I still remember my very first day at Cisco, as if it was just yesterday (though it was july of 2014.) I had just graduated with a Bachelors in Computer Science. I came onboard at Cisco as a Network Consulting Engineer (a dream come true.)
Like every new hire, I was filled with energy, enthusiasm and excitement to kick start my career. There were a thousand things I wanted to do, learn and achieve, and I wanted to do it all immediately. I tried to jump in multiple directions. The more places I jumped, the more overwhelming it started to get. I got lost in my own energy. Too much choice, too many directions, and I didn’t know what to do.
My great manager understood, and encouraged me to attend the Grace Hopper India Annual Conference last year.
The Grace Hopper conference in India, just like the flagship global event, is where all of these really smart and top-notch women in technology come together to share knowledge, network, learn and even find new careers. It is a power-packed event with keynotes, tech talks and session ranging from early in career and back to work, to entrepreneurship and technology, to leadership and soft skills. It is India’s largest gathering of women technologists. Over the three-day period, I attended many of these sessions, met a lot of my peers, and also networked with and learned from the great women who worked at Cisco.
Thanks to this conference, I finally found my direction. My belief that Cisco was the right place for me was even stronger. The guidance and mentorship I got from all those great women made me realize this.
Now, a year later, I can see how my Grace Hopper experience has not only made me understand my role at Cisco, but has also taught me how to succeed here as a woman in tech. There are a zillion things I learned at the Grace Hopper. Since it is a little difficult to jot all of those down, here are few of the things I learned that might help you too:
- Have faith and confidence in yourself. I believe this is one of the most important things. There is nothing that you want to achieve that can’t be achieved.
- Find a mentor. Having a mentor to guide you is one of the key things that would help you succeed in your career.
- Find your passion. There is a lot of great work and innovation happening in every sphere of technology. You just need to find your passion and right fit and dive into it. There are a lot of opportunities waiting for you.
- Always be optimistic. Even if you are called foolishly optimistic.
- Be well-rounded. Technical knowledge that would take you ahead in your career. But soft skills and people skills play an equally important role.
- Give and get back. And as women in tech, we should look out and help our fellow women in tech.
I hope all of the women attending this year’s Grace Hopper Conference would find the empowerment and focus I found that not only helped me find my direction but also to help me transition from a new hire to an employee.
P.S. I can’t wait to meet the new generation of Cisconians who come onboard after this year’s event!
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