This post was authored by Najid Navas, a Software Engineer Intern on the HR IT Team.

Najid sits on the Cisco sign in front of the buildings on the campus in BangaloreGrowing up in a rural area, my immense curiosity about tech was undeniable, but my family wasn’t financially fit to buy a laptop, let alone my dream computer — a MacBook Pro.

In the tenth grade, I made a decision that seemed audacious at the time — to become a software engineer. The catch? The only school offering computer science was a whopping 30 kilometers away. But determination kicked in, and I embraced the daily commute. So, with no personal laptop, I began coding C++ on my mobile phone! The struggle was real, but so was my determination to learn.

I secured a spot in one of Kerala’s top engineering colleges, but then COVID came. Traditional, in-person college plans were on hold, but my eagerness to learn never took a backseat.

Still without a laptop and with time on my hands, I got creative. I found a job as a sales representative with a major mobile payment service. I worked day and night, along with my online studies, and even got promoted to sales manager. After three months of hard work and gaining valuable experience, I was ticking items off my dream list — a new scooter, paid college fees, a shiny new phone. Finally, the most significant one — I had saved enough to buy my first laptop. Although it wasn’t the coveted MacBook, it marked an important milestone.

I dived into web development, worked on sample projects, joined tech clubs, and even got involved with startups. The tech community became my support system, helping me bridge the gap created by the lack of formal education during those uncertain times.

Then, placement season began. Every day was a new challenge, and summoning the courage to confront that uncertainty, give my best, and still fall short defined my journey with personal strength and determination. My inbox echoed with rejection emails, each one a reminder of the uphill battle I faced.

When Cisco came to our college for on-campus placement, I put my heart and soul into those interviews. After three nail-biting days, the result was out — I was in!

And on joining day, there it was — my dream MacBook Pro. As I held it, the weight of gratitude and accomplishment sank in. I couldn’t help but shed a tear, thinking about how far I’d come from coding on a mobile phone, navigating through challenges, and now, holding in my hands the best companion for my professional endeavors. The MacBook Pro wasn’t just a laptop; it was a testament to the belief Cisco had in me. Setting up my first MacBook wasn’t just a tech upgrade. It was a tangible step into a world of innovation and growth, symbolizing the exciting journey ahead.

Najid smiling at the camera working on his MacBook Pro in a Cisco officeI always told my mom that a company like Cisco would choose me and provide me with the tools I needed to succeed. I vividly remember nights when I immersed myself in “Day in the Life” videos of different software engineers. Those videos weren’t just a glimpse into a workday; they were windows into the kind of life I aspired to lead. I envisioned a future where I would craft elegant solutions, collaborate with brilliant minds, and contribute to innovations that make a difference.

Those videos fueled my determination, serving as a constant reminder of the life I was working towards. Those previous rejections were simply stepping stones towards a brighter, more fulfilling future. So, when Cisco embraced me into its family, it was the realization of a vision I had painted for myself. I became not just a Cisconian but a participant in the narrative of those “Day in the Life” videos — a testament to dreams taking shape in the most extraordinary ways. And now, as I navigate through my own “Day in the Life” at Cisco, its dynamic atmosphere, the myriad of opportunities, vibrant community, positive energy, and the genuine connections I’m making, I can’t help but feel the resonance of those aspirations becoming a tangible reality. It’s not just about getting a job. It’s about a dream materializing because of passion and determination. It’s my bridge to possible — MacBook included.

Are you ready to discover your “Day in the Life” at Cisco? Find your path now.

Subscribe to the WeAreCisco Blog.