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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kratie kid on path to networking expertise

Kratie kid on path to networking expertise

22-year-old Cisco programmer looks to help Cambodia become increasingly tech-savvy

PHENG Sovanvichet, 22, a computer whiz from Kratie province, could soon be leading Cambodia's push to develop IT.

Currently in the third year of a network engineering course at Dali University in China's Yunnan province, Pheng Sovanvichet looks set to become the first Cambodian to complete the Cisco Certified InterNetwork Expert Routing & Switching course, an advanced networking qualification not available in Cambodia.

The certifications offered by California-based Cisco Systems Inc, a global leader in networking and communications technology and services, are a benchmark standard for IT qualifications.

Leng Bunny, a Cisco instructor at the National ICT Development Authority (NIDA), told the Post in March that the Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) degree, conducted in English, could give Cambodian graduates an edge in an increasingly competitive local market.

"The Cambodian market currently needs these people very much because it is a standard training course, which is necessary for current market demand," he said.

For his part, Pheng Sovanvichet, who hopes to graduate from Dali University in July 2010 after taking his lab exams in March or April, said he plans to return to Cambodia and work as a network consultant.

He said he hopes his new-found knowledge will allow him to increase web accessibility in the Kingdom - where internet services are still expensive and relatively sluggish. He has already established an online IT forum (www.khmeritforum

.net) where he shares his networking knowledge with Cambodians.

The Cambodian market currently needs these people very much.

"I want to help improve the level of understanding of technology among Cambodian people," he said. "I want to help Cambodians gain access to reliable, secure, confidential and cheap network connectivity and to have better knowledge of how network technology works."

"It is very interesting to get involved with networks that can help connect people better, and I always imagined seeing Cambodian people having better networks," he added.

Pheng Sovanvichet started his first Cisco certified course (CCNA Level 1) in Cambodia in 2005 at NIDA before moving to China, where he became more closely involved with networking technologies, earning a CCNA degree in September 2007 and Cisco professional degree (CCNP) in February 2008.

Challenging course

But his current degree, which is yet to be obtained by a Cambodian, is expected to be the biggest challenge. "I have to take two separate tests - for theory ability and an eight-hour exam in a lab for configuration - to pass I need to have a deep understanding ... of how technology works because it has to be applied in concrete scenarios," he said.

"But I expect to pass at my first attempt because I am working very hard."

Leng Bunny from NIDA said that 64 students were enrolled in Cisco's CCNA courses at NIDA in the first three months of 2009, in addition to the 172 students who completed the course last year.

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