1) Why did you join Cisco's network engineer internship program?
I remember what stood out to me in the application for the internship program was the point about training, I did not come from a very strong technical background and this position provided the training to learn and develop my technical skills, whilst also gaining valuable experience within a corporate environment. I also knew Cisco was one of the leading IT companies in networking, and would present a number of exciting opportunities.
2) What motivated you study a masters in Information Technology, after completing a Bachelors in Fashion design?
Design is all about 'imagining the seemingly impossible', IT is a growing space that can often explore some of these almost unimaginable ideas, expanding into almost every industry, with smart objects, appliances, and even wearable technology starting to become a very real part of our everyday lifestyles. I feel this concept was something quite interesting and inspiring to myself, campaigns like Cisco's 'Internet of Everything,', which explores integrating networks and system, and 'connecting the unconnected,' really gives us a glimpse into the possibilities, and the opportunities that the IT industry could offer.
I would say the moment that really pushed me to jump back to study my Masters at University would probably be during my time working for a fashion swimwear company in their sales and marketing department, where I ended up working closely with their IT department, developing their website and electronic marketing campaigns. I enjoyed the challenge of learning a new software or technology and decided to take the plunge into IT, and haven't looked back!
3) What are the best opportunities you have had at Cisco so far?
Cisco has provided me with a number of exciting opportunities, whether working with and meeting engineers from all over the globe, or receiving world class training from some of the top networking engineers from across the nation! Cisco has also given me the opportunity to mentor and work with girls and refugee students through the STEM and Lucy Mentoring Programs, I enjoy meeting and helping people and hope to inspire more women to take the jump into IT. The internship position gave me the ultimate opportunity to join the Graduate Program, it provided me with an advantage over other applicants, and an insight into the Cisco culture.
4) Describe a typical day for you at office
As an intern, my day would involve working in the physical lab environment, I was able to play around with the actual hardware of many different types of Cisco devices, understanding networking at the bottom of the TCP/IP stack. My role also required me to liaise with engineers from all over the world, collaborating with them to recreate real customer network problems. The saying we 'worked hard but also played hard' was very true about this role as the little down time we had, allowed us to take full advantage of the Cisco facilities, playing Xbox or a table tennis tournament with our colleagues.
My typical day now in the graduate program is not too much different but I have moved to more complex networking problems, I have the opportunity to rotate to different teams within the technical support center and learn a specific technology. Within this role I deal directly with our customers, and can work with a variety of people from many different companies.
5) How did the internship program prepare you for your current graduate role?
The internship program definitely helped in preparing me for my transition into the graduate program, as I was able to work with a lot of Cisco technologies, and had a good understanding of the lab environment which gave me an advantage when applying for the graduate role. I had also collaborated with a lot of the engineers that I would be working within my rotations and had become familiar with the Cisco culture and expectations, which made starting a new role much less daunting.
6) Why would you encourage students to apply for the network engineer program as Cisco?
I would encourage anyone who is interested or even curious about networking, to join the Cisco Network Engineer intern program. It is a good starting point to understanding networking with no previous training required, if you have the passion and drive to learn you can gain the most from the intern opportunity. This position offers responsibility and the possibility to make a real business impact, whilst also giving a good insight into a corporate environment. Within this role, you don't only develop your technical networking skills, but also your communication and professional skills. I can confidently say I really did enjoy my time as an intern at Cisco, I was surrounded by a supportive team, I learnt a lot and also had fun whilst doing it, gaining valuable experience and also friendships.
7) What can students expect from the recruitment process
The recruitment process is fairly standard for any internship or graduate position for a large company like Cisco, the process starts by applying online where you upload your resume. I would suggest attempting to make it stand out, add a bit of your personality into your resume and make sure to tailor it to the job description! Usually if you make it through this stage, the next step is a phone interview, where you will be asked a few basic technical questions and also some behavioural based questions, it is here they more just want to see how you communicate and get a taste of your personality, so don't just stress solely on the technical questions! Last round is the assessment centre, which encompasses a combination of group activities, a panel interview and usually a technical assessment or presentation. This can be quiet daunting especially for someone who hasn't done this before, I would suggest getting to know your group, introduce yourselves as they will probably be as nervous as you, you will all do better in the group assessment if you can form a little bit of a relationship before you get in. My last piece of advice would be to just have fun, and treat everyone you meet with respect, even if you don't make it through the contacts you make could lead to even more opportunities down the track!