Cisco Intern to Full-Time: What I Wish I Knew Then
When starting any new job (but especially a new internship) there are non-stop questions flying through your mind. What’s it like to be a Cisco Intern? What should I look forward to or prepare for? What’s the best part of interning at Cisco?
It would be awesome to get a little advice before your first day, right? Well, you’re in luck! 😉
To help us celebrate National Intern Day this year, we’ve asked four full-time employees who have started their engineering careers with Cisco Security, Software, IT, and Customer Experience to share their favorite moments, advice, and what they “wish they knew then” back when they were Cisco Interns.
We’ll let them take it from here —
Name: Mr. Adrien Feudjio
Current Role: Charismatic IT Engineer
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina (RTP)
What team(s) did you intern for at Cisco? IT
What was your favorite thing about being a Cisco Intern? The exposure to working on global projects as well as the education to prepare you for them.
What advice would you give to current/upcoming Cisco Interns? Have RTP mentors!
R-Relationship Mentor to help you understand how (and who) to build rapport, network, and leverage other people.
T-Technical Mentor to help you understand the functional and business process.
P-Professional Mentor to help you understand how to present and market yourself at work.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were a Cisco Intern? That what you learn during your internship should also be applied at school so it can become a lifestyle for you.
Name: Emily Chen
Current Role: Software Engineer
Location: San Jose, California
What team(s) did you intern for at Cisco? I interned as a part of Core Software Group (CSG) – the team I was and currently am a part of has now been merged into the Service Provider Business Unit.
What was your favorite thing about being a Cisco Intern? Two simple words: the people. As an intern, everyone is assigned a mentor – someone who is more experienced at Cisco and can guide you throughout your internship. Even though my mentor was busy, he still took the time to sit down with me whenever I had a question. He would thoroughly explain the fundamentals to me so that he not only answered my question but also helped me to understand why certain decisions were made. He encouraged me to ask questions and to be curious; he had my back at every turn even as an intern. His passion for his work was contagious and he, along with enjoying the project that I was working on, was one of the main reasons why I chose to return to the same group at Cisco as a full-time employee.
What advice would you give to current/upcoming Cisco Interns? Get involved with the community around you! A lot of people think that “involvement” exclusively means joining the many Employee Resource Organizations (EROs) that we have on campus. While these are great groups to be a part of, it’s also important to reach out to your team and fellow interns and network in the few months that you’re here. It might seem like 2-3 months is too short to make any lasting friendships, but it’s all about how much time you invest in each of your relationships. Try to grab lunches with people (during my internship, we, the interns, established a “Takeout Tuesday” where we would go get take out and eat at the office). I still hang out with my intern friends who are in the Bay Area, and I’ve been desk neighbors with another since I started full-time at Cisco!
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were a Cisco Intern? I wish I had known the importance of separating work from my personal time before starting my internship. It’s something that I struggled with, as I was so used to the daily grind of college – where school work is always on your mind. It wasn’t until I started interning at Cisco when I was first encouraged to take time to have fun or pursue something of interest. Events, tech talks and conferences on campus are all open to interns to attend, and I wish I had taken advantage of these opportunities before joining full-time! As a side note – my mentor used to message me if he saw me online after hours, and wouldn’t stop until I logged off, telling me to go and do something fun.
Name: Dylan Wilson
Current Role: Technical Consulting Engineer for Software Defined Wide Area Network (SDWAN) Team
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina – RTP
What team(s) did you intern for at Cisco? I interned for Cisco Managed Services (CMS) on the H&M account in their Network Operation Center (NOC). I also worked on various projects in the CMS space.
What was your favorite thing about being a Cisco Intern? My favorite thing about being an intern was having the flexibility to learn different roles. I liked being able to spend half of my time taking tickets in the NOC, and the other half working on projects with all sorts of technologies.
What advice would you give to current/upcoming Cisco Interns? I would say enjoy your time as an intern, find out what you like to do inside of Cisco, and network as much as possible! Those connections come in handy when you go full-time and make for great friends as well.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were a Cisco Intern? I wish I knew how far I could branch out inside of Cisco as far as roles and opportunities across the whole company. There is so much potential in working here, and just knowing all the possibilities would have been very worthwhile.
Name: Surabhi Subramanya
Current Role: Software Engineer in the Security Business Group
Location: San Jose, California
What team(s) did you intern for at Cisco? Unified Computing System (UCS) Rack Server Team in the Data Centers and Virtualization group.
What was your favorite thing about being a Cisco Intern? I had a great learning experience. My Manager made sure I got to try a lot of different assignments in my two major interest areas – networking and security. I had also taken up the Cisco Security Ninja Training (white and green belt) during my internship in 2016, which is now being mandated for my current job! So it felt good to have already done it by taking special interest in it during my internship.
What advice would you give to current/upcoming Cisco Interns?
- Be confident, avoid questioning yourself if you belong here and so on. I had talked to many interns who had ‘imposter syndrome’ at the time. A lot of times you might feel overwhelmed and nervous – but you’re gonna have to fake it till you make it – stay bold and put your best foot forward. And then eventually there’s no turning back. Cisco will feel like home!
- Get involved in the Cisco Employee Resource Organizations (Connected Women, Early in Career Network, etc.) and meet as many people as you can – it will help you learn from their experiences as well! I am currently leading the Cisco Women in Security San Jose Chapter in the Security Business Group, and I took this role within 1 year of joining Cisco full time!
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were a Cisco Intern? I wish I knew how to navigate/plan my 1:1’s with my manager better. As new interns try to have weekly 1:1’s with your manager and think about what things you want to discuss with them in advance to make the most of your time.
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