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Cisco Systems Reviews

Updated April 27, 2017
974 reviews

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Cisco Systems CEO Chuck Robbins
Chuck Robbins
98 Ratings

974 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Best work life balance in the industry (in 1707 reviews)

  • You have flexibility to work from home or a remote Cisco location (in 847 reviews)

Cons
More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Executives promoted with bad track record"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Tech Lead in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Tech Lead in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    There are still so many good engineers around

    Cons

    Executives promoted to almost highest level with bad track records. Can only do " me too". Whole team is dragged down.

    Advice to Management

    New CEO should know who can rely on.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Cisco is just so so"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer-II in Milpitas, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer-II in Milpitas, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Super slow pace that you will have definitely enough time to stay with your family or any kind of personal business.

    Cons

    Hard to get good shape paychecks


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Had good experiences during internships, but full-time is a different story"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    + Internships were enjoyable because I got to work on small but interesting projects in an easygoing environment. That said, compensation is very much below average compared to other tech companies in Silicon Valley.

    + Work/life balance is good. Rarely is anyone ever expected to work more than 40 hours per week. This might depend on your group though.

    + They are making a good effort to update their offices in San Jose from the old cubicle farms to the newer open-floor setups with free amenities (coffee/tea/espresso, snacks, etc.).

    + They do not skimp on developer machines and peripherals like monitors, headphones, etc.

    Cons

    - Very bureaucratic, lots of reorgs and movement at the middle and upper levels (e.g. new directors, mid-level managers, upper-level managers).

    - The pay is below average in comparison to other tech companies in the Bay Area. Promotions/raises seem to be few and far between. It will soon be my third year here, and all of my developer peers have also complained about slow growth within the company.

    - Due to the bureaucratic nature of the company, communication among the many groups is slow and sporadic.

    - It may be different for other groups, but there seems to be a general lack of expertise when it comes to software development best practices:
    -- Everything is hacked together
    -- Quantity of features and speed of development > quality and stability
    -- There are no design/architecture discussions that include all of the developers ("design" of the product usually happens as informal conversations between mid-to-senior level developers, without including the newer/entry-level developers). These discussions are ad-hoc, informal, and often not even documented.
    -- No standards followed for releases/deployment
    -- Very little effort spent on documentation of anything
    -- We are one of the many groups that tries to follow Agile/Scrum, but since we don't follow a lot technical practices that actual make Agile work (e.g. unit tests, code reviews, decent documentation, reasonably-sized & well-defined user stories, etc.), it isn't working as it should. The end result is shoddy code and constantly accumulating technical debt.

    - People in non-technical roles (middle managers and product owners) push for features and user stories without really knowing what they want. User stories are often a terse title and an empty description (no behavioral/functional specifications, no summary, no consideration for inter-dependencies among other user stories).

    - Projects often lack clear direction. This point applies to my group and our project, but I think it might apply to other groups as well. There are many technical leaders in our group, but for our project, we lack a TRUE lead technical architect who:

    1) has a clear vision of what the product should be like
    2) plans architecture & development tasks for the group
    3) mentors less experienced developers
    4) maintains standards on code quality and development processes

    Bottom line: If you're looking for a place to hone your technical skills and grow as a developer, look elsewhere. Some of the other reviewers who mentioned a culture of complacency absolutely hit the nail on the head. I have observed first-hand many times where our group has accepted mediocre work or shortcuts without hesitation "if it gets the job done," creating more technical debt. When developers ask for time to address technical debt, we are rebuffed by managers who claim that it is "good enough" and that we should focus on pumping out more features. If you stay here too long, your skills as a software developer will only continue to rust.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in your developers and encourage them to have high standards. Maintain those standards yourself, and don't ever let politics/pressure from above compromise the quality of your product.

    For each project, appoint a true technical leader that everyone can follow, and encourage senior developers to mentor less experienced developers.

