My Expertise as a First-Time Cisco Reside Speaker

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Once I stepped into the world of expertise, I by no means imagined I’d see today so early in my profession. Since I’m a reasonably current addition to the Cisco household, the chance to attend Cisco Reside in Las Vegas was already momentous. Little did I do know this expertise would surpass all expectations. I discovered myself embracing a task I by no means anticipated: Speaker!

I don’t know in the event you can think about my preliminary shockwaves after I acquired an surprising invitation to help a seasoned skilled with a 4-hour lab session. I wasn’t simply excited. I used to be humbled to know somebody acknowledged my potential and trusted me with such duty.

I’m going to take you behind the scenes of Cisco Reside for a glimpse into what audio system expertise. You’ll view the opposite aspect of the speaker curtain, see what it’s like to organize, and even discover some humor in my first-time story.

“The viewers will not be in opposition to you; they’re rooting for you,” he mentioned.

“They’re there to be taught one thing.”

First impressions of Cisco Reside Las Vegas

Akhila Pamukuntla takes the Cisco. U Theater stage to current.

Once I arrived within the vibrant metropolis of Las Vegas for Cisco Reside, I used to be struck by the grandeur and scale of Cisco Reside. The thrill within the air was seen as attendees and exhibitors from all corners of the globe flooded the Mandalay Bay Conference Heart.

Standing in the course of the busy conference halls, I noticed groups diligently establishing cubicles and shows. I felt nervous but exhilarated.

My first session on Jupyter Pocket book was additionally the opener for the Cisco U. Theater. Earlier than taking the stage, I used to be apprehensive on the considered addressing such a big viewers, however I felt assured. I drew energy in realizing I used to be well-prepared and passionate in regards to the matter. Plus, I had supportive mentors round me.

With a deep breath, I took the stage. I used to be prepared—able to ship the session that may set the tone for an unimaginable week of studying.

In November 2022, Hank Preston, Principal Engineer, requested me to help him together with his four-hour, instructor-led lab session. I used to be fairly excited as a result of I didn’t suppose many Cisconians received to go to Cisco Reside this shortly of their profession. However I used to be additionally nervous as a result of it was Hank, a star within the networking area. I didn’t know the way I’d have the ability to current. However in fact, I mentioned sure, and we began placing the lab collectively.

Cisco U. had not too long ago been launched to the world. So the Cisco U. Theater was arrange on the Studying & Certifications (L&C) sales space, they usually requested audio system from L&C to current on any matter they wished to within the Cisco U. Theater. I selected Jupyter Pocket book (a form of command line interface [CLI] for Python) as a result of I had used it so much in faculty, and it was totally different than what everybody else would current.

How I grew to become a Cisco Reside speaker

Akhila Pamukuntla and Hank Preston speaking at Cisco Live 2023 Las Vegas.
Akhila Pamukuntla and Hank Preston follow their Cisco Reside classes.

All of it started in November 2022 when Hank Preston, Principal Engineer, requested me to help him together with his 4-hour, instructor-led lab session. I used to be fairly excited. In spite of everything, I didn’t suppose the prospect to attend Cisco Reside was all that widespread for individuals like me—these so early of their Cisco profession, that’s.

However I used to be additionally nervous. This was Hank Preston. Hank is just about a star within the networking area. On the considered pairing up with him, I questioned how I’d have the ability to current. However in fact, I mentioned sure. And we began placing the lab—our lab— collectively.

Simply after I thought Hank’s lab session was my solely focus for Cisco Reside Las Vegas, I used to be invited to talk on the Cisco U. Theater!

Concerning the Cisco U. Theater

We not too long ago launched the world to Cisco U., a brand new digital studying expertise that provides modular, bite-sized studying in your second of want. The Cisco U. Theater is an iteration of this idea, providing brief lightning talks on particular tech subjects. Among the finest elements of the theater is Cisco Reside attendees can drop in at a second’s discover as they go to the Studying and Certifications Sales space within the World of Options.

So when the crew provided me the prospect to current on my alternative of matter, I selected Jupyter Pocket book. Jupyter Pocket book is a form of command line interface (CLI) for Python. I had used it so much in faculty, and it was totally different from what everybody else would current within the Cisco U. Theater.

Akhila Pamukuntla and Raymond Viscaina present, "What Happens When I Click Start Lab?"
Akhila Pamukuntla and Raymond Viscaina current, “What Occurs Once I Click on Begin Lab?”

So right here I used to be pondering I used to be there to assist with a lab session, however then I used to be requested to talk on the Cisco U. Theater! Not lengthy after, my supervisor, Raymond Viscaina, Engineering Chief, requested me to help him with his theater session, What Occurs Once I Click on Begin Lab. I couldn’t imagine it. Now I needed to prep for 2 theater classes and a lab session. What a bonus!

Getting via prep classes

Akhila Pamukuntla and Hank Preston put together earlier than Akhila’s Cisco U. Theater Session.

Surreal. It’s the one phrase I can consider to explain the prep for the lab session with Hank. Nevertheless, as for my solo session within the theater, I used to be too centered on my presentation to consider virtually anything.

