Cisco Systems Reviews

These reviews contributed towards 2009's Best Places to Work recognition. See ratings and reviews for all time.
289 Reviews
3.6
289 Reviews
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Cisco Systems Chairman & CEO John T. Chambers
John T. Chambers
282 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Good work/life balance (for most) with plenty of tools to help get that done (in 534 reviews)

  • It is very flexible environment where most people can work from home if they desire (in 301 reviews)


Cons
  • No part-time options for professionals wanting work-life balance while raising a family (in 161 reviews)

  • The result is a dilution of culture and a race towards big company mediocrity (in 149 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    It all depends on where you work

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

    I worked at Cisco Systems

    Pros

    the benefits and perks are good, especially work at home technology
    the pay is still above average
    about half the people are great -- smart team players who do the right thing
    some units are very good places to learn and advance

    Cons

    too many meetings where people waste time talking about work and not doing it
    some groups are petty and political, and if you are in one of those, it can be a constant struggle to stay in the loop
    some executives are incompetent
    often different teams are given the same job in blind competition == wasted effort

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    try to get back to the old corporate culture

    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Not a bad place overall, but evaluate what is in it for you.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer  in  San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Jose, CA

    I have been working at Cisco Systems

    Pros

    Cisco is an Industry Leader in so many categories. It has a great brand name. There are immense learning opportunities. It may be a very good employer especially when starting out fresh in your career. The executive management does a very good job communicating to all employees the direction and strategy of the company.
    There is a awesome benefits package with gymns and other health benefits. There are incentive programs to promote innovation and out of the box thinking. The company also supports employee development by reimbursing tuition fees. They also have a dedicated facility to train employees in various skills.

    Cons

    It appears to be an overcrowded place. It appears that the pie is too small and too many people are trying to get a piece of it. This creates lot of bad blood among employees. Employees are competing with each other and often conspiring against each other instead of working together as a team to stay ahead of competition from industry peers. The engineering management would get better results if they spent some time in people management. While the company support career development initiatives, the opportunities are too few and rare even though you may have the skills needed for the job. Engineering promotions below a certain level are not announced, but silently updated in the directory - doesn't help transparency.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    healthy competition among employees is good, but beyond that cisco needs its employees to work as a team in order to stay a leader.

    Approves of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great Work Life balance

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

    I have been working at Cisco Systems

    Pros

    Great Work-Life balance. Very collaborative work environment. Plenty of opportunities for internal job transfers. Opportunities to learn many COTS and in house developed applications and processes. Great encouragement to the employees from the management for learning courses that contribute to career development, professional and personal growth.
    Employees in general take pride in working for Cisco and show belongingness to the company. Brand name is easily recognized through out the globe.

    Cons

    Too big a company, with many processes. Formal knowledge transition and standardised onboarding processes almost non existent or differ greatly across various organizations. More than one person/team working on the same task without each other's knowledge.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on recognising the hard working employees than those who make just noise and no measurable results with ROI.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    If you don't like startup environment, cisco is the one you gotta pick up.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer II  in  San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer II in San Jose, CA

    I have been working at Cisco Systems

    Pros

    I was hired by Cisco choice program, in which new hires can choose their teams based on how they like to work or who to work for. Since most teams need more people, managers squeeze their brains to attract the new hires into their team. Before the new hires choose their teams, they are exposed to most information about projects and benefits or drawbacks of each team which is tipped by managers, who pamper the new hires badly (I thought I'm the king of cisco during the period - once I chose my team, my heyday was over..). This is an example of cisco how this company tries to lay out best environment for their employees.

    Cons

    The largest problem in cisco is its size. It is a big guy, which means its decision making process is very slow. Officially my reporting structure is not that complicated; manager, general manager, director, and VP (there are more, but in my position, I doubt that I can see anyone of them). But there are also inofficial small team structures here as well and of course some politics. Thus in order for me to convey my idea and make it adopted by my team, do you know how many people I have to convince?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I used to work for a startup and know how fast they are moving on. Cisco doesn't have to move like that since it has its name and money and human resources. However, at least it needs to speed up a little in its overall progress for projects, but large team size may be one of biggest obstacles. Make it small and move agile.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Great Company with many talents and opportunities, but too top heavy

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Business Analyst  in  San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Business Analyst in San Jose, CA

