Before beginning my career at Cisco, I was disabled for twenty years. During that time, my passion for technology grew exponentially. Learning how to deploy applications and servers in my home lab was a big part of my daily routine. When I was immersed in a deployment or learning a new concept, I was free of physical limitations.  

A Webex team photo.

Being able to discuss technology with like-minded individuals over the internet gave me a sense of normalcy. Back then, I often wondered if there was a place for me in the workforce and felt that I owed myself the opportunity to pursue a career in technology. 

After going back to college and getting my degree, entering the workforce did not go as I expected., but I was determined and did not allow a few bumps and bruises keep me from reaching my goal.  

Around this time, I joined LinkedIn to do some research for fellow veterans. I also began writing short articles about good companies that offered training opportunities for veterans, and it was this research, and these articles, that led me to Cisco. 

Cisco has a program called the Veteran Talent Incubation Program (VTIP). The program is a rigorous, self-paced program that provides veterans the opportunity to join the Cisco ranks. I applied for the program.  

As part of the application process, we had to submit a 5-minute video answering three questions. After submitting my application, I was a little nervous. I honestly did not think that I had a shot but took the chance anyway. In December 2017, an email informed me that I passed round one and was invited for an in-person interview.  

The thought of working for Cisco was exciting! 

The company flew me to their offices in Raleigh, North Carolina. The building where I interviewed had a data center on the first floorI was mesmerized by all the little lights and the sound of the running servers.

After returning home, I could not stop talking about Cisco. Two weeks later, the acceptance email arrived in my inbox and it was one of my happiest days I can remember 

Cisco assigned mentors to all of us in the program, and I was fortunately paired with John Maroney. The company also provided on-site mentorship and all of the training material. John helped me every step of the way and always made himself available to help me understand difficult concepts – something I would come to fin out is true of all Cisco employees. 

That summer, after completing all the program requirements, I was offered a job at Cisco! 

Ferdinand in Cisco server room.

You cannot imagine how proud I was of the accomplishment. The program was not easy, but the challenge made the experience that much more rewarding. Now, almost three years later, I can say that Cisco has provided me with opportunities that I never could have imagined.   

I am surrounded by smart, talented individuals that love helping each other. My team is diverse; we come from different backgrounds, yet we are all united by our passion for technology. We are also united by our obsession with helping our customers achieve their desired outcomes. Our customer’s best interest is always at the forefront of our decisions. 

Many companies use the word “teamwork” as a slogan – allow me to tell you what teamwork means to me. Teamwork is knowing that my teammates have my back; knowing that I can count on their support unconditionally. Teamwork is letting my coworkers know they can count on me, no matter what. That dynamic is even more important in a technology company.

Technology is changing rapidly; it is difficult, if not impossible, for one individual to keep up with all the changes. Being a part of a close-knit team allows me to play to my strengths, and as a unit, we eliminate knowledge gaps – we meet regularly to do knowledge transfers. 

This type of camaraderie can be found across the whole organization and the culture is second to none and genuinely diverse. You can be whoever you want to be at Cisco!  

Do you know what your passion is? You’ll probably find a few more at Cisco. I have explored many other opportunities beyond technology and am often involved in innovation projects and stretch assignments that allow me to explore different career paths. Simply said, you decide what your career should look like. You decide what is important to you, and Cisco and the leadership here will help you to get there.  

And, if you do not know what you are passionate about, yet, that is quite alright. You can learn, explore, and discover your true passion at Cisco! 


Ready to join our passionate teams? Apply now. 

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Ferdinand Soto

Technical Solutions Specialist

Security SE - Small/Mid US