I used to be fortunate sufficient to have Engineering Chief Joe Rinehart assigned as my mentor a number of weeks earlier than the occasion. As I practiced my solo session with Joe, among the suggestions he gave included: “Follow typically, follow in entrance of a mirror, and house issues.

He mentioned I ought to discover a house like an empty room or theater, which is so much totally different than practising in your bed room. So, I went to my native library and requested for an empty room. With me, pre-event blueprints of the theater and a map of the sales space structure. I even had a photograph of Cisco Reside Amsterdam’s crowd on the Cisco U. Theater to organize me for the amount of attendees in Las Vegas, regardless of listening to Las Vegas could be a lot larger in scale.

About two weeks earlier than I left, I used to be utilizing each software in my arsenal to visualise the occasion, mentally making ready myself. And that’s after I realized my session was the opening session—the very first Cisco U. Theater session of the week.

Till that second, I didn’t even know what time or day I used to be presenting; I simply stored practising. However after I noticed the date was Monday at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, I noticed no different speaker was scheduled earlier than me. Nicely, you may think about my response.

I used to be terrified.

Presenting on the massive day

Akhila Pamukuntla presents in entrance of a full theater.

Not solely was I the primary speaker to current within the theater, however the Studying and Certifications Sales space was the primary sight for attendees upon getting into the World of Options. The WoS additionally opened at the very same time as my session, and attendees have been prepared and ready. I grew to become a bundle of nerves after I noticed the onslaught of individuals.

Earlier than we began, we needed to take a look at my microphone. First, they put it on my T-shirt. That didn’t sound correct. So, then they gave me a headset. That didn’t work out, both. My head is form of small, so we needed to work somewhat tougher to get it to suit.

“Converse louder,” they mentioned. They stored telling me, repeatedly, to talk louder through the mic take a look at. I felt like I used to be yelling. I quickly realized I needed to converse louder as a result of extra individuals could be getting into the World of Options through the presentation. No stress, I believed.

Once I lastly began chatting with the group, I noticed Joe, my pre-Cisco-Reside prep mentor. I instantly recalled one thing essential he mentioned throughout these classes.

“The viewers will not be in opposition to you; they’re rooting for you,” he mentioned. “They’re there to be taught one thing.”

My session was streaming reside on the Cisco Coaching and Certification LinkedIn web page and on the Cisco U. by Studying and Certifications YouTube Channel. My household was watching. No stress.

Once I first began my presentation, I might really feel my voice shaking. Perhaps three to 5 minutes into it, although, I noticed it wasn’t as unhealthy as I believed it might be. I attempted to make eye contact with as many individuals as I might. I used to be nonetheless a bit scared. What in the event that they didn’t react?

However with each head nod, I felt my confidence develop. I used to be making sense to them. And that stored me going.

Throughout my discuss, I requested the viewers questions. “What number of of you’re aware of Jupyter and have used it earlier than?” My objective was to get them engaged. That was one among Hank’s suggestions. It’s worthwhile to know in the event that they’re with you. (And sure, a number of individuals had heard of Jupyter and had even used it earlier than.)

An engaged crowd at the Cisco U. Theater.
An engaged crowd on the Cisco U. Theater.

Subsequent up, a demo. I used to be really displaying them Jupyter Pocket book reside, in actual time. The strains of code have been already written, with me executing and explaining every step as I went via it. I seen individuals typing alongside, taking notes as I continued.

Lastly, I had made it via. And what a aid! After that, my different shows fell into place; the Cisco U. Theater session with my supervisor, plus the 4-hour lab session with Hank. Sarcastically, though I used to be in a smaller room, I used to be extra nervous there. And the one half I had practiced essentially the most was the half I barely stumbled over! I received via that as nicely, although. I have to say, wanting again at my expertise, I discovered so much about presenting from being a speaker at Cisco Reside. However the factor that I’ll all the time bear in mind is how I received there: my mentors.

Mentors make all of the distinction

Once I replicate on the entire Cisco Reside expertise, I understand I went via fairly a change. Initially, the worry of presenting in entrance of a crowd and being surrounded by professionals overwhelmed me. Nevertheless, wanting again now, I understand it was the unimaginable people I encountered and the significant conversations we shared that made my expertise really unforgettable.

It wasn’t simply the colleagues and friends round me. It was additionally these whom I offered to. It was each surprising message I acquired on LinkedIn, asking to be taught extra in regards to the matter of my session. It was after I was singled out and stopped by attendees on the aisles of Cisco Reside to precise their appreciation for my theater session.

The help and encouragement I acquired after my theater session reassured me. I had made a constructive impression. However that’s not all. Talking at Cisco Reside sparked newfound confidence inside me. It has taught me that it’s the individuals and the connections we kind that finally make any expertise significant and memorable. And I can’t wait to do it once more.

Thanks for studying! I invite you to observe my first session as a Cisco Reside Speaker beneath.

Watch “Jupyter Notebooks,” by Akhila Pumukuntla, offered within the Cisco U. Theater at Cisco Reside 2023 Las Vegas.


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