Wednesday, October 4, 2023

My Revel in as a First-Time Cisco Reside Speaker


Once I stepped into the arena of era, I by no means imagined I might see at the moment so early in my occupation. Since I’m a rather fresh addition to the Cisco circle of relatives, the chance to wait Cisco Reside in Las Vegas used to be already momentous. Little did I do know this revel in would surpass all expectancies. I discovered myself embracing a job I by no means expected: Speaker!

I don’t know if you’ll be able to believe my preliminary shockwaves after I won an surprising invitation to help a seasoned professional with a 4-hour lab consultation. I wasn’t simply excited. I used to be humbled to understand anyone identified my attainable and relied on me with such duty.

I’m going to take you at the back of the scenes of Cisco Reside for a glimpse into what audio system revel in. You’ll view the opposite facet of the speaker curtain, see what it’s like to arrange, or even to find some humor in my first-time tale.

“The target audience isn’t in opposition to you; they’re rooting for you,” he mentioned.

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

First impressions of Cisco Reside Las Vegas

Akhila Pamukuntla takes the Cisco. U Theater level to offer.

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

Status in the course of the busy conference halls, I noticed groups diligently putting in cubicles and shows. I felt fearful but exhilarated.

My first consultation on Jupyter Pocket book used to be additionally the opener for the Cisco U. Theater. Sooner than taking the level, I used to be fearful on the considered addressing any such massive target audience, however I felt assured. I drew energy in realizing I used to be well-prepared and enthusiastic about the subject. Plus, I had supportive mentors round me.

With a deep breath, I took the level. I used to be in a position—in a position to ship the consultation that will set the tone for an unbelievable week of studying.

In November 2022, Hank Preston, Foremost Engineer, requested me to help him together with his four-hour, instructor-led lab consultation. I used to be lovely excited as a result of I didn’t assume many Cisconians were given to visit Cisco Reside this briefly of their occupation. However I used to be additionally fearful as it used to be Hank, a star within the networking box. I didn’t know the way I might have the ability to provide. However after all, I mentioned sure, and we began hanging the lab in combination.

Cisco U. had not too long ago been offered to the arena. So the Cisco U. Theater used to be arrange on the Studying & Certifications (L&C) sales space, they usually requested audio system from L&C to offer on any subject they sought after 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 used to be other than what everybody else would provide.

How I changed into a Cisco Reside speaker

Akhila Pamukuntla and Hank Preston speaking at Cisco Live 2023 Las Vegas.
Akhila Pamukuntla and Hank Preston observe their Cisco Reside periods.

All of it started in November 2022 when Hank Preston, Foremost Engineer, requested me to help him together with his 4-hour, instructor-led lab consultation. I used to be lovely excited. In any case, I didn’t assume the danger to wait Cisco Reside used to be all that commonplace for folks like me—the ones so early of their Cisco occupation, this is.

However I used to be additionally fearful. This used to be Hank Preston. Hank is just about a star within the networking box. On the considered pairing up with him, I questioned how I might have the ability to provide. However after all, I mentioned sure. And we began hanging the lab—our lab— in combination.

Simply after I concept Hank’s lab consultation used to be my simplest center of attention 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 offered the arena to Cisco U., a brand new virtual studying revel in that provides modular, bite-sized studying on your second of want. The Cisco U. Theater is an iteration of this idea, providing quick lightning talks on explicit tech subjects. One of the crucial perfect portions of the theater is Cisco Reside attendees can drop in at a second’s understand as they discuss with the Studying and Certifications Sales space within the International of Answers.

So when the staff presented me the danger to offer on my selection of subject, 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 used to be other from what everybody else would provide within the Cisco U. Theater.

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

So right here I used to be pondering I used to be there to lend a hand with a lab consultation, however then I used to be requested to talk on the Cisco U. Theater! No longer lengthy after, my supervisor, Raymond Viscaina, Engineering Chief, requested me to help him with his theater consultation, What Occurs Once I Click on Get started Lab. I couldn’t consider it. Now I needed to prep for 2 theater periods and a lab consultation. What an advantage!

Getting thru prep periods

Akhila Pamukuntla and Hank Preston get ready ahead of Akhila’s Cisco U. Theater Consultation.

Surreal. It’s the one phrase I will be able to bring to mind to explain the prep for the lab consultation with Hank. Then again, as for my solo consultation within the theater, I used to be too all in favour of my presentation to take into accounts virtually anything.

I used to be fortunate sufficient to have Engineering Chief Joe Rinehart assigned as my mentor a couple of weeks ahead of the development. As I practiced my solo consultation with Joe, one of the vital guidelines he gave integrated: “Follow ceaselessly, observe in entrance of a reflect, and house issues.

