The field of computer networking has evolved tremendously over the past 20 years, from the dawn of the internet to the increasingly complex information systems we use today.
Sergio Gonzalez has been working in the field since those early days, graduating from his first technical engineering program in 1998.
Since then, he's earned degrees in information technology and education, and accumulated over 20 years of experience in networking and IT security roles.
Sergio's passion for teaching brought him to Herzing College, where he's recently become an instructor for the Computer Networking Technology program.
This week, we chatted with Sergio to learn more about his fascinating background and get an inside look at the program.
Meet the instructor, learn about networking careers, and find out what to expect in class.
Q: Can you tell us about your education and professional background in computer networking?
Sergio Gonzalez: I have a Bachelor degree in information technologies with a minor in educational technologies.
Even before finishing my technical education in the late 1990s, I joined a company as a team lead operator in a big telecommunications datacenter.
Since then, I have worked as a systems engineer, systems administrator, security analyst and teacher, among other roles.
Q: Which networking certifications do you currently hold?
Sergio Gonzalez: My certifications are more focused on security and include ISACA Cybersecurity Fundamentals and ISC2 CISSP.
Q: What inspired you to become a computer networking instructor?
Sergio Gonzalez: From an early age, I was always helping and tutoring my peers in physics and math and other challenging subjects.
During university, I joined a company that taught children how to use computers. These were my first experiences in teaching.
Later, when I joined an IT company, they recognized my skills in communication so they put me in a teaching role, training clients and helping them prepare for certifications.
I have taught in both the public and private sectors and worked with students of all ages. Getting positive feedback from students and watching them learn and succeed inspires me to continue teaching.
Q: What is unique about the Computer Networking Technology program at Herzing College?
Sergio Gonzalez: In addition to offering students comprehensive training in just 12 months, one of the biggest benefits is the student-focused nature of the program.
At Herzing College, the classes are kept quite small, so students get a high level of personalized attention.
This lets instructors work with individual students to help them overcome challenges and achieve their goals. In the same way, talented students get the support and feedback needed to take their skills to the next level.
There is a lot of hands-on training, focussed on building real world networking skills. This approach combined with the one-to-one attention really makes the Computer Networking program unique.
Q: What are the most valuable networking skills students learn in this program?
Sergio Gonzalez: I would say analytical skills, self-confidence and problem-solving skills. Most technical skills are fairly easy to learn and improve through training and practice.
But soft skills are harder to develop and therefore more valuable. For example, the ability to adapt, meet new challenges and solve new issues that you are presented with at work.
In the IT field, technology changes rapidly and often become obsolete. You need to constantly evolve, learn new tech, and stay ahead of the curve.
These are precious skills and traits companies are always looking for.
Q: What do students learn during their internship?
Sergio Gonzalez: Students are expected to practice technical as well as soft skills during their internship. Tasks can range from technical support to network administration to network security operations.
It's a great opportunity to get some real networking experience prior to graduation.
Q: What kinds of networking jobs can students get after graduating from Herzing?
Sergio Gonzalez: The program focuses on networking and security. So, graduates are fully qualified for technical support specialist and network administrator jobs.
Roles in technical support require strong communications skills, so we work on that during our training program. At the same time, we’re teaching technical skills required to solve problems in networking and security.
We also provide solid preparation for several certification exams, including CompTIA A+, Networking+, and Security+.
Q: What are the most-wanted networking skills right now? What are employers looking for?
Sergio Gonzalez: After many years of focusing on technical skills, it seems the trend is shifting toward candidates with relevant soft skills, such as self-confidence, flexibility, communication and problem-solving skills.
You still need a strong foundation in networking and security - but you also need the ability to adapt those skills as the landscape evolves.
Q: Do students need some background in IT to take the Computer Networking Program at Herzing?
Sergio Gonzalez: No, you don't really need a background in IT, but of course, we welcome students who have previous experience in the field.
The students who do best in this program are curious, self-learners, hard workers, flexible, adaptive, and creative thinkers.
These are really important traits to work in computer networking and security.
Thank-you, Sergio, for giving us an inside look at the computer networking program and career path. We're very lucky to have you on the faculty at Herzing College!
Learn more about the Computer Networking Technology program
Herzing College offers a 12-month Computer Networking Technology diploma, available at our campuses in Toronto, Ottawa, and Winnipeg.
This program is also available online.
Graduates are prepared for roles such as network administrator, security analyst, technical support specialist, and network technician.
Courses include preparation for several top certifications including Linux, CompTIA Net+, and CompTIA Security+.
Click below to explore the program in more detail and chat live with an Admissions Advisor. We're here to help!