protocols, Saleh was out in the field setting up technology and configuring networks for clients. Saleh is investing part of his salary in himself by continuing his education online at Arab University, a virtual university, designed for working people who cannot attend daily classes. Saleh hopes to complete his bachelor’s degree then take the Cisco CCNA certification and pursue his Cisco CCNP as he continues to gain work experience.
Saleh's family is proud of all he has accomplished. Thousands of bachelor degree graduates cannot find jobs. Saleh did not have the resources to pursue a bachelor’s degree, but the opportunity to learn Cisco networking motivated him to earn a diploma. Now, he is able to continue his education, earn a living, and improve his prospects while contributing to the growth of the IT industry in Saudi Arabia.