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BIT Staff Assist at SkillsUSA

SkillsUSA is an industry sponsored organization to promote technical skills for high school and postsecondary/college students that will help them be successful in their chosen careers.  There are a multitude of competitions across diverse disciplines of study.  For a complete list of the competitions please visit: http://skillsusa.org/competitions/skillsusa-championships/contest-descriptions/.  This year’s SkillsUSA state competition was held in Watertown, SD at Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI).  BIT staff assisted as two of three judges for the Internetworking competition.

There were a total of six students competing in the Internetworking competition, two first year students and four second year students, all from LATI.  The competition challenged students in four distinct disciplines necessary for success in an Internetworking career: network cabling, configuring network devices for end-to-end connectivity, taking a call as a remote technical support agent (referred to as the TAC call), and an online multiple choice exam.

Wayne Wayt of the BIT Network Technologies team judged the network cabling portion.  Students were tasked with constructing three common types of network cabling used in industry in 30 minutes, and all cables needed to pass both visual and technical inspections.  Two of the six students managed to complete all three cables, but only one did so successfully.

Andy Ogan, also of Network Technologies, returned to judge his fifth SkillsUSA competition, participating in the TAC call as the frustrated end-user seeking assistance.  In ten minutes, students needed to listen to the user describe the issue within the network, look at the network documentation provided, and guide the user through a series of diagnostic tests and troubleshooting steps to resolve the issue.  Students were judged on not only their ability to solve the technical components of the challenge, but their customer service skills, speaking and listening skills, poise, and handling of the call.  Most students scored well in the customer service portion of the task, but only one student successfully solved the issue in the allotted time.

At the end of the competition, medalists were announced.  The final scores gave the Gold to Dylan Hanten, Silver to Eric Wise, and Bronze to Devin Bagaus.  Dylan will be traveling to Louisville, Kentucky to compete at the national level of SkillsUSA, and we wish him the best of luck.