It’s hard to believe that I came into Cisco with so much uncertainty – unsure of what this company would hold for me, and where it would take me in my career. Any new position has its uncertainties, of course. Nerves always come ahead of new challenges and adventure. I’m glad to say that as I celebrate my sixth Ciscoversary, I am proud to be a Cisconian.

What makes my heart beat so passionately for Cisco? Well, there are many reasons, but what has me loving where I work so much is that I’ve been able to reinvent myself time and time again here. Let me explain…

I started as an Engineer at Cisco. Reading about networking concepts in textbooks was one thing, but applying them to the world of Cisco was a whole new ballgame. I still remember how overwhelmed I was when I saw the lab for the first time at Cisco! It was a feeling I don’t think I’ll ever forget as all those routers and switches left me with a sense of awe and pure happiness.

From automating to running manual tests, I was doing my tiny bit for our customers and I loved it. I would get on to maintenance window calls, perform rigorous automation and experienced true joy in finding bugs as a test engineer.

After a couple of years into Engineering, however, I decided to try out a role in Program Management. I wanted to understand how the process worked and why we do certain things in a certain manner here at Cisco. While I learnt a great deal in this role, it also taught me what capabilities I had that were yet to be unleashed. This position also opened up a doorway for me to understand that there were MANY roles within Cisco that I would enjoy – and that potential excited me greatly!

From there I made a switch to Product Management which is where I am now – and every day brings a new moment of learning for me! Talking to customers, understanding their requirements and adapting to new challenges every single day is what keeps me going. What makes it even better is the team! Every single person on my team is so enthusiastic about what they’re working on and I’m so inspired by my leadership!

How was I able to try so many career paths all at Cisco?

At Cisco, employees are able to try many career paths and there are even stretch assignments that enable you to sit on one team, while you explore and learn about other roles within the company for a few hours each week. For my journey, it is all thanks to so many wonderful mentors and leaders here who encouraged and challenged me to learn new concepts and find work I love doing.

These mentors showed me the path where my skills would be best utilized, and for that I am forever grateful. Cisco leadership helps you to find your strengths, and empowers you to build the career of your dreams. It’s a gift from Cisco to be able to explore the company and find your true purpose.

My experience has also had me rethink how we perceive mentorship – who can be a mentor and what impact can it leave? The answer, to me, is that anyone can be a mentor – and even a five minute meeting can lead to big things for your future and leave their mark.

There have been many mentors in my Cisco journey who have groomed me into the employee I am today. My manager, Rohan Grover, is a constant source of encouragement and inspiration who also instilled in me the “Don’t let fear get the better of you” attitude. Pallavi Srinivasa always helps provide constant feedback and has helped me to own the tasks I get right, and more importantly, the tasks I can improve upon.

Six years later and it’s been an amazing adventure thus far! Here’s to adding even more candles to my Ciscoversary cake in the future.

Want to work for a company that encourages you to grow? We’re hiring. Apply now.


Surya Raju

Product Manager

Enterprise Switching