I have always believed in a well-rounded personality and tried to take on roles that helped me get there. From representing Cisco at the annual Continuous Deployment Summit to hosting world renowned speakers and celebrities, Cisco has provided me the opportunities to bring my full self to work and grow with each new day I explore the company.

I started my career with Cisco developing a tool called ACME (ACME Component Management Environment) that was being used internally by thousands of Cisco engineers to version and manage the software they wrote. Most of the pages I setup during my first year at Cisco about the tool were read more than 100,000 times in my initial two years with the company and the code that I wrote as part of this tool may have been exercised many more times.

How have I grown as my complete self since then? Here’s my journey:

1.Moving into DevOps – Working with the DevOps team for Wireless products felt like a great opportunity to learn and grow. In addition to expanding my technical skill set by exposing me to newer tools and technologies, the role requires me to interact with a number of engineers every day, helping them to achieve a high level of productivity. I’m happy to be part of the team that makes Wi-Fi products which provides connectivity to millions of people around the world.

In this role, I also help to lead major DevOps initiatives of other important products. One of my favorite moments was when we migrated the Identity Services Engine (ISE) development to Git based Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment (CI / CD) and initiated Access Point image bundling into the Polaris software stack. The former improves productivity of engineers in addition to improving the quality of the product. The latter is a step towards the converged access of wired and wireless connectivity to the Internet.

I was able to present highlights from some of these activities at the DevOps@Cisco annual conference. The presentations attracted good discussions, brought me visibility in the DevOps world at Cisco and connected me to the right people who can help further my work.

2.Giving Back – In addition to the work building world class products, Cisco provides its employees opportunities to make a difference in young lives by supporting STEM activities, one being the Tech Challenge that it sponsors.

I have been volunteering at the Tech Challenge as a judge ever since I joined Cisco. Interacting with the next generation of brilliant minds is always enriching and rejuvenating. The judging opportunities are truly win-win. The students get valuable feedback and ideas and the judges get up to speed with the STEM activities that the younger generations are working on.

I also volunteered as a scholarship committee member for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing – an opportunity provided by Cisco as well. It was again an enriching experience to be able to go through the applications and essays submitted by brilliant girls and women in technology from all over the world.

As a dad of two young girls, this proved to be rewarding in that I can see my children possibly succeeding in these fields and areas of interest as well.

3.Networking – A great way to network and expand your career horizons at Cisco is through our Employee Resource Organizations (ERO). We have a number of EROs, and the one I have decided to participate in is ICON, which stands for Indians Connecting People.

As a business development director for ICON, I started the “ICON speaker series,” which has featured world renowned speakers such as BK Shivani and hot technology topics such as Blockchain. The highlight of ICON’s activities is of course it’s flagship event during the occasion of the Indian festival of lights.

This event brings out the many artistic talents of Cisco employees through song and dance sequences, fashion shows and other performances – all of which are so amazing and professional, I sometimes forget these are my co-workers participating!

4.Research – My favorite pastime over the last several years has been research. Cisco supported me in pursuing my passion ardently. It paid most of the tuition for my PhD and allowed me to write a book on my research, “Veracity of Big Data,” which is now cataloged by many libraries the world over, including those of the top ranked universities like  MITStanford, and CMU.

Owing to my research profile, I was invited to be on the Technical Program Committees of a number of conferences and give keynotes during some of them. The research I pursued has been another great way to give back to society, and I am thankful that Cisco has enabled and encouraged me to move forward with something that I find so important.

You have probably heard that Cisco values team work. It is not possible to solve tough problems without the help from others, and we have each other’s backs. We all work in unison in the team, supporting, complementing and learning from each other. We work hard, crack jokes, attend onsite and offsite parties, volunteer together, and become friends for life.

Additionally, we are encouraged to bring our true selves to work. To allow our talents and passions to shine, and through that to grow and learn along the way.

Cisco has indeed become a way of life for many of us, and I am proud that it is such a vibrant part of my life!

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Vishnu Pendyala

Technical Leader