    Cultivate a culture of software craftsmanship by respecting software development best practices. Raise the difficulty of the hiring bar, i.e. don't hire blindly based on a person's pedigree and evaluate each candidate based on their skills today, not what they accomplished many years ago.

    The companies that Cisco acquired are mostly successful ones with talented engineers and development processes that work (otherwise they wouldn't show up on Cisco's radar). We should be working more closely with them and learning from each other.


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  5. "Program Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Program Manager in San Jose, CA
    Current Contractor - Program Manager in San Jose, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Cisco Systems as a contractor (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Autonomy, flexible WFH, as compnay evolves there is potentital to lear more.

    Cons

    Contractors can be treated as second class citizens. They tend to hire young grads right out of school and don't utilize those with legacy data. Don't cultivate their contractors with legacy industry as well as company knowledge.

    Advice to Management

    Hire more of your contractors. Less reorgs, more employee growth


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Change Management Group Lead"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    good co-workers - knowledgeable professionals; good infrastructure support

    Cons

    Constant re-organizations and management changes; team geographically dispersed so hard to build group culture


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Company management needs a lot of improvement"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Lead in San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Technical Lead in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Cisco Systems full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    - Excellent sales team
    - Good work life balanace
    - Good gym
    - Good Health Plan

    Cons

    - People at the top are not accountable
    - Bad code quality
    - Almost no development time
    - Lack of Automation infra

    Advice to Management

    - Give engineers a decent development time
    - Management underestimates the effort estimate for projects
    - No steps taken to know if engineers are really happy and hence no steps to correct that


  8. Helpful (2)

    "Not as good as they used to be."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager/Program Manager in San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Project Manager/Program Manager in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good ideas. Good niches. Good head start in a variety of areas. Support for volunteering. Support for continued education.

    Cons

    Poor execution. Rushing things. The management chain is more interested in making themselves look good than doing what it right for the customer. They are cutting staff to make things look more profitable, which is a failing long term strategy.

    Advice to Management

    Instead of rushing things to market, do them right. Customers don't care about bells and whistles, they want reliable solutions that work every time. Don't cut staff to be more profitable when it impacts customer sat, and employee moral.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Not a Place for Age 50+"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Product Marketing Manager in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Senior Product Marketing Manager in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Interesting work and many very bright colleagues. If you are in the right organization, the fast-paced leading edge work can be very energizing. Many opportunities to learn and keep skills and knowledge current.

    Cons

    The culture has shifted tremendously over the last 5 or 6 years and politics is rampant. There is a systematic effort to get rid of older employees despite their qualifications. Although there are some very good managers, there is an equal number of poor managers. Too many shoot from the hip decisions being made.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Global Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Telework, customers, partners, global ops

    Cons

    Internal politics, constant re-orgs and layoffs, passive aggressive corporate behavior

    Advice to Management

    Stop telling you experienced employees to leave the company, because we will go and join startups and you will need to pay us much more in the acquisition model than to retain good people with knowledge skills and expertise


  11. Helpful (4)

    "Good While it Lasts...It Won't"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Management Manager in Irvine, CA
    Former Employee - Program Management Manager in Irvine, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Cisco Systems full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Cisco pays pretty well and offers good flexibility and some perks, and some of the administrative things work surprisingly well for such a giant corporation. Cisco does a lot of good work in the community and encourages staff to give back to various charities, etc. and does a good job of promoting mobility across job functions, etc.

    Cons

    There is a constant threat of a "Limited Restructuring" - nearly every year, you will lose some colleagues if not your own job, which absolutely kills morale. They make a lot of noise about how great their culture is - which if you have to say it so often, means it is likely not the case. They can be completely tone-deaf, for example, scheduling all-hands, AMA-type town-hall meetings with execs on the same days they're laying off hundreds of people, making "The People Deal" complete BS.

    Advice to Management

    The effort to re-cast itself as a SW company is sensible, but it will require a better understanding of how that industry works. Cisco got huge by selling technology everyone needed as the internet age grew, but that approach will not work now.


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