    I have been working at Cisco Systems

    Pros

    Lots of opportunities and easy to move around to try new and interesting positions

    Cons

    There are simply too many levels of management

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Flaten the organization and elimnate excess powerpoint slides focus more on execution and speed to market

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Workig with the best and brightest in the industry, a blessing and a curse.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Technical Support Manager  in  Richardson, TX
    Current Employee - Technical Support Manager in Richardson, TX

    I have been working at Cisco Systems

    Pros

    employee empowerment. work areas, and employee benefits. Very open minded in hiring practicies, laid back approach to corporate polices, no dress codes, free sodas, jucie, tea, coffee and popcorn. working with cutting edge technology, and the opertunity to work with some of the sharpest people in the industry.

    Cons

    Long work hours needed to compete with peers. Tough policy of maintaining the top 10%, their is constant pressure to manage out the bottom 5% performers, as there will always be a bottom 5%, there is constant pressure to stay on top of your game. Cisco sells the company ownership package to argue lower salaries.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    better work/life balence, and the need to compete with higher salaries.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    great work culture

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

    I worked at Cisco Systems

    Pros

    career opportunities are execellent. great work culture

    Cons

    benefits and compensation could definitely be better

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    cut back on red tape. Too much process kills creativity

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Cisco Review

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

    I worked at Cisco Systems

    Pros

    Great benefits and great flexibility. Exciting challenges.

    Cons

    Was not given much direction in terms of work. The atmosphere was very quiet and as a new grad, it was rather too lonely for me.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Interns need to be provided with some sort of guidance. At times, I felt I was just there to do nothing and typically had to go and attempt something on my own. I was not even sure if I was doing what I'm supposed to be doing and was pretty much coding aimlessly.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  10. 8 people found this helpful  

    Cisco, another Motorola, Lucent in future ?

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer III  in  Herndon, VA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer III in Herndon, VA

    I have been working at Cisco Systems

    Pros

    Cisco is relatively stable due to their success in business. Cisco pay a little higher than market average, offer good benefit and competitive high bonus. Cisco is good for those:
    (1) New graduates with weak technical skills and no work experience.
    (2) Immigrants who need visa & green card sponsorship based on employment
    (3) Lazy engineers who do not want a progress in technology and career
    (4) Ass kissers who enjoy spending 90% of their time on office politics.

    Cons

    Cisco is very successful in marketing for hardware devices, but has a very bad and extremely expensive way for management. Try to develop innovative software product here is so tough, just like a "group constipation": Many people works very hard on it, and takes very long time, and it turns out little -- s**t. They keep on deliver software product which makes little or no money and abandon it later, and no one say any thing bad inside Cisco for those garbage software products except their customers. Cisco has to use their famous strategy : keep on buying good technology from other company, to make up this shortage.
    Cisco's performance system over require so called leadership & influence no matter what your position is and how much you actually need it. This encourages people spending too much time on virtual work, spending endless time on meeting, phone calls, writing emails and not much useful documents. The more time you spend on real solid work, the less time you may spend on increasing your "visibility" or "influence", and worse performance you will get. My whole team was acquired by Cisco from another company. In my previous company, my performance never drop below top 15% for a few years, but in Cisco, with the same boss, same team members, same kind of excellent project I lead and accomplished, my performance drops under average. Cisco is full of mediocre engineers. The reason is not because they hire mediocre engineer but they make their engineers mediocre, they are encouraged and forced to be mediocre. If you stay long enough in Cisco, you will probably become mediocre even you are excellent before, and you will find it is hard for you to find a decent job outside again with what you learn in Cisco. Cisco is a "traditional" big company, not Google, or Microsoft type. Motorola, Lucent, Nortel's today will be Cisco's tomorrow.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    For those managers who feel comfortable in Cisco, no advice for you guys, keep on enjoy what ever you do as long as possible.
    For those managers who claim to change Cisco's cultures and management way, forget about it, because it will end up with: either you get changed or you get out of there in 2 or 3 years.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Cisco is a good place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Technical Leader I  in  Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Technical Leader I in Austin, TX

    I have been working at Cisco Systems

    Pros

    The pay and people are excellent.

    Cons

    Long hours, boring work, no state of the art software. Software engineers live in cube land. Senior managment really doesn't seem to know where they are going.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Move into the 21 century software development wise. Use C++ not C, use design methodologies. Use existing operating systems.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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