A lot can happen when you’re working hard and having fun, and I can attest to that being true at Cisco. In just four years’ time, my career as a Cisco network engineer has skyrocketed!
Not only have I received two promotions, but I was selected twice to speak at Cisco Live, awarded Restricted Stock Units (RSU) two times, selected as a sponsee for the Multiplier Effect Sponsorship program and as a Career Guide, and transitioned from Consulting Engineer to Product Manager.
For any network engineer, Cisco is always a ‘dream company’ to work for and I was no different. I still remember the day I received the call offering me a role at Cisco. My dream had come true. After joining, I quickly realized that I was surrounded by the most talented people around the world and to launch my career even further – I needed to work hard and smart.
Cisco has opportunities everywhere, and they are available to all. You just need to go after them. At the time, I was leading a large Service Provider account. Things were going great; the customer and account team was satisfied with the deliveries and my manager was impressed with my work. However, after one year, I started to feel as if something was missing. I was happy in my role, but not really satisfied. I wanted more – but I knew I needed to put in the work to achieve this goal, too.
Even more so, I needed to get out of my comfort zone!
At Cisco, we can explore other aspects and roles within the company by way of Stretch Assignment. This is how I got involved in one of the newly launched products, and I decided to learn everything about it.
As I started working closely with different teams throughout Cisco, I also gained experience by visiting customers to provide a demo, deployed this new product in customer networks, and conducted multiple workshops for Sales, Business Development and Delivery teams across the globe. All these opportunities resulted in getting multiple rewards and connected recognition (how Cisco employees recognize one another for a job well done). By the end of my second year, I became a Subject Matter Expert (SME) of this critical product.
Many of the sales and business development leaders reached out to me to engage customer discussions, and I would help them during the pre-sales phase. My growth during this time was exponential. I also started thinking that perhaps I could speak at Cisco Live with my new expertise and submitted abstracts – but they were rejected.
But as we all know, consistency is the key. In 2019, after submitting another abstract to Cisco Live – my submission was accepted for Cisco Live San Diego. This would be my first time presenting to 120+ attendees! The experience boosted my confidence unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I was ready to take on the World.
My session was also selected for Cisco Live Barcelona in early 2020. A whole year had gone by, and my experience and knowledge had expanded even further! I was also a part of the Cisco booth – sharing the stage with Senior Architects, Senior Leaders and Product Managers. I met many customers and partners and received the opportunity to showcase our services portfolio.
All this fuelled me to fly even higher. By the end of my third year, I had become a Lead and was driving multiple projects and was selected by a Director to become his sponsee under “The Multiplier Effect Sponsorship” program.
While collaborating with different teams and realizing that my work was highly visible among many senior leadership teams, I knew it was time to grow yet again. My interest in Product Management was born.
As said in the famous proverb, “Fortune favours the brave.” So, when an opportunity came up – I applied for that position.
I was interviewed by Senior Architects, Senior Leaders and our Vice President. The interviews were tough, but I enjoyed every bit of it. Do you know what made the interview easy for me? I knew I was able to achieve my goals by not being afraid to explore outside my comfort zone and going that extra mile.
Recently, the career guide team reached out and asked if I would become a Career Guide to help foster an inclusive community and help team members find and access new opportunities across Cisco. I was in! Here is another new way for me to grow and help others on their career journey at Cisco.
And I wasn’t done yet – at the end of my fourth year, I achieved my goal and was offered the role as a Product Manager.
Are you thinking of fast-tracking your career growth? Here’s my recommendation:
1. Get out of your Comfort Zone! There is no right or wrong time when taking on additional responsibilities. When you challenge yourself, the one obvious thing that will happen is you will learn from those new experiences. The outcome of learning is always positive.
2. Reach out to your leader or peers if you need some guidance.Talk to your peers, leader, or a friend. We all need people to help guide us. Find a sponsor who can set you on the right track. Cisco has the best people and culture – but it is YOU who needs to take the action.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself in front of a new challenge. It will be scary sometimes because it is new. But be patient. All great things take time.
As for me? I know my Cisco journey is just getting started as my limit is beyond the sky.
Ready to grow with us? Check out our careers!