Published: Nov. 8, 2022 By

The Department of Computer Science's Network Engineering Lab received a donation of 28 pieces of equipment through Juniper Networks' Cloud & Automation Academy. The equipment, including routers, switches and virtual machine licenses for Juniper's products, will provide valuable hands-on experiences to students in the Network Engineering master's program.

Network engineering underpins features of our modern world, including the internet and cloud computing. Due to its rapid proliferation and growth, systems require continuous expansion and evolution of infrastructure to anticipate and build systems for unfolding communication needs. 

José Santos, the Network Engineering Lab's director, said investments by industry partners like Juniper help keep the network engineering professional master's program relevant. "These relationships feed our instructional materials and keep our lab facility up to date with emerging technologies," he said. 

Juniper Networks first connected to the program at CU Boulder over nine years ago. Throughout the course of the relationship, Santos estimates over 50 graduates have been recruited by Juniper. This has made the company's continual support through equipment, licenses and certification opportunities even more important. 

"Juniper is a strong player in the networking industry, and their products are likely going to be used by our students in their professional future," Santos said. 

John Quinn, Juniper Networks' technical training program manager for the Americas, said the quality of leadership and facilities at the CU Boulder network engineering program provided students with an exceptional experience, preparing them to enter the workforce and succeed upon graduation. "In my opinion, the network engineering program at CU Boulder is one of the finest in the country," he said. 

With disruptions to in-person learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the network engineering program began re-envisioning what a next generation lab could look like. They reached out to industry and alumni for their support to modernize, and Juniper swiftly responded with a wide variety of support, from equipment and licenses to certification pathways. 

Santos said, "It's a win-win for everyone. Students get some top-of-the-line training using equipment from a major vendor. Juniper and corporations using Juniper solutions recruit our students. Our program maintains its leadership by accessing some of the latest features and technologies, and we continue to create the relevant workforce the market needs to operate."

"We're excited to see what is next," Quinn said. "As the partnership builds, and the network engineering program grows, we look forward to more graduates becoming valued Junivators!