Meet the Graduates – Alda Caldeira
Having grown up in Évora, I am living in Lisbon since 2014 when I moved to study Mechanical Engineering. My journey at Cisco started in March of 2020 through the Graduate program. After my graduate program, I moved to Cisco’s newest CX Center in Lisbon to the Routing & Switching Professional Services Team back in November of 2020 where I am currently working as a Consulting Engineer.
What brought you to your current role at Cisco?
The final decision of pursuing a different technical path, stepping away from my area of studies, came with the opportunity of starting my career at Cisco. During the final year of my master’s degree, I wanted to keep learning and studying, adjusting my career with technological innovation and with society’s future needs. Because of that, I was looking not only for a chance to work on a project in which I believe – and to finding an intellectual challenge to grow technically and personally – but also for a smooth transition from university to the professional reality.
This desire perfectly suited the opportunity of working at Cisco and starting my journey here through the Graduate Program, aligning what motivates me with my job. Moreover, if there is one aspect of this organization that contributed to these last 14 enriching months and made this experience so special is Cisco’s culture and the underlying healthy and enjoyable work environment. Additional note: I am working from home since the second week of March 2020, and even what has essentially been a fully remote experience, I know that what we have here is unique: the work environment, the people, and the company’s culture. As you can imagine, I am looking forward to returning to the office to experience all of this in a less “pixelated” way.
Have you had to learn any specific new skills (technical or soft) for your role?
Yes! As I mentioned, when I joined, I didn’t have a networking background and I came directly from university to Cisco. In basic terms, I had neither much technical knowledge nor work experience. However, I did have two things, which I found are the most needed to be successful: motivation and an enormous desire to learn. But I must admit, I was also very privileged because I ended up having a third element to weigh in on this equation: colleagues who helped me from the first day.
Once I joined Cisco through the graduate program, I had a specialized program designed with the aim of giving us the necessary tools to develop our technical and soft skills, and the most exciting part of this program is that I came into Cisco with other colleagues in the same situation as me, which contributed to a union between the graduates, a spirit of mutual help, and consequently, an enhancement of the entire work experience. During the graduate program, we had multiple technical and soft skills training and the opportunity to study and to connect with more senior colleagues to clarify not only technical questions but also questions addressing our curiosity regarding Cisco’s strategy and expectations for our future as Cisco Engineers.
In addition to this environment of learning and sharing, we also had the opportunity to put into practice what we were learning during the program. Delivering technical presentations, taking some Cisco certifications, and completing a rotation on the Support Services team, working for some months as Technical Consulting Engineers supporting customers with technical problems related to their networks.
How does your work with customers help to make a positive impact on society?
I truly believe that our work is an enriching activity with different purposes: it helps in our development and enrichment as a person, and at the same time, it results in servicing others which in turn helps service society. When we help customers, and do it successfully, we’re also facilitating our progress, growth, and ultimately our happiness. Naturally, it is easier to connect doctors, nurses, politicians, and teachers, for example, since these have a direct and positive impact on society. However, what is stimulating about my job as a Network Engineer is to be – quoting Cisco’s slogan – “the bridge to possible”, allowing the right things to be done right. Ensuring that medical records in a hospital are safe and easily accessible, minimizing unnecessary expenses, helping teachers work with their students remotely, allowing a factory to monitor their production centrally, allowing bank information to be safe and free of attacks, enabling a company to restructure the way it works by allowing their employees to work from anywhere in the world are just some examples.
What advice would you give people looking to join Cisco?
From my experience so far, I consider it relevant to highlight the main takeaway I have learned which might be useful for someone who is looking to join Cisco – Learning, studying, and asking for help are the keywords. Having a curious attitude and wanting to know more is fundamental. Everything changes constantly. We must keep up with the change.
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