Cisco Systems Reviews

Updated July 23, 2015
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  1. Helpful (6)

    7th circle of political hell

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Engineer - Sales in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Engineer - Sales in San Jose, CA

    I worked at Cisco Systems

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    - Paycheck doesn't bounce (yet) - Better than working at Starbucks (maybe tied now) - Some fun technology - Talking with the few senior engineers who are still around about the good ol' days - Free boxes to pack your stuff in when you get fired. - You get lots of business cards, because your group gets re-org'd and re-titled every six months.

    Cons

    - Open racism applied in politics of management - If you're white, you will be retiring at 45... sorry, it's management policy - Technical merit means nothing anymore - Constant threat from management about being laid off.... TWICE A YEAR - Having to deal with sub-sub-sub contractors in Bangalore who call you at home when it's convenient for them. - Diversity means when you're organization is 65% Indian and you're not... you need to focus on your resume. If you are Indian, come in at 11, go home at 2, job well done.. enjoy your bonus. - Your manager cares only about themselves and the person above them they are trying to kiss.. nothing else, don't be fooled.

    Advice to Management

    The culture and morale of the company is now becoming a punchline for any other company looking to steal our last remaining people who actually know what they are doing. Replacing 5 engineers with an MBA Director doesn't solve your technical issues, just an FYI. The last 5 years have seen "cost cutting" lay-offs that have yet to show anything on the overall standing of the company, so WTF? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. You are all clearly insane. Would be great if you hold a nice big telepresence and fall on your swords for a change.


  2. Helpful (6)

    Glad to be out

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Manager in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Manager in San Jose, CA

    I worked at Cisco Systems full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Makes a lot of money Internal propaganda machine can make you feel good about Cisco's ability to predict the future, capture transitions, make you part of the family, etc

    Cons

    Demotivated work force -- get ready to work on command line interfaces and bug fixes Bloated teams -- your manager comes in one of two modes: empire building or laying off Incompetent management team -- the whole company survives on a couple of product lines and their support business ... everything else loses money for the company. Don't get caught up in working on the next big thing at Cisco -- Cisco has lots of next big things that usually last a year before they get shutdown

    Advice to Management

    Go the way of Lucent -- split the company up into smaller leaner companies that will either thrive or wither on the strength of their products and leaders. Hold your leaders accountable -- this is something that Cisco hasn't been able to do. Every time a leader leaves or is forced out their VPs, SVPs, etc get a "get out of jail free" card.


  3. Helpful (6)

    Workers live in fear, management forced to squeeze everyone relentlessly

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - IT Project Manager in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - IT Project Manager in San Jose, CA

    I worked at Cisco Systems

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Many employees can work exclusively from home, never needing to go into an office.

    Cons

    Cisco's philosophy is that the best way to get high productivity is to keep employees guessing and afraid. They do this by having very large annual layoffs. And it absolutely works, everyone scrambles to meet deadlines and holds everyone else's feet to the fire to do the same, no leniency is afforded anywhere. No deadlines slip unless it literally breaks and then everyone scrambles to make sure someone else gets blamed instead of themselves. Someone is going to be laid off next July, you better make sure you don't give anyone reason to think it should be you. I've never seen a company treat folks so horribly, everyone was fighting for survival. Not many companies could survive long doing this in high tech, where the economy is so hot. I worked with surprisingly great people who could get another job in a minute if they wanted to be in San Francisco or Boston. However, Cisco offers an amazing ability to work from home. This is a powerful incentive for employees with families, working in areas with bad commutes, or in a geography with few other job options. Many people use this remote access to relocate to cheaper parts of the country and take their higher pay with them, you can get an amazing standard of living this way. But be warned, the price for taking this remote work benefit is living in fear and dread every day. I held on through three layoffs and finally moved back to the Bay Area when I heard the fourth layoff was coming. The strain of being at this place was too great. Terrible company to work for, I'll never work for them again. Think twice before you take their faustian bargain.

    Advice to Management

    Well, Cisco's had a lot of success driving workers this way. It took a huge human toll on everyone but people stay for that remote work option. Cisco will keep squeezing, from what I saw no one up there cares about what it does to the health and families of the people there. But word to Cisco: If you start finding you can't keep quality talent, if you find that you're not a creative company now and you think you need creativity -- maybe you don't -- then know that you've weeded out everyone but the frightened worker bees. Quality and creative folks leave places like this. Thank heavens I'm done with you, it's like getting out of a bad marriage and wondering just what you were THINKING staying so long.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    STAY AWAY - especially if you are a hardware engineer !!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Hardware Engineer II in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Hardware Engineer II in San Jose, CA

    I worked at Cisco Systems full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Decent compensation. Good work life balance.

    Cons

    Hardly any promotions due to budget cuts. Hires new college grads and lays 40% of them within 2 years. Restructuring every 6 months. I used to look at it as some kind of semi-annual event

    Advice to Management

    Come on guys, Don't keep changing every 6 months.


  6. Helpful (5)

    Solution Architect

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Solutions Architect
    Former Employee - Senior Solutions Architect

    I worked at Cisco Systems full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Cisco used to be a great company with great work environment and benefits.

    Cons

    No innovation. Internal politics and cliques.

    Advice to Management

    Change the top level management, return to the source.


