Cisco Systems Reviews

Updated April 29, 2015
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634 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Be careful of strong politics in HR

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

    I worked at Cisco Systems

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great , rewarding work with the clients.

    Cons

    Politics are very mean spirited in HR. Be prepared

    Advice to Management

    You have lost the great culture you had 10 years ago of really caring about the employees.

  2. Helpful (2)

    Poor management

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

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

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

    Pros

    If you need a job to pay the bills it will do it.
    You have the benefit of the big name Cisco. Looks good on resume.
    You can easily be hired. Most likely the people who will interview you, don't know much about software development. But careful, that can backfire. If they see you know to much they won't hire you to avoid to look inferior (old game, hire worst than you to look better). Remember the Seinfeld episode where Kramer went to do karate with little kids ? That's it ...

    Cons

    Although backed up by the name Cisco, every office is different.
    This review is specifically for the orange county office, if you are looking to be hired there.
    If you are a motivated software engineer, I do not recommend this office. Management is not qualified
    Career advancement does not happen based on merit if not at all.
    A lot of injustice, politics, wasting time in things that don't matter instead of investing on the ones that matter.
    Hard to work on good projects. They will promise you exciting stuff, but than you will find yourself to fix bugs on horrible code bases written by who knows who.
    Management is ridiculous. Bunch of talks no facts.

    Advice to Management

    Management needs a makeover. Or read some good books about good management.

  3. Helpful (1)

    Poor middle to upper management on some projects and areas seriously mars an otherwise terrific company

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

    I have been working at Cisco Systems as a contractor (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    * Good technical people
    * Work-life balance
    * Challenging projects
    * Benefits appear good for fulltime employees

    Cons

    * Low to very-low functioning middle management on some projects
    * Average manager is below industry average and the standard deviation of capability is large (many good managers are overshadowed by the many poor managers)
    * Frequent layoffs and declining market share

    Advice to Management

    * Don't hire or promote someone just because they are like you. Hire or promote because they have the skills and attitude and maybe because they complement your skills
    * Top-down, rigid management culture is inefficient and frustrates your good people who want to get things done
    * Confidence, arrogance and inflexibility does not equal competence
    * Listen to your people. If they bring an issue or opportunity to you, don't ignore it or push it back on them

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  5. Helpful (1)

    Velvet handcuffs

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Business Analyst in Research Triangle Park, NC
    Former Employee - Business Analyst in Research Triangle Park, NC

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Company provided excellent benefits including great salaries and 401k marching that vests immediately. Work life balance can be managed in certain roles. Options for telecommuting allow great flexibility.

    Cons

    Opportunities for career growth are lacking Management seems opposed to lateral moves that Can help individuals develop a career if they do not see how it contributes to their specific organization.

    Advice to Management

    To retain employees, provide clear opportunities for career development, especially for new hires in the university program.

  6. Helpful (1)

    Good company, excellent pay, but lousy leadership in the IT area!

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

    I worked at Cisco Systems full-time (More than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    Cisco keeps placing in the "Top 100 Places To Work" type of things. There is a lot to like about the company. The pay is very good. If you are in the management ranks the bonuses can be substantial. The campus and other amenities are very well covered. Lots of exciting things to do and plenty of chances to move around to other areas within the company if you are a techie. The company embraces diversity of all kinds. Internal training is very good. I have a long list of negative comments below, but know that those are directed at the IT organization. I have friends in Finance, Engineering, and Supply Chain at the company that do not experience the negatives I outline for the IT area.

    Cons

    I worked nearly five years in the IT department. That part of Cisco was horrible!! If someone would go in there with a firm hand, they could cut out at least $1billion in waste on contractor spend and excess management overhead.

    A majority (about 70% at one time) of the IT manager to senior director ranks were former employees of outsourcing companies (e.g. Infosys, Wipro, etc.) Strong ties and strong motivation to milk dollars into their network of former colleagues. The contractor to employee scale is beyond absurd. I saw large organizations with 5:1 or 6:1 contractor/employee ratios. Some smaller areas were 100% contractors. It was not uncommon to have individual contractors that had been there over a decade.

    The IT leadership team spent more time working deals, exchanging favors, and peacocking on Powerpoint then they did in advancing the IT solutions. It was hideous. Many of them work a system that allows them to stay in an area 6-9 months, then rotate out to something new. They can do this if they are good at building a cadre network and a system of favors. This leads to flashy solutions and deliverables, but ones that often are not sustainable longer term or are point solutions that cannot be adapted as the business changes. It does not matter to these leaders on this merry-go-round as they know they will rotate into something else and escape the consequences of their recent "accomplishments". There is no long term accountability.

    You were expected to be on call and available 24x7x365. Seventy plus hour weeks would be on the low end. Eighty hour weeks were common. I had people scheduling meetings on the weekends. Night and early morning meetings with India were a given, every day of the week. Getting calls, texts and emails in the middle of the night were routine and you were chastised if you did not respond to them immediately. That is CIsco IT's definition of "work/life balance".

    Advice to Management

    Get some strong oversight on the dead middle of the IT management structure. Get beyond the slideware and really check to what they accomplished. Clean house and fire at least a third of these people. Look for the ones that rely more on nepotism and favors than delivering long term, sustainable solutions that had proven business value. Deal with the over reliance on outsourced help and get that spend down to a reasonable level. Right now, your IT area is owned by the venders and they know it.

