“How’s work going? How was your day?”

It’s what one of my closest friends asked me recently over coffee. Usually, people ask it casually, along with “What about this weather?” or “Did you see the game last night?” I don’t think she expected the complex, passionate reply she got from me.

“You must really love where you work!”

I smiled. Yes, yes I do. I’m having a blast at Cisco and love every day of what I get to work on!

To make a complex thing appear simple is one of the hardest things to do as an engineer, and yes, as a Cisco Software Engineer.

Cisco recently announced The Network Intuitive – a network that adapts and learns – as one of the biggest, industry-changing solutions ever. We had to make the solution simple for our customers.

I’m working on the Software Defined Access (SDA) solution built on the foundation of Digital Network Architecture (DNA), one of the pillars that defines this new era of networking.

When we started working on this project over two years ago, I never imagined the magnitude of what it would grow into and the impact it would create. I knew we had something great in the works – but to experience the launch of the solution,, and to see it adopted by customers was truly exciting.

To be able to do this work, it’s an opportunity that comes along once in a lifetime for an Enterprise Network Engineer. And to be one of the few that can say, “I worked on a disruptive technology that led to the future of networking!” is something I will carry with me forever.

Here’s how we disrupted the status quo:

  • Network deployments can now be fully automated, secured, segmented and policy controlled with real time analytics, which means IT and operations teams can save time. What took days now takes minutes!
  • Provide network access in minutes to any user, device or application without any security compromise – such as the recent WannaCry Ransomware attack.
  • SD-Access is the industry’s first policy-based automation from the network edge to the cloud.

Just thinking about working on technology like that gives me goose bumps, as I know that this is going to solve many networking challenges and truly change the world.

Right from the inception of this program, we had a 100% backing from all avenues – Engineering Leadership, Product Marketing, System and Sales Engineers , direct management  and peer teams. This facilitated divergent and creative flow of ideas, which helped us engineer the program successfully. It was always about “Do What Is Right For The Consumer” and make the adoption, well, simple!

Throughout the course of the project, I was pushed beyond my comfort zone. It helped me to take on a fearless approach, venture into areas I had no prior learning . Everything was new so it an experiment. Problems were not stop signs but guidelines. Looking back, it was the challenges that turned into the next opportunistic step and kept pushing us all along the way. And once we were able to achieve a goal, it felt like landing on a new planet and continue exploration from there on.

I am a working mother, and I think we tend to be extremely critical of ourselves. Being excited about what I do helps with that. It’s important to feel passion for what we do.

When I pick up my son, I ask him the same question. “How was your day?” He responds with so much enthusiasm and excitement showing off what he knows. We are the same that way.

As engineers we usually tend to live in our box, our safe space. Not everyone thinks of “innovation” as a core skillset. But innovating is simple, if you think about it in these ways.

  1. Keep an open mind. Serendipity happens all the time and that results is some great problem solving.
  2. It is not an option but a necessity to look at things differently, to get out of the box and be creative
  3. There are no boundary conditions. We create them in our mind and that perpetuates fear,which holds us back. Cross the boundaries and overcome the fear.

Tell me, how was your day?

Are you looking for a company that makes you this excited about your day? We’re hiring!



Shivangi Sharma

Technical Leader

Enterprise Networking Group