Twenty years ago, as a freshly graduated engineer, I had no experience. What I did have, however, was a passion to explore a rapidly growing world known as The Internet.Hugues moves branches outside at a team give back event.

It’s tough not having the experience many companies and positions require when you are just starting out, but in my search – I found a silver lining. A Cisco recruiter, by the name of Benoît, hired me as a Cisco Systems Engineer and changed my life forever.

I was offered the last pre-sales engineer spot on the Cisco Belgium team.

Since my very first days at Cisco, I promised to one day return the favor to students eager to learn. I’d do so by extending an opportunity in the form of a unique and immersive Cisco internship where, over the course of a few months, a student would be able to explore and discover how Cisco is working on some of the coolest technologies on the planet.

One of the greatest benefits of interning (and working) at Cisco is that our company provides a unique opportunity that will allow an intern (or employee) to discover what their true strengths are. What do YOU love doing or working on? What career do YOU envision yourself mastering? Want a change of pace or want to join a different team? Those are all very real options here.

It’s not unusual to hear employees that have been here for 10, 15, 20+ years sharing how they’ve had multiple careers all at Cisco. Many have also had the opportunity to have their dream jobs in the country of their choice – whether that is closer to family and friends, or in the ability to live and work abroad.

What perhaps stands out the most to me is that every year, I am facing new technologies and trends. From big data to network automation and artificial intelligence, it’s never a ‘boring’ day at Cisco! Often, however, with new technologies comes an entirely unknown world where I’m not sure how to best approach them or how to seize the business opportunities that may lie within them. How do I build the new skills and confidence for my team in Belgium and Luxembourg to jump into and fully embrace these new technologies?

It’s a mission into the unknown, territory that has yet to be explored.

This is where my team’s interns come in, and where they help tremendously in researching and reporting back to the team their findings on these advancements in technology as they work together with a senior engineer on the team to explore these uncharted waters.

Here are just a few of our most recent interns and what they have been working on:

A photo collage of Hugues, his team, and the interns at a give back event outside.

  • Michael – our very first intern – had the mission to explore big data. How does it work, what’s behind it, what’s Hadoop and how does it relate to the Cisco Data Center, and especially the Cisco UCS server. Michael was in touch with a customer exploring aircraft engine test bed and a start-up developing a Google search engine alike for medical information used in hospitals. Where is Michael today? He’s now working in the United Kingdom as a senior consultant in the big data space.
  • Fabrice – had the opportunity, thanks to his results from working on our team, to join a Cisco development team at Cisco’s headquarters in San Jose, CA to live the true Silicon Valley life! He is now working as a Cisco developer based in Belgium.
  • Alexander – is now working as a business consultant at a top business consulting group.
  • Maxine – joined the Cisco Support organization based in Brussels.
  • Lionel – originally joined my team as a pre-sales engineer to work on the new networks you find in the biggest DC serving the Internet. He then joined the Cisco Business Unit at our Cisco headquarters in San Jose, CA as a Technical Marketing Engineer.
  • Samy – Has been the first to explore Artificial Intelligence with us and our colleagues from the Cisco Cortex group. He focused on the use of Reinforcement Learning in automated network issues detection and resolution.
  • Who’s next? Our next wave of interns have already been selected as Robin and Antoine will join our team. Robin will explore true multi-cloud capabilities for application developers using containers and tools like Kubernetes while Antoine will explore Artificial Intelligence and especially Natural Language Processing by navigating the thousands of Cisco patents we produced in the previous years.

At the end of each intern’s time with us, we all remember a fun & rich experience which changed our lives. Being able to learn through our interns has given us all a new perspective and opened the doors to what possibilities lie ahead. This is just one of the many reasons I love working at Cisco, and I am excited to see what the future holds.

Ready to become a Cisco Intern? We’re hiring. Apply now!


Hugues De Pra

Architecture Lead

Data Center & Virtualization