Kieran concludes the first phase of the RNC I Can campaign, changing perception of disability.
Read his blog below to hear what he has to say about Cisco and being the face of a national campaign…
My name is Kieran and I am one of only 5 learners studying at the Cisco Academy at the Royal National College for The Blind (RNC).
I’ve always enjoyed computing and IT, studying it at GCSE level, and then a BTEC diploma (which I was still working on, alongside the Cisco Academy.)
When I was asked if I wanted to become part of the Cisco Academy, I jumped at the chance as I am familiar with Cisco and I know how big the corporation is, both in the UK and all over the world. I was very keen on the idea of having an internationally recognised networking qualification. I really enjoyed undertaking my CCNA1 as it presented new challenges for me and also knowledge and skills I could only have dreamed of.
I couldn’t have done any of it without the help and support from RNC instructors Grahame and Leanne; they were always available to answer any questions that any of us had whether it was something to do with a command in the Cisco IOS operating system or to explain something to do with IPv6. I think the thing I liked most about the Cisco course is that as learners, we would always bounce questions and ideas off each other and sometimes these questions would branch off into totally different discussions with the whole group.
I really loved the whole Cisco course but if I had to pinpoint one particular moment that I could call a favourite, it would have to be finally grasping working with subnets and working out the network address, first usable host, ETC of a network from its address. Grahame had a brilliant resource he had found which was a subnet generator and I can honestly say that once I’d figured it out I probably spent about a week, when I wasn’t busy, on this site working my poor brain. It kept me quiet at least!
I’ve always dreamed of a job in IT and becoming a part of the Cisco Academy made me realise that there was a very different line of career prospects and opportunities that I had never even thought of. But, having been shown what Cisco could do for me and others possibly not now, but in the not so distant future, it seems an achievable goal. Why not now, you may ask? Well personally I feel I need more training and a better understanding at a more in-depth level through CCNA2. That might not be your view, and if you want to offer me a job, I certainly won’t say no!
When I was asked if I wanted to be the face of the ‘I Can’ campaign I was originally sceptical as I wasn’t sure if it was presenting my sight problem in the way I see it. (Pun fully intended). In the end I agreed to do it but made it clear that I didn’t want anything patronising; for example, “look at what this blind person can do! Isn’t he/she brilliant?” I personally feel that this is wrong and I will never opt for the sympathy vote when it comes to my sight problem. I don’t let it define me. It’s just something I’ve learned to live with and accepted as a way of life. I guess my point is, I’m not anything special. I’m just a regular 18 year old with a passion for IT and networking.
If you’d like to keep in contact with me or ask me any questions about Cisco or, anything really, tweet me @dj__k