Drive, humor, intelligence and enthusiasm shine through Ike Ozurumba's blog and YouTube videos. The MATC information technology (IT) network specialist associate degree student believes that the passion and humor captured in his social media accounts helped earn him a spot as one of only 10 students selected from the United States and Canada to serve on the Cisco Live Dream Team.
Chosen by the Cisco Networking Academy, Dream Team members provided technical support for exhibitors at the Cisco Live national convention and trade fair in Orlando, Fla., in late June. The convention drew about 20,000 people and covered four floors of the Rosen Centre. The students helped troubleshoot network connectivity issues for exhibitors.
Ike the Network Guy
Each institution was allowed to nominate only one student for the team. When MATC IT networking instructor Layne Davis approached Ozurumba about the opportunity, he was immediately intrigued. "Working for Cisco is the pinnacle of a networking job," Ozurumba said. "I would love to work for Cisco in the future. When the chance to apply for the Dream Team came up, I was very excited." Armed with his social media handle "Ike the Network Guy," which was suggested by MATC IT instructor Anthony Stanislawski, Ozurumba developed his YouTube application for the post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aypwmEizRLo
"I think the branding I use in social media does help to raise my profile," Ozurumba said. "There is a lot of competition out there."
The Cisco Networking Academy is designed to help individuals prepare for industry-recognized certifications and entry-level information and communication technology careers. Cisco Systems, Inc., designs, manufactures, and sells internet protocol (IP)-based networking and other products related to the communications and information technology industries, holding more than 50 percent of the market share in networking solutions for businesses throughout the world.
Ozurumba (far right) poses with other members of the Cisco Networking Academy's 2013 Dream Team.
Members of the Dream Team worked to ensure internet connectivity in the Cisco Live World of Solutions Center.
Cisco paid hotel, airfare, food and other expenses for members of the Dream Team, as well as paying for each participant to take a networking certification test as a bonus. During the conference, students were introduced to Cisco's highest profile managers and invited to special events, including the evening Cisco rented Universal Studios solely for the enjoyment of conference attendees and staff. A high value was placed on giving students on the Dream Team special opportunities, Ozurumba said. "Cisco does a great job of investing in students as the future of the company."
Dream Team Acted as First Responders for Connectivity Issues
Armed with two-way radios and based in the World of Solutions Center, members of the Dream Team served as "first responders helping vendors with internet connectivity issues," according to Ozurumba. Because vendors pay hefty fees to exhibit at the conference, any downtime is stressful and expensive for them. Troubleshooting their connectivity issues had to be quick and effective, he said. "We got the full blown experience of being under time pressure to get the network up and working again."
The conference center was huge, so members of the Dream Team literally walked about 16 miles a day to assist the vendors and worked 18-hour days, Ozurumba said. Each night when he returned to his room, Ozurumba wrote another installment of a blog about his experiences, which can be found at http://www.ikethenetworkguy.blogspot.com/
"It was a huge learning experience for me," he said. "Until now, all my experience in networking has been in college. This was my first real world networking experience. That's why it was so fascinating."
Computers 'Rule the World'
Ozurumba has long been intrigued by computers, the internet and how they are connected. "Computers rule the world – literally," he said. "I like being part of how everything is connected and maintained. IT networking is one profession that won't ever go away. People will always be needed to maintain the internet."
He said chose to attend MATC because the IT networking program has a good reputation and the education is affordable. "I choose to put myself through college by paying for tuition and books out of pocket to avoid debt," Ozurumba said. "This just wouldn't be possible with some other colleges or universities in the area."
Ozurumba is pleased with his MATC education and is very impressed with the support he gets from his instructors. "All the IT teachers are very supportive," he said. "If you put forth the effort, they get very excited to help you." In addition to recommendations from Davis and instructor Brian Kirsch for the Cisco Live experience, he is quick to credit Stanislawski with helping him understand the importance keeping up his social media presence.
The Cisco Networking Academy allowed each member of the Dream Team to take one free Cisco certification examination during the conference. Ozurumba celebrates after learning he passed his CCENT exam.
"Computers rule the world – literally. I like being part of how everything is connected and maintained.
IT networking is one profession that won’t ever go away. People will always be needed to maintain the internet."
'Off the Grid' Side to Ozurumba
As much as Ozurumba loves computers and cutting-edge technology, he also has what he calls his "off the grid" side. He loves gardening, hunting and meat processing, "the way people did before refrigeration," he explained. "I like to make my own food. I make sausages, bacon and hot dogs from scratch. I love the juxtaposition of being committed to technology and making and growing my own food. I'm fascinated by skills that don't use technology. I think everyone should have a skill that doesn't utilize technology."
In part, he is drawn to charcuterie and gardening as a conscious effort to make sure he has broad interests. "When a lot of people get into IT jobs, they tend to only talk about networking,' he said. "I want to stay interesting. I don't want to be that guy that no one understands. I want to have broad interests."
A strong sense of curiosity drives him to always learn more. "I always want to be the first person who knows how something works," he said.
Ozurumba discusses connectivity issues with MATC IT networking instructor Layne Davis (left).
Davis nominated Ozurumba for the Dream Team.
To learn more about MATC's IT network specialist associate degree program, visit: