14 Pros and Cons of Working for Cisco

Cisco refers to the multinational company Cisco Systems, Inc., and all its affiliates and subsidiaries.

As of June 2020, Cisco has become the most extensive networking and communications device industry entity.

The company’s aggressive approach to expansion has led directly to the domination of its market sector and made it an employer of choice in security, artificial intelligence (AI), 5G wireless technologies, and data center support services for hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI).

For example, Cisco’s acquisition of Duo Security in 2018 means its zero-trust security policy protects users from malicious attacks and identity theft. As a result, users can connect confidently over any network using any application from every device they own or access.

Before you apply for a position at Cisco, examine the benefits and drawbacks you may encounter while working there.

Although working for a global corporation has numerous challenges, rising to meet them stretches the limits of your knowledge and experience.

In addition, a company of its size provides an enormous menu of roles, competitive salaries, and professional cachet.

Pros of Working for Cisco

1. Professional Respect

When you tell someone you work for Cisco, you hear respect in their voice and see approval in their eyes.

In addition, because Cisco is an industry leader, working for them provides added credibility when you cite your experience and achievements in the communications field.

2. Competitive Salaries

Entry-level software engineers at Cisco earn $116,000 as a median annual wage, including bonuses and stock options.

In comparison, analysts at JPMorgan Chase make $107,000 with bonuses and stock options included.

However, Google outstrips Cisco, paying its software engineers $180,000 yearly, including bonuses and stock options.

If you want to join the C-suite, Charles H. “Chuck” Robbins, Cisco’s current Chair and Chief Executive Officer, made $29,283,936 in 2022.

However, nearly $25 million was the value of his stock options, while his base salary was $1,390,000.

In comparison, Adam P. Chase, the President and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, earned $1,705,750 that same year, including bonuses and stock options.

Meanwhile, Sundar Pichai, Google’s Chief Executive Officer, CEO, and Director at Alphabet, earned $6,322,599 in total compensation.

3. Remote/Hybrid Work

After surveying 1500 corporate directors, C-suite level executives, supervisors, managers, and individuals in 2021, the company has cemented its dedication to the changes in where and how everyone works.

The survey revealed that employees wanted to continue to work from anywhere, including their homes and corporate offices.

Consequently, Cisco has permanent positions that include at least two or more days in the office each week.

But that does not prevent anyone from working 100 percent of their week in the office or at home.

4. San José: Cisco Headquarters

Do you enjoy working in big cities?

You can choose to work in the City of San José, California — also known as the Capital of Silicon Valley — which houses Cisco’s world headquarters.

The City of San José has the highest population and the largest land area of all other municipalities in Northern California.

It has the third-highest worldwide GDP per capita, and its housing market requires the fifth-highest prices.

As of June 30, 2021, Cisco is the third-largest employer in the city after Santa Clara County and the City of San José.

The city’s diverse population includes thriving neighborhoods with Vietnamese, Hispanic, Japanese, and Portuguese residents: Little Saigon, Washingto-Guadalupe, Japantown, and Little Portugal. 

The Mediterranean climate brings warm summers and cool winters.

Lovers of music, dance, and theater can attend the Opera San José, Symphony Silicon Valley, Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley, or The San José Symphonic Choir.

Moreover, when it comes to athletics, hockey fans can cheer for the NHL’s San José Sharks or the AHL’s San Jose Barracudas.

Major-league soccer fans have the San José Earthquakes, while minor-league baseball fans can cheer for the San José Giants.

Finally, college football fans can support the San José State Spartans.

Museums and cultural monuments include the Tech Museum of Innovation, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, the Children’s Discovery Museum of San José, the Portuguese Historical Museum, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, the Japanese American Museum of San José, and the Museum of the Boat People and the Republic of Vietnam.

5. Corporate Social Responsibility

This international conglomerate epitomizes civic responsibility and global cooperation.

For example, renewable energy sources power 89 percent of Cisco’s operations.

In addition, Cisco is one of many companies currently standing with Ukraine in its efforts to stand against devastating attacks on its civilian infrastructure and industry.

And MuralNet, a Cisco company, has partnered with indigenous people on tribal lands to provide grants and technical support to build and own autonomous broadband distribution networks.

6. Benefits and Perks

Cisco offers 20 days of paid time off, which employees may use for illness, vacation, or other purposes.

