Cisco Systems Reviews

Updated April 14, 2015
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2,211 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (7)

    Collaboration Group at Cisco has a lot of dysfunction

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

    I have been working at Cisco Systems full-time (more than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    IMPORTANT - Different divisions within Cisco are vastly different from one another, my advice is to make sure you know if a GlassDoor review is relevant to the job that you are applying to.

    I work in the Collaboration Technology Group (CTG) which includes WebEx, TelePresence, IP Phones, Jabber and Spark (aka Project Squared).

    The Pro's of CTG are:

    (1) Typically your co-workers are great people. My immediate team, for example, is one of the top group of peers I've had in my whole career. They are smart, qualified and everyone cares about each other

    (2) The Collaboration Group has some really interesting products, there is a very good chance you'll work on something that is relevant and that you'll be proud to have on your resume

    (3) Cisco offers great benefits. I can almost guarantee you won't find a company that can beat what you get for being a full time employee (Medical, flexible work, 401k matching, etc)

    Cons

    The con's of working within the Collaboration Group:

    (1) At the VP and Director level Cisco is competitive and tumultuous, more so than any company where I've worked in 20+ years. In the last 5 years there have been 4 different Senior Vice Presidents and with each change there has been a lot of churn and changing of priorities.

    (2) There is a ton of in-fighting between groups (aka BUs or business units). Basically every Director and VP is incented to compete against ever other Director and VP for budget, resources, attention from executives & the sales force, etc). While this sounds normal for a large corporation, the stakes are high. Winners build set their own agedas and losers can not control their own products and often are subject to yearly layoffs. The bottom line is almost none of the teams are rowing in the same direction, rather everyone competes against each other.

    (3) Most importantly Cisco has a yearly layoff. Every July/August for the last 6 years the company lays off a large number of people. In that time the company has laid off more than 20,000 people and yet the number of employees is larger than ever. I've seen entire product teams get cut when other teams could sorely use the talented people that were let go. I know someone who got an Outstanding yearly review (which is only given to 6% of people at Cisco), and he was laid-off just a week later.

    Normally you think of a large company as being more stable than a small one, but Cisco is not at all stable

    (4) It's very hard at all levels to move up at Cisco. If you are a manager who wants to become a director it's very difficult, the best way to be a director at Cisco is to be at a company that Cisco buys. If you are a Tech Lead who wants to become a Senior Tech Lead the competition is fierce - I know several engineers that have been trying for years to make the next step.

    Advice to Management

    If there's one thing executive management could do to improve things it would to end the policy of yearly layoffs. It's ridiculous that they would allow such a corrosive practice to continue, it ruins moral and any belief that the company is on the right track.

  2. good work life/balance but too many shakeups and disruptions

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

    I have been working at Cisco Systems

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

    Pros

    - Lots of opportunities to learn new skills (both from training/seminars as well as from genuinely smart, talented peers)
    - Freedom to work from home is a huge plus, especially for employees who have long commutes
    - Friendly staff

    Cons

    - Too many shakeups and re-orgs which is highly disruptive (I went through 4 in 5 years)
    - Too many middle managers.
    - Too many hoops to jump through to get anything done.
    - Stressful work environment with little pay off (average salary, not a whole lot of employee perks, etc.)

  3. Sr. Manager

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

    I have been working at Cisco Systems full-time (more than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    fun place to work if your org structure is stable.

    Cons

    Salary is not competitive

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  5. Program Manager

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    It was great when it was smaller

    Cons

    Sweat shop - no work/life balance.

    Advice to Management

    Move on vs resting on your laurels.

  6. A company that excels at the process of on-boarding and off-boarding - it's in-between that falls down

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

    I worked 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

    Chance to work with some very experienced, professionals who have kept Cisco at the forefront.
    Good severance packages.
    If you can network, then there are plenty of opportunities in other parts of Cisco. Indeed there may be other parts doing very similar work!

    Cons

    Culture can become toxic with managers seeking personal fame through driving employees; e.g. working from home was banned, sessions in which we had to declare our weaknesses to our colleagues, and reviews became highly personal.
    Once the manager has you in his sights there is little you can do. Forget HR.

    Advice to Management

    Review acquisition strategy to capture the value and retain the enthusiasm. Existing structures often stifle innovation

  7. Cisco Review.

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

    I have been working at Cisco Systems

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great company to work for, I had the chance to work under a great manager who understood that I needed to grow

    Cons

    Lot of bureaucracy. And stuff takes long time to get done.

    Advice to Management

    You have too much fluff in between different layers and have tons of products that do the same or similar things

  8. Company re-inventing itself!

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Focus on disruptive trends, global impact, investing for the future, on upward trajectory

    Cons

    Requires patience to move things (but massive impact if you can)

    Advice to Management

    n/a

  9. Great Company to learn about managing large teams and projects!

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

    I have been working at Cisco Systems

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Smart people and great company values

    Cons

    Can be political at times.

  10. Helpful (1)

    Positive overall experience

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

    I have been working at Cisco Systems as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Flexible work schedule and projects are always changing

    Cons

    Theres a strong divide between business teams and IT. Company has as much culture as a mauve flannel cubicle.

    Advice to Management

    More needs to be done foster unity between business and IT, and between contractors and employees.

  11. Helpful (5)

    Acquired and then sent on my way

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

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

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

    Pros

    Cafeteria, great smelling bathrooms (no, really the air freshner they use is amazing), ability to telecmomute. Stock price is currently on the rise.

    Cons

    HUGE company, no one recognizes you a day later even if you were just in a meeting together, upper mgmt kinda sucks because of constant reorg. Outsourcing a lot of jobs to India... not cool.

    Advice to Management

    Get to ACTUALLY know your employees that come from new acquisitions. I didn't wish to continue my employment with Cisco because the managers that were over our group were horrible snobs and only there to build their little empires and move themselves upward leaving behind a trail of charred bodies, figuratively speaking.

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