E86 - David Alicea at Cisco

Antonio Costa

By Antonio Costa

Our Senior Vice President, Antonio Costa was joined by David Alicea, the Systems Architect at Cisco on this episode of The Route to Networking. David and Antonio discuss a wide range of topics from how he got into the industry to the current trends happening within the space such as hiring expectations for junior roles to how the Networking Security space will evolve in the future.

Getting to his current position as the Systems Architect took a while. There were a couple of instances through his journey where he tried to join Cisco, but it didn’t work out. The journey started back in high school when he got the opportunity to do the Cisco Networking Academy course. Half of it was learning the Networks and the other half was being able to attend a university for 2 days a week as college credit, getting ahead of his studies before going to university. Although doing this course was beneficial, his calling at that time was database administration, for which he decided to take his university degree but, he still had bills to pay and so he got a job at the university on their help desk. From there he was able to build a relationship with the full-time Network Administrator of that campus and the Network Team which slowly started to open doors for him.

Working at the university is all education 24/7. Luckily once he got a full-time job outside of that role, they helped pay for some of his education. He took advantage of that and finished his bachelor’s and went on to take two master’s degrees.

If you can spend the time, money, and resources to go to university then do it. If you can take certifications, then do them. Study on your own, open a book and do as much as you can to gain that knowledge because it will open doors for you.

Of course, he has been challenged throughout his career, but David believes that these challenges are where we learn and grow. He has made plenty of mistakes over the years but doesn’t see this as a negative thing at all. In fact, it is where you learn from your mistakes and are able to make better decisions in the future.

An average day…

He starts his day with a coffee, which he claims is an essential part of his morning routine. He gets up shortly after 7-7:30 am where he will check emails and give himself to any admin that needs to be kept up to date. His role in general consists of looking at what the customer needs and what issues they’re having and then setting up meetings with them so they can go through these things. Also, it gives him the opportunity to introduce them to the technology they may or may not have been introduced to yet or perhaps that they are shying away from.

The industry is constantly evolving along with technology, but one thing in particular that will evolve, and grow is the Network Security space. David sees a lot more automation orchestration around that area. Many companies are trying to do more with less and when we think of these online attackers, they won’t stop so technology-wise, there’s only so much you can do with a security team. This is where automation will come in and make it an easier and safer environment.

David shares some great advice on the best places to start if you want to get started in the Networking space. Listen to the full episode now to hear what he says!