  7. Helpful (1)

    Cisco Consulting Services

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

    I have been working at Cisco Systems full-time (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    Some great people with a passion to succeed

    Cons

    Extremely poor leadership, lack of focus and clear objectives creates an atmosphere of internal competition and jockeying for position. Leftover culture that operates out of fear leads to many talented people either leaving or just putting their head down and doing bare minimum.

    Advice to Management

    Decide if Cisco really should create a consulting business or acquire/partner. The IoE strategy is misguided -needs clear applicAtuin to business problems today. Lack of true consulting skills unfortunately means that this is a long growth path and I don't think The rest of Cisco can afford it.

  8. Helpful (2)

    No Growth but good benefits and work-life balance

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

    I worked at Cisco Systems

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

    Pros

    * Work-life balance, benefits, gym, Child-care (bright horizons one is fantastic)
    * If you are smart you can align yourself with the smart ones and learn quite a bit
    * Every project is global in nature
    * Technology - global cell phone access, global weber access, ability to work form anywhere culture

    Cons

    * Pay, pay, pay.... especially if you are a long timer... no increments unless you threaten to quit and bring a offer
    * You will stagnate once you enter, so consider quitting and coming back as the only way to get promoted and get a salary hike
    * Politics ...Politics...Politics .... some of the worst people i have worked with many lacking ethics
    * Absolutely NO promotions but your management will lie about it... so don't go with that expetation
    * some VP's openly admit that they follow the burn and churn policy
    * No respect for the individual's career

    Advice to Management

    * No advice because it will fall on deaf years
    * My advice to you - go there if you are going to have kids or are past your prime and are looking for a 9-5 job

  9. Helpful (2)

    Some of the best people I could ever hope to work with, stuck with some really bad leadership.

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Outstanding people
    Good products
    Great benefits
    Not going to fail any time soon; expect many more years of network product dominance.
    Good at driving technology changes in the market.
    I had 18 years of above average and outstanding yearly reviews -- probably 14-15 of those years I would say the company still felt "great" (and yes my last three reviews were also above average)
    Huge opportunity for "diverse" people to have a strong career track.

    Cons

    Senior leadership that is focused on political consensus and not able to make good, practical decisions.
    Leadership that puts their own individual careers ahead of their people and the company's success. Managing up seems to be more important than doing the right thing, and what is sad is the people above the "manage up" folks can't seem to figure out that is what is happening; or they don't care. It was pretty obvious to me when one of my direct report leaders was a manage up person that didn't take care of their team, and I had no place for that in my organization.
    Cisco used to be mostly "A" players, and "B" players crept in. "A" players as leaders hire more "A" players and don't worry about the risk that the person they hired can supersede them. "B" players hire "C" players so they can't be challenged.... and Cisco is well down that path now... even worse are the many politically motivated "C" players who have made their way into executive decision making roles.
    Lost the early "get things done, do the right thing, have fun" Cisco culture as the company got big.
    In early Cisco anybody could go see anybody with any title and have a conversation that often led to results. Now you can't get on any executive calendar if they don't have a hidden agenda that involves you.
    Diversity at Cisco means almost anything except older white males. Unfortunately because the %s are so far off in the networking industry at large, good people are being sacrifice to the god of "diversity"
    Middle-aged white males have no future at Cisco, don't bother going there regardless of your experience, brilliance, leadership skill or innovation level. If you are in that category and still there... change is good, look around.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of half the people you have with VP titles at complete random. You will get rid of mostly losers even though you have to sacrifice a few winners. It will speed up decision making and save a bunch of overhead costs. Then do the same to Sr Directors and Directors.
    After that purge, let your directors and senior managers make some decisions!
    Quit promoting sycophants and promote people on merit instead of political consensus. Too many leadership promotions at Cisco are based on club credentials. Also way too much precedence is given to diversity criteria which leads to bad leadership, which then executives won't fix because it is "diverse." Yes there are good "diverse" executives at Cisco but on a % basis the average "diverse" leader is not as good as their "older, white, male" counterpart.
    As an investor and significant stock owner, your cost of sales is way too high. Move people from direct sales into partner sales if you want scale and then get rid of 25% of your direct sales force.
    Keep laying off your good people, we need them out here.
    Many of employees at Cisco are "trapped" just like you identify certain customers to be through the customer satisfaction survey... it would be wise to figure that out before you lose all the good ones.

  10. Helpful (1)

    Highly Political, and much to much Middle Management

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

    I worked at Cisco Systems

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Work From Home remotely, collaborate with others extensively.

    Cons

    People are over committed and unresponsive to meeting timelines and performing the work that they are responsible to do

    Advice to Management

    My advice to Senior Management is to get involved at a lower level in the org chart with the people who are customer facing and solve the issues and challenges.

  11. If you are part of a company acquired by Cisco your career options are limited.

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

    I worked at Cisco Systems full-time

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

    Pros

    Salaries are competitive with industry. Company provides a work from home option. Benefits are competitive.

    Cons

    Week management at the lower levels. Managers are often expected to be billable instead of being full time managers, leaving little time to truly invest in their people. Direct reports often work more closely with managers in other groups. Due to an employee manager's focus on being billable, they are often very unaware of their employees efforts, contributions and successes, yet these same managers are responsible for providing direct reports their annual reviews. Expect annual layoffs no matter how well the company is performing. No clear or consistent method for targeting employees for layoff other than nepotism.

    Advice to Management

    If you are going to make "limited restructuring" an annual policy for the company, managers should be forced to apply a consistent set of rules so that nepotism doesn't become the means for which decisions are made. That is clearly what is going on at this point in time and management needs to wake up and realize this. You are losing good, hardworking and dedicated employees through your current lack standards of targeting.

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