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Ying Ying Yang Finds a New Life and Career in Australia as a Cisco Networking Academy Instructor

By Marcella O'Shea

Ying Ying Yang Finds a New Life and Career in Australia as a Cisco Networking Academy Instructor

By Marcella O'Shea

Published 05-15-24

Submitted by Cisco Systems, Inc.

Ying Ying and another holding signs "We Are CiscoNetAcad."

Ying Ying Yang migrated to Australia from China with qualifications as an electrical engineer, and confronted a challenge that many new migrants do: a language barrier.

“I studied Russian because my hometown was next to Russia,” she says. “I studied Russian until I finished university!”

She decided studying a course in English would help and enrolled in an IT Certificate course at TAFE New South Wales.

“I remember when I started in the Certificate III class, and I had a teacher who looked at me as though she was thinking ‘you even can’t speak English, how are you going to pass the subject?’ But I think I’m thinking, you know, you don’t know whether I can pass it or not, but I know I can pass it, so that’s how I got through, initially,” she says.

Falling into IT

“I had no intention to do IT, it was just by opportunity,” says Ying Ying. “Possibly you don’t have confidence to do things, but as long as you stick to it, you work hard towards it, eventually you can get some good results.”

Ying Ying did get those results. After passing her Certificate III, she started a Certificate IV course that included Cisco Networking Academy curriculum, and she was hooked, going on to get CCNA and CCNP certifications.

“I think the Cisco Networking Academy has got the best courses, especially when you’re just starting in IT, because they don’t just teach for their product,” she says.

“A lot of other vendors have an academy, but they focus on their product, but Cisco Networking Academy is really good for someone who has no IT background because it provides courses at different levels, and they actually give you knowledge which you need to know.”

“All the modules are well-organized, so easy to follow,” she adds, “and also the labs are really good.”

Change of direction

“I always encourage the students to do the fundamental courses, because IT is so big,” she says, suggesting that students can then decide what area of IT work they would like to get involved in.

For Ying Ying, that was teaching.

“My teacher really helped me a lot, and because she thought I was a good student she recommended me to my boss. They said, ‘we want you to join the instructor training.’ I didn’t think I could become a teacher!”

“My teacher changed my life, and I want to do the same for others,” she says.

“Some students really like to talk to me about their worries, and things that have happened in their lives and get advice. I feel that is something meaningful. Sometimes I’m really tired but I walk into the classroom, and I feel just like I had two coffees, and immediately I’m back to the work mode,” she says. “I just feel, just by chance, I found what I’m right at.”

Volunteering with refugees

Ying Ying’s determination to help others has extended to volunteering her time to help with a project with Community Corporate to train refugees with Cisco Networking Academy.

“The learners may have some background knowledge but because of the new environment, they are a bit shy to ask the questions to know where to start,” she says. “When it comes to the new environment, I just use my own experience and to encourage them, to give them some idea, because I’m an immigrant to Australia too.”

“Cisco provides a fabulous English course, English for IT,” adds Ying Ying. “We decided to give the students access to the course. It has a focus on IT terminology. I think that course is really good, and I review it to learn the words in the IT work environment to communicate with others. It is a good course!”

At home in Australia

Thanks to enrolling in that initial IT Certificate course, Ying Ying has found a new career, and is grateful to call Australia home. “I always tell students—especially when we have international students—the thing I really love in Australia is that we have opportunity,” she says.

“You can change your career at any point as long as you want it. My students include taxi drivers, accountants, and dentists. At some stage of their lives they decided to change to IT. I use them as role models to encourage other students. That’s how I started!”

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