Subscribe Search

Search form

Youth of the week: Pheng Sovanvichet

Youth of the week: Pheng Sovanvichet

Our student of the week will receive a $50 voucher from Boston Books. If you want to nominate a student or friend, email us at [email protected]

The proverb “like father, like son” explains the inevitable similarities between parents and their offspring. In Cambodia these similarities often extend to the professional realm, as it is quite common for children to take over the family business when the opportunity arises. Pheng Sovanvichet’s parents expected him to do the same thing, encouraging him to study medicine so he could take over their pharmacy when they retired. But he had other plans. “My parents wanted me to study medical science when I finished high school because we have our own pharmacy,” said the 25-year-old pioneer. Instead he enrolled as a scholarship student of economics and information technology at the Royal University of Law and Economics.

Today his decision has proven to be a good one, as the IT-specialist is the only person in Cambodia who can call themselves a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert. After years studying abroad, Pheng Sovanvichet has now brought his talents back home, working with Wicam Corporation as an IP Core Network Specialist and Sunrise Informatics Center as a Cisco instructor.

While he said he has been obsessed with technology since he was 8 years-old, it was a conversation with a couple he met in Chinese-language classes that piqued his interest in Cisco.

“One day Mr Bryan (the husband) told me about his job, his duties and even his salary of US$1.6 million dollars per year, which made me so interested,” he said.

He occasionally consulted the couple for help, but spent hours alone learning about the cutting-edge technology. “Sixty percent of my time and effort was for Cisco, while the other 40 percent was for university,” he said.

In 2007, he successfully reached the first level of Cisco certification, becoming a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) with a perfect score of 1,000 out of 1,000 on the company’s test. Realising he couldn’t advance further on his own, he enrolled at Ya Wei Training Institute in China to study with Cisco experts. In 2008, he took the exam for the next level of Cisco operators and once again got a perfect score. In his spare time that year he also created a website to share his ideas and experience about new technology and Cisco with fellow IT experts in Cambodia and around the world at

After another year of studying, he tested to become a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert in Routing and Switching. In 2009 he passed the written exam and in 2010 he passed the lab test to become the first person in Cambodia and the 26,884th person in the world to reach Cisco’s highest level of expertise.

Even after his much-celebrated accomplishment, the tech whiz is still not content. “There are always new things being discovered,” he said. “So I have to keep updating myself. I plan to get another CCIE in security; since when Cambodia has a network infrastructure, security will be needed.”


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which