Cisco Networking Academy Creates Innovators: Meet Timothy King


Get all the backstories of our 2023 Cisco Networking Academy alumni award winners in this five-part series. In our fourth story, we feature, Timothy King, the Innovation Architect award winner. Learn how he removed barriers, helped others think differently, and how he used our program to reinvigorate his career in his 50s.


There is no doubt that Timothy King, winner of the 2023 Cisco Networking Academy Innovation Architect Alumni Award, tackles social issues head-on. “I'm on the ASD spectrum and have a knee jerk reaction to unfairness,” he says. “I can't not push back against it.”

After encountering Cisco Networking Academy through the CyberTitan competition, the schoolteacher saw an opportunity to reinvigorate his career. He’d been teaching for more than 20 years, and hadn’t taken an IT certification since 2002, but CyberTitan and Cisco Networking Academy inspired him to requalify.

“In 2019, I became the first K12 teacher in Canada to be Cyber Operations Instructor qualified,” he says. “You're never too old to learn!”

Having proved that age should be no barrier to success, Timothy went on to tackle other inequalities he saw.


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Breaking barriers

Just having the program was already a path to success that many people thought wasn’t possible in a small rural town, but the barriers were higher for some than for others.

“Women in small towns face gender discrimination,” he says. “We've tackled that in tangible, clearly demonstrated ways, and in doing so my students' bravery made me brave enough to take on new challenges at a time when many people aim to glide into retirement.”

Those tangible ways included being the first school to field an all-female cybersecurity team in the 2019 CyberTitan, a cybersecurity competition run by the Information and Communications Technology Council of Canada, in affiliation with the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot Program.

The school has fielded three national top-female finalists in CyberTitan since then.

“There are many systemic barriers we have faced,” he says, citing gender, ASD, and age as examples. “We've shown again and again that you're only limited by believing what other people tell you.”

Creating belief

“Convincing my rural students to take on CyberTitan wasn't easy,” says Timothy. “We faced imposter syndrome throughout our first year. When we got invited to nationals we were stunned. For three of my four students it was their first time on a plane or leaving our province! You can imagine the power this had on these young minds. Our success in that first year created a groundswell of belief in our small-town school.”

Timothy says the success of the team has encouraged girls at school to give cybersecurity a try, and that for the first time he is seeing girls in senior IT classes.

“Women face ongoing systemic barriers to access, and rural students face prejudice and a lack of opportunity when it comes to careers in technology,” he says. “We have proven that with a hands-on focus on ICT skills development, these students, regardless of gender or geography, can compete with the best in the country.”

Timothy says that fighting prejudice has delivered tangible results, not only with competition results, but with more girls in STEM fields—some having won national STEM scholarships—and with others pursuing cybersecurity careers.

The architect of that success is a teacher who saw inequity and discrimination, and who tackled it head-on. For his vision and dedication and perseverance, Timothy is a deserving winner of the 2023 Cisco Networking Academy Innovation Architect Alumni Award. And for impacting so many young people in such a positive way Timothy King also won the Shooting Star prize signifying the brightest star in Cisco Networking Academy’s orbit.

“I hope to take what we did and make these opportunities available to students across Canada so that they can find their way into a challenging and rewarding career in digital technologies,” says Timothy. “If we can do it, anyone can…and should!


The Cisco Networking Academy Alumni Awards honor alums who have maximized their potential in the digital universe. Next “call for nominations” will be in May of 2024. If you missed our third story featuring the Future Leader award winner, you can read it here.