Miriam working at computer. When I joined Cisco in November 2020, I was a recent graduate. I had also moved from Sweden to Norway. Excited and nervous about my new city and new career as a Software Engineer on the Webex Devices team, I wonder what this new adventure would be like. How would I collaborate with my colleagues and learn everything I needed to be successful in my new role while working entirely from home?

What I quickly learned was that Cisco was the perfect place to land in such uncertain times!

What initially attracted me to working at Cisco was the job ad. You may laugh, but it’s true! I’ve come across many companies in my career search and Cisco did a great job at communicating who they are as a company and what employees can expect from them. Their message, which included different candidate profiles, was clear: be you with us, whoever you are. This gave me reassurance that I could indeed be part of the company and grow with them, while also having fun!

As a woman in tech, some companies can feel overwhelming, since many women won´t apply to a position if we can´t check every box in the requirements. I was glad that a company like Cisco, who provides so many different solutions for the entire world, was also deeply committed to promoting diversity and inclusion.

When I was offered the role, I was so excited to be joining this team and to work on incredible technology that is keeping us all connected – Webex!

Setting up a productive working environment and meeting my coworkers virtually was a unique experience. Getting the domain knowledge – that can often be found in chatting casually with colleagues at the water cooler or coffee machines in office, where you can discuss both technical and non-technical topics and get the bigger picture – took a bit longer to obtain while working from home. There is definitely an adjustment period as you can’t simply pop by someone’s office, but I’m glad to say that the positives outweighed these challenges, too.

Miriam on a boat overlooking the Northern Lights.I loved getting to know my teammates and having their support as I was onboarded and was caught up to speed. My manager and colleagues made sure I was getting time and space to explore and learn at my own pace as well, and we even created a Webex space dedicated exclusively to coding together and getting my questions answered. This has been key to keeping me motivated all these months – knowing that no matter what, my team has my back.

During this time, I have also learned to embrace change, to be a better online communicator (we all know how difficult it can be to get people’s emotions/reactions online) and to ask everything in order to connect the dots faster.

I also learned many things about my coworkers, like the fact that people are ready to help when needed and that they genuinely try to make you feel included. Working from home can be lonely, and every small gesture counts.

I think Cisco has really set an example on how to take care of employees and provide support when we most needed it. Cisco made sure we were all set-up to work remotely by providing the tools and tips needed to make our workdays smoother. There were also numerous online events to lift the spirits, mingle with other coworkers and have a good time. This is really important and enhances the sense of belonging!

When I think of the future of work, I think of flexibility. Flexibility to be whoever you want to be, work from wherever you are, maintaining your true self while connecting with people from all over the world and sharing ideas very easily. Knowing that our solutions at Cisco make this happen motivates me to keep learning and working to make online collaboration a great experience for everyone.

My advice if you are looking for your first role is to keep an open mind, be curious and invest in yourself. The place you choose for your first role is key and being part of a talented and supportive team can really make a difference in your career.


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Miriam Sanchez Alcon

Software Engineer