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Debbie goes from being a full-time mom to a dynamo in networking


In Latin Hispanic Heritage Month, we have fun all of our college students and alums from these communities who’ve joined ours, by way of Cisco Networking Academy’s IT skills-to-jobs program. Debbie Gomez is one super-inspired particular person who’s sharing her ardour for expertise in her communities. As Founding father of Networking Academy’s Ladies Rock-IT Program, I take nice pleasure in sharing the impression of this program with folks like Debbie and the onflow impression they’ve of their communities.

“I’m not in search of a job, I’m in search of a profession.”

When “born and bred” Texan, Debbie Gomez, went from being a full-time mom of three kids to being a scholar at Collin County Group School, you may be forgiven for considering it was a chance to decelerate a little bit.  

Apparently, that’s not in Debbie’s DNA—getting concerned and serving to folks is. At the same time as a faculty scholar, Debbie spent summers in Mexico studying Spanish from the native kids and instructing them English in return. It shouldn’t be a shock that when she enrolled in faculty, she would go all-in. 

IT was Debbie’s first selection 

IT was Debbie’s first selection, as a result of she had seen information tales in regards to the demand for cybersecurity consultants. “I’m not in search of a job, I’m in search of a profession,” she says. “Once I enrolled at Collin School I began as a cybersecurity main, however after taking some NetAcad courses I noticed that I’m actually keen on the blinking lights—the routers and the switches—a lot in order that I modified my main to laptop networking.” 

Debbie Gomez meets Laura Quintana
Debbie (proper) meets Laura Quintana, VP & Normal Supervisor Cisco Networking Academy (left)

Assembly extra ladies in IT 

“I attended Ladies Rock-IT in my first semester, I met plenty of ladies within the trade, and one factor I actually cherished is that they get to journey and work. I would like to have the ability to have that chance,” she says. 

One other huge a part of the attraction to networking—and the Academy Program—was the hands-on expertise on supply.  

Cybersecurity at Collin 

“Cybersecurity at Collin is extra theoretical, and I used to be in search of extra technical,” she says. “Once I was in a position to mess around with the switches, methods to patch cables, all of that received my consideration…and there’s plenty of safety concerned in laptop networking as properly, it’s virtually just like the gatekeeper, in order that’s what I actually loved.” 

Debbie says she’s not alone in switching from the four-year Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Diploma course at Collin to the two-year Pc Networking Affiliate’s Diploma, and has even petitioned the school to increase the Bachelor’s program to incorporate laptop networking. She’s hoping the school makes the change, regardless that it could occur after she’s already accomplished her research. “It might be my legacy,” she says. 

It wouldn’t be her solely legacy at Collin. 

Networking with neighbors  

When Debbie first began IT Necessities, she realized plenty of individuals had earlier expertise that she lacked. “Virtually all people that begins in tech has some sort of background in expertise,” she says.  

“They’d most likely constructed a pc. I had not. I’d by no means opened a pc earlier than. So, making an attempt to maintain up with the tempo of the category, and desirous to spend extra time on the tools, I made a decision I wanted one thing to mess around with at dwelling,” she says. She put a notification in her neighborhood app asking whether or not anybody had any tools to donate. “I didn’t care if it labored or not, I simply wanted to interrupt it aside.”  

“I had an enormous response, there’s plenty of IT professionals who gave me switches, routers, wi-fi entry factors, plenty of stuff,” she says.


Club event with mascot
Debbie as mascot at membership promotion to college students

Membership collaboration at Collin

Patrick Evans, Self-discipline Lead – Pc Networking Program, Collin County Group School, says the response was most likely so huge as a result of the Dallas space is a tech hub, housing quite a few acquainted tech companies, and even a giant Cisco Buyer Expertise Heart on the identical street as one of many Collin School campuses. 

Beginning in with the tools in her storage, Debbie invited classmates to come back over and collaborate, and, with the encouragement of Professor Evans, ultimately shaped the Pc Science and Engineering Membership.  

The membership presents a platform for mentorship and networking and is extra standard than Debbie may have imagined. “I’ve by no means led a membership earlier than, we began very small, it was identical to 5 members,” she says. With greater than 200 present members, “we’re the largest membership proper now within the IT heart—we continue to grow!” 

Debbie makes the Networking Academy Dream Workforce 

If persevering with to take care of her household, finding out, operating the membership, and a few internships weren’t sufficient, Debbie was additionally a part of the Dream Workforce at Cisco Dwell in Las Vegas in June 2023.  

The Dream Workforce consists of 5 Networking Academy college students who’re chosen from throughout the Americas, to work alongside Cisco engineers to assist arrange and keep the community on the occasion.  

At Cisco Buyer Expertise Heart, Richardson, Texas (Debbie second from proper)

“It was superior to be taught from the community engineers,” she says. “I’m so glad that Professor Evans taught me methods to patch cables…it got here in helpful, as a result of the opposite Dream Teamers had by no means accomplished that earlier than. So I ended up exhibiting them methods to put an RG45 on a cable!” 

“It was superb,” she says. “It was probably the greatest occasions of my life. It was assembly lots of people, assembly plenty of Cisco executives, studying from them, serving to arrange the community…it was very exhausting, nevertheless it was completely price it.” 

Certifications to safe the dream 

As if Debbie weren’t engaged sufficient, she has additionally accomplished the pre-apprenticeship part of the Cisco CX Apprenticeship Program.  She achieved the required CCNA certification and is presently self-studying for the DevNet certification. DevNet is a requirement to finish throughout the second half, which is six months full-time paid work as a Technical Consulting Engineer inside Cisco’s Buyer Expertise group. “My dream profession is to work for Cisco,” she says.  

Within the meantime, she’s getting ready to take CCNP, her remaining class at Collin School earlier than commencement within the Spring of 2024.  

If the sheer variety of actions Debbie has engaged in since returning to review appears overwhelming, she dismisses it breezily: “I’m from Texas,” she says, “go huge or go dwelling!” 

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