Their tuition reimbursement program includes tuition, lab fees, and books at accredited institutions.

Consequently, 68 percent of Cisco workers have a Bachelor’s degree, and nearly 20 percent hold a Master’s degree.

In addition, employees may time swap — use a fifth of their weekly hours — or job swap up to 100 percent to learn new skills and roles with the company. 

7. Get Paid to Volunteer

As part of their dedication to corporate social responsibility, employees have ten days of paid leave to volunteer with the organization of their choice.

This allows Cisco employees to give back to their communities more effectively.

But employees can also use this leave anywhere a need exists in the world: working on water and utility projects, helping build homes, or creating opportunities for disadvantaged young people.

Cons of Working for Cisco

1. Performance-based Compensation Plans

Having pay tied to performance can cause employees to leave the company.

Those who chose to do so reported that the quotas set for them were unrealistic and resulted in pay rates that were too low.

Attrition rates left the remaining employees trying to perform the added responsibilities of the workers who left, leading to further burnout.

2. Layoffs

The company opted to lay off employees to improve stockholder dividends as a cost-cutting measure.

Many employee reviews left at Glassdoor cite layoffs and company restructuring as their primary reasons for leaving Cisco.

The most recent staff cutbacks affected 4100 people.

3. Rigorous Interviews

Every prospective employee must pass through three rounds in the interview process: an online assessment, one or more technical interviews, and an HR interview.

The online evaluation has two parts: a mathematical aptitude test and a technical test on networks, algorithms, and data structures.

In the technical interview rounds, candidates can demonstrate the breadth and depth of their knowledge of Computer Science and Networking.

Expect questions related to your CV, especially how you solved specific problems.

Finally, in the HR interview, expect to be asked about the role you wish to play in the company.

You’ll be asked why you want to work at Cisco, what challenging problems you have solved at previous jobs, and how much you know about Cisco’s history and the computer networking and security world.

4. Burnout

Between attrition and layoffs, Cisco has reduced its labor force from 79,500 in 2021 to 26,000 in 2022 — a decline of more than two-thirds.

With every employee needing to pick up the slack, burnout has become a driving force that may further decimate the company.

Although hiring more people would help, the company’s focus on pleasing stockholders over the needs of its labor force may eventually weaken the company’s dominance in the computer security and communications industry.

5. Too Many Managers

Day shift reports to three immediate superiors: the overall manager, a team lead, and a tier two engineer.

Unfortunately, this duplicative management meant workers had to jockey for the favor of each boss, sometimes leading to toxic politics.

In addition, transparency often becomes an issue, sometimes leading to team members working on projects for other managers and departments without that employee’s supervisor’s knowledge.

This practice of “secret” projects meant that personnel frequently were not working toward the correct outcomes.

6. DIY Culture

Although working autonomously can be a great experience, it can also provide significant headaches.

In particular, the DIY culture can become a roadblock if you do not know how to accomplish a given task and do not know who bears responsibility for oversight.

Getting feedback or advice also becomes challenging when you report to multiple managers.

7. Promotions

Although promotions happen at a reasonable rate, they are not always accompanied by pay raises, an issue frequently cited at various employee review sites such as Glassdoor and SimplyHired.

Moreover, rising through the ranks often made employees more likely to be axed in the semi-annual layoffs.

This meant middle and upper management employees felt increasing pressure, sometimes affecting morale.

14 Pros and Cons of Working for Cisco – Summary Table

Pros of Working for CiscoCons of Working for Cisco
1. Professional Respect1. Performance-based Compensation Plans
2. Competitive Salaries2. Layoffs
3. Remote/Hybrid Work3. Rigorous Interviews
4. San José: Cisco Headquarters4. Burnout
5. Corporate Social Responsibility5. Too Many Managers
6. Benefits and Perks6. DIY Culture
7. Get Paid to Volunteer7. Promotions

Should You Work for Cisco?

While Cisco’s pay scale sometimes falls below other similar companies and its regular rounds of layoffs put significant pressure on staff, the company was voted the number one workplace worldwide twice in a row, in 2019 and 2020.

Ninety-six percent of Cisco employees who participated in the 2021 Global Employee Engagement Benchmark Study called Cisco a great workplace.

Ninety-seven percent said they were proud to work for the company, and 98 percent stated that Cisco made newcomers feel welcomed and valued.

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Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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