He mentioned I must discover a house like an empty room or theater, which is so much other than training on 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 format. I even had a photograph of Cisco Reside Amsterdam’s crowd on the Cisco U. Theater to arrange me for the amount of attendees in Las Vegas, in spite of listening to Las Vegas could be a lot larger in scale.

About two weeks ahead of I left, I used to be the usage of each software in my arsenal to visualise the development, mentally making ready myself. And that’s after I learned my consultation used to be the hole consultation—the first actual Cisco U. Theater consultation of the week.

Till that second, I didn’t even know what time or day I used to be presenting; I simply saved training. But if I noticed the date used to be Monday at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, I spotted no different speaker used to be scheduled ahead of me. Smartly, you’ll be able to believe my response.

I used to be terrified.

Presenting at the special occasion

Akhila Pamukuntla gifts in entrance of a complete theater.

No longer simplest used to be I the primary speaker to offer within the theater, however the Studying and Certifications Sales space used to be the primary sight for attendees upon getting into the International of Answers. The WoS additionally opened at the very same time as my consultation, and attendees had been in a position and ready. I changed into a package deal of nerves after I noticed the onslaught of folks.

Sooner than we began, we needed to check 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 figure out, both. My head is more or less small, so we needed to paintings slightly tougher to get it to suit.

“Talk louder,” they mentioned. They saved telling me, time and again, to talk louder all through the mic check. I felt like I used to be yelling. I quickly learned I needed to discuss louder as a result of extra folks could be getting into the International of Answers all through the presentation. No force, I assumed.

Once I in the end began talking to the group, I noticed Joe, my pre-Cisco-Reside prep mentor. I instantly recalled one thing vital he mentioned all through the ones periods.

“The target audience isn’t in opposition to you; they’re rooting for you,” he mentioned. “They’re there to be informed one thing.”

My consultation used to be streaming live to tell the tale the Cisco Coaching and Certification LinkedIn web page and at the Cisco U. by way of Studying and Certifications YouTube Channel. My circle of relatives used to be staring at. No force.

Once I first began my presentation, I may just really feel my voice shaking. Perhaps 3 to 5 mins into it, despite the fact that, I spotted it wasn’t as dangerous as I assumed it will be. I attempted to make eye touch with as many of us as I may just. I used to be nonetheless somewhat scared. What in the event that they didn’t react?

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

Right through my communicate, I requested the target audience questions. “What number of of you’re conversant in Jupyter and feature used it ahead of?” My function used to be to get them engaged. That used to be considered one of Hank’s guidelines. You wish to have to understand in the event that they’re with you. (And sure, a couple of folks had heard of Jupyter and had even used it ahead of.)

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

Subsequent up, a demo. I used to be in reality appearing them Jupyter Pocket book reside, in actual time. The strains of code had been already written, with me executing and explaining every step as I went thru it. I spotted folks typing alongside, taking notes as I persisted.

In spite of everything, I had made it thru. And what a aid! After that, my different displays fell into position; the Cisco U. Theater consultation with my supervisor, plus the 4-hour lab consultation with Hank. Paradoxically, despite the fact that I used to be in a smaller room, I used to be extra fearful there. And the only phase I had practiced essentially the most used to be the phase I rather stumbled over! I were given thru that as properly, despite the fact that. I should say, taking a look again at my revel in, I discovered so much about presenting from being a speaker at Cisco Reside. However the factor that I will be able to all the time take note is how I were given there: my mentors.

Mentors make the entire distinction

Once I mirror at the complete Cisco Reside revel in, I understand I went thru reasonably a change. First of all, the concern of presenting in entrance of a crowd and being surrounded by way of execs beaten me. Then again, taking a look again now, I comprehend it used to be the fantastic people I encountered and the significant conversations we shared that made my revel in in point of fact unforgettable.

It wasn’t simply the colleagues and friends round me. It used to be additionally the ones whom I offered to. It used to be each surprising message I won on LinkedIn, asking to be informed extra concerning the subject of my consultation. It used to be when I used to be singled out and stopped by way of attendees at the aisles of Cisco Reside to specific their appreciation for my theater consultation.

The give a boost to and encouragement I won after my theater consultation reassured me. I had made a favorable affect. However that’s now not all. Talking at Cisco Reside sparked newfound self assurance inside me. It has taught me that it’s the folk and the connections we shape that in the end make any revel in significant and noteworthy. And I will be able to’t wait to do it once more.

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

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


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