It’s prolly no surprise that following the “How do I get a job in networking?” question is the “How do I get a job at Cisco” question.  Today’s blog will be more focused on the recent college graduates, since there has been a lot of queries in the careers section and I’ve also received many private messages from recent graduates.  During my tenure at Cisco, I’ve had the privilege of working with and supporting many different organizations on their recruiting, interviewing and hiring of college graduates.  As I’ve moved from IT to engineering to finance to sales to operations, so have my efforts in this space.  Outside of my organizations,  I’ve also worked with marketing and manufacturing.  Over the years, I’ve dedicated a great amount of focus on engineering; it’s something that is very dear to me and an area that I am very passionate about.  Two weeks ago, I was approached by learning & development, engineering and sales regarding some of my experiences working with and onboarding college talent.


I’ve mentioned ASEs (associate systems engineers) before, since I used to have them work alongside my engineers, but today; I’m going to talk more about the Cisco Sales Associate Program (CSAP) which is what they and the associate sales representatives (ASRs) are part of.  When I first learned about the program I was very impressed and as I was able to compare it with my knowledge and experiences from other college hire programs, it quickly became my favorite program.  I know it’s difficult landing that first job, especially without the hands-on that so many of you have written to me about.  This is a program will build your knowledge and experience of Cisco.


I have two CSAP graduates on my team and they are by far, two of the sharpest young engineers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.  Dmitry and Elyor both joined my team 3 years ago and have continuously shown growth from the momentum that started during the CSAP program.  Elyor’s technical capabilities and exposure recently caught the interest of engineering and he will soon be moving into a technical marketing engineering position.  Dmitry recently achieved his CCIE R&S and continues to be a top performer.  He already has his eyes on a second CCIE and I’m certain he’ll achieve it.  In addition to the former ASEs on my team, over the years I’ve had many ASEs rotate through my organization which has given them the hands-on to be successful in their future roles as they graduate.


This year is the first year I’ve had the chance of interacting with and learning more about the ASRs.  A little over a month ago, I presented globally to the FY13 cohorts of ASEs and ASRs.  What impressed me most from the session was the quality of the new hires we’ve brought onboard and their thirst for learning through the program.  I’ve been collaborating regularly with Elaine, an ASR in Shanghai as she demonstrates a high-level of leadership and vigor to the role.  Not only does her job allow her the opportunity to become a leader, but she volunteers in efforts to drive networking amongst her cohort and other recent hires in Shanghai.  Truly, she leverages the program to grow herself and will be very good for Cisco.


Why does this program develop such strong systems engineers and account managers?  Because not only are the ASEs and ASRs in classroom training to prepare themselves for their future they also go through on-the-job training as they shadow other groups.  Does this sound exciting to you?  Are you asking yourself where do you sign-up?  Well, the good news is that the program is now accepting applications.  In addition to the CSAP program, the Cisco Partner Sales Academy (PSA) is also hiring.  The next CSAP program will begin on January 28, 2013 for ASEs and on July 29, 2013 for ASEs and ASRs. The PSA program will begin on January 28, 2013 for P-ASEs and P-ASRs.  To learn more, check out the post on the Cisco Networking Academy site.


Does this opportunity sound like something you might be interested in?  Have you seen other such programs?  What are your overall impressions?