2011 Cisco Designated VIP
Keith Barker’s dad was an elementary school principal and his mom was a teacher. Understandably, when Keith grew up, what he most wanted to be was…wealthy! But seriously…
As he got older and a little bit wiser, he adds, Keith realized that what really made him happy was helping others. He also enjoyed public speaking. He has effectively combined these passions with his interests in technology to create the perfect career--teaching IT Networking.
Keith began playing the drums at age 12. For him this was a game changer: “I went from being a scrawny, funny-looking kid…to a scrawny, funny-looking kid who could play the drums!” Cool.
While kicking up his “cool factor” was certainly important at that age, so was excelling in school—especially with parents in the business. He credits four of his Camarillo, Calif, teachers—Mr. Naysmith, Mr. Graves, Mr. Chicinni and Mrs. Martin—with providing him with the right mix of direction and support he needed to feel cared about and inspired to do well.
He was inspired also to translate his love of computers into a career in networking back in 1984. A technician came in to work on the computer networks at the store where Keith was working part-time as a cashier. The technician had a shiny briefcase. He looked like he was having fun. Keith thought to himself, “I could do that!” and decided that day to get formal technical training. So off he went to Control Data Institute.
From there he got an entry level job with EDS as a field technician and continued studying—mostly on his own but with a few technical classes thrown in for good measure. He’s earned two CCIEs so far and is thinking about a embarking on a third. He earned the first CCIE in 2001 and cites this accomplishment as probably the biggest catalyst in his work today as a network engineer and a trainer with authorized Cisco learning partner, Nova Datacom.
“The cool thing about my job,” says Keith, “is that I get to implement the technologies I love and know, as well as learn and implement new stuff, too. This keeps me current and provides an exciting challenge.” He doesn’t miss 10Base2, ARCnet or Token Ring, he noted.
“I also get to teach,” he adds, “which is always a blast.” His students are quick to mention how passionate Keith is about technology and how inspiring it is learn from him.
Keith’s passion for technology and teaching is evident in his contributions to the Cisco Learning Network! Besides responding directly to a wide variety of posts in discussion forums, he has created a legacy of video tutorials that focus on key networking technology topics and answer questions posed by community members. His YouTube channel—“Keith6783”—which he created back in 2010 just for that purpose of supporting this community now offers as many as 75 videos and has gotten more than 500,000 views. “I have been blown away by the response,” he notes. The community knows a good thing when it finds it!
Of course, you could show your appreciation by sending Keith your best toona casserole recipe…’cause it’s his favorite food!