  7. Helpful (6)

    Undergoing a transformation with an uncertain future. Stay away until the things change.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Network Consulting Engineer in Raleigh, NC
    Former Employee - Network Consulting Engineer in Raleigh, NC

    I worked at Cisco Systems (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Many of the folks there are good to work with, trying to do good work in a tough environment. Lots of resources for learning, but there is very little in terms of formal training. If you can find the information, it is there to use. Interesting and original problems occasionally pop up. Working from home is a great benefit. However, individual managers are free to dictate how employees do it. Some groups are allowed to work from home or the office at the employee's discretion. Other groups are given the tools to work from home, but the ability to do so is highly restricted. Fairly generous PTO. However, keep in mind that the company requires all employees to use between five to seven days of it at the end of the calendar year, even if you do not have enough, forcing you to go negative. Contractors don't get PTO, but are forced to take those five to seven days off unpaid.

    Cons

    Management talks about doing the right thing and most employees believe in doing the right thing, but the management prevents people from doing the right thing at times. Customers are often kept in the dark about potential issues. Meetings are held discussing customer issues or bugs the customer may hit and then engineers are told to keep their mouth shut when talking to the customer. The company is so obsessed with the numbers and stock price and stockholders, a lot of bizarre cost management edicts and processes have started to appear. The phrase "penny wise, pound foolish" is very apparent at Cisco. Layoffs are a tool used regularly by management. People are paralyzed by the fear of being a boat rocker and getting laid off which results in low morale. Employee dissatisfaction is obvious. Compensation is okay, but raises are rare. No cost of living increases. Promotions are also rare. There ere people in the same position for years. If you want to advance your career, it won't happen at Cisco. One tactic is to work there, get Cisco on your resume and go to a partner or another company and get a much better title and compensation, coming back to Cisco after a year or two. Too many contractors. Cisco is trying to hit a magical number of contractors so that they can terminate them without notice instead of laying off employees. Contractors that are currently working there get strung along for months and years. To add insult to injury, instead of offering current contractors employee positions, Cisco hires outside folks without offering the open positions to the contractors. There are so many groups at Cisco, you will do one narrow range of tasks. This leads to many jobs, especially in TAC or HTTS, being highly repetitive and un-challenging. There are a many "experts" who are not. Working at Cisco will illustrate that having a CCIE is only proof that someone can pass a test and a lab that in no way reflects the real world. There are plenty who "earned" the certification by attending "study" sessions where people memorize questions from the written exam and scenarios leaked from the lab or by using brain dumps of questions smuggled out of the exam. Additionally, the CCIE is valued above real world experience; an employee with decades of experience and CCIE-level knowledge will not be treated as well as a newly minted CCIE with little to no experience.

    Advice to Management

    Time for a change at the top. Management is far too top-heavy and entrenched in its ways. Chambers should retire. Warrior and others need to be jettisoned. The company needs fresh leadership to make the changes to stay relevant. The rise of Arista and Palo Alto and the catch up Cisco is having to play illustrates that management has allowed the company to stagnate. Stop focusing on company performance and stock performance at the expense of employee morale. Reduce the reliance on contractors. Having so many people who have no incentive to go the extra mile and be high performers does not help. Expecting them to be invested in the company and its performance is unrealistic when they don't share in the success.


  8. Helpful (3)

    Beware: contractors are treated seriously poorly

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Software QA Engineer in Denver, CO
    Former Contractor - Software QA Engineer in Denver, CO

    I worked at Cisco Systems as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Lots of learning opportunities Great coworkers

    Cons

    Was given garbage task of bringing up microsoft lync server. Never given opportunity of doing work agreed upon during interviewing process. Contract terminated without one minutes notice. Thursday people were cheering me over a major milestone. Saturday got call that contract was over. Contractors are really treated poorly. Pay is rather poor for type of work performed.

    Advice to Management

    High turnovers lead to poor morale. Get rid of the cut throat emvironment. Have the permenant employees do their share of the work.


  9. Helpful (4)

    Cisco, the has been company.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Marketing Engineer in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Technical Marketing Engineer in San Jose, CA

    I worked at Cisco Systems (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    The smell of really amazing Chinese and Indian food in the break rooms.

    Cons

    Classic Management Dysfuction at the top and all the way down to the 1st line managers

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of John Chambers and all his cronies.


  10. Helpful (4)

    CISCO warning. might cancel contract unexpectedly.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Contractor Senior Developer in San Jose, CA
    Former Contractor - Contractor Senior Developer in San Jose, CA

    I worked at Cisco Systems as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    no pros. half-empty office. but we had one meeting room. If there were meetings we moving to another meeting room or sitting at the hallway till the end of the meeting

    Cons

    - low rates. I was impressed by name and agreed to $15 lower then market rate to participate in R&D team. It was terrible. I passed 4 rounds of interview and did 1700 miles to move. - there was a team consisted mostly of interns! Holly crap it was nothing about R&D they have urgent delivery of a project done mostly by interns! Here was already one consulter babysitting kids and I have to do the same. - in 4 days they terminated contract, right before Christmas holidays. - Be aware of scams. The CISCO brand name is nothing for ones worked for them.


  11. Helpful (3)

    No real innovation. Lack of visionary leaders. Lots of politics in the upper management.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Cisco Systems

    Pros

    Could have flexible work schedule after you've been worked for a while there.

    Cons

    Doing the same thing over and over. Some people are overly aggressive.



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