Should you had been to return in time and ask 20-year-old Robert Yee the place he could be running in 2023, Cisco would had been an not likely resolution. Running in any technical box would had been an not likely resolution. Why? As a result of I made up our minds to modify majors from Chemical Engineering to Asian/Asian American Research. I sought after to grasp the desires of my group and lend a hand the ones like my folks. And talking of my folks, this choice was once simply the most recent in a string of teenage disappointments. In spite of this transformation in majors, my folks nonetheless supported me.
Upon commencement, with my newly minted Bachelor of Arts in Asian Research degree, I discovered a full-time activity at a legislation company … in accounting. My objective on the time was once to check for the LSAT and move to legislation faculty. However lifestyles had different plans for me.
The legislation company was once going via a era migration however didn’t have a techniques administrator. With some success, I used to be introduced the chance to separate my time between accounting and IT paintings. It was a full-time function, and I formally had my first IT activity. I picked up the brand new talents briefly however knew if I sought after to proceed on this profession, I might want to find out about. This was once the beginning of the certification growth.
Whilst finding out for my first certification, I got here throughout a piece of writing on-line from any individual in Hong Kong that mentioned this tremendous arduous certification referred to as the Cisco Qualified Internetwork Skilled (CCIE) and the flowery trying out procedure. This “Cisco” factor in reality intrigued me. I filed that concept away however by no means forgot it.
In 1999 (pre-Y2K), I had my first alternative to deploy an end-to-end Cisco community. Up till this level, I had by no means touched a router, a transfer, or a firewall. It was once all on-the-job coaching, I had to be informed speedy, and I had a large number of lend a hand from spouse engineers that post with my many questions. When the undertaking was once carried out, I noticed I LOVED networking. I doubled down on my finding out. I earned many Cisco Certifications, however that CCIE nonetheless appeared simply too daunting.
That very same 12 months, I attended my first native Cisco Customers Staff assembly. It was once superb to be with a host of like-minded people who additionally sought after to be informed Cisco era. Contributors of this staff began to earn their CCIEs, and their tales impressed me to offer it a shot. I met my just right buddies Jason Bomar and Joe Younger right here, and we shaped a find out about staff. We met many weekends to check. Jason was once the primary to move his CCIE. Then, Joe and I handed our assessments inside of one week of one another in Might 2003.
In 2008, after years of hesitation and interviewing with 3 other groups, I in the end made it to Cisco as a pre-sales Methods Engineer at the Industrial group overlaying Los Angeles. My first actual day at Cisco was once my birthday. It was once a profession alternate, and I struggled to grasp the gross sales cycles, in finding inner assets, construct relied on relationships with consumers, and perceive and undertaking “my logo.” Those had been all essential to achieve success, and so they had been all new to me. With a large number of lend a hand and reinforce from teammates, mentors, managers, and particularly my spouse, Sara, I used to be ready to search out myself at the different facet of this wall.
Being a Cisco SE was once the toughest activity I’ve ever had. Studying new answers and applied sciences challenged me continuously. I needed to be talented with the portfolio, know the way my consumers’ companies labored and give an explanation for in easy phrases how an answer may just get advantages them. Alternatively, it was once additionally essentially the most rewarding and enjoyable activity I’ve ever had. The result of my paintings had been tangible. I may just see the believe I constructed with my shoppers and the result of months or years-long initiatives.
It’s arduous to believe that I’ve been at Cisco for 15-plus years in 4 other roles. I began as a Methods Engineer, had been a Technical Answers Architect, and my final two positions had been in management. I’m these days the Methods Engineering Supervisor for a group of Information Middle Networking Technical Answers Architects, and I’m actually thankful for the willpower, wisdom, and ability this group brings to the desk. Amongst them are one CCDE, two Cisco Press books, one upcoming Ph.D., and ten CCIE certifications.
Although my profession trail took me in a unique route, I’ve by no means totally forgotten my unique intent after I modified my faculty main to Asian and Asian American Research. Cisco introduced me the chance to make a distinction in my group. In 2020, I began the Southern California bankruptcy of Hooked up Asian Affinity Community (CAAN), an ERO/ERG/Inclusive Neighborhood for AAPI and AAPI allies at Cisco. We’ve grown the bankruptcy from about 30 to start with to over 90 individuals these days. It’s been a good chance to show off and percentage AAPI cultures and provides again to my group. As nice as my time at Cisco has been, I’ve spotted during my profession there haven’t been a large number of individuals who appeared like me, particularly in gross sales management. I feel there’s actual alternative to modify that. This has been an important alternative to hook up with and spotlight AAPI ability, inspire them to imagine management at Cisco and lend a hand open the ones doorways for them.
Some folks would possibly assume that 15 years at a unmarried corporate is an entire life. For me, it’s came about in a blink. On a daily basis brings other demanding situations and new alternatives to be informed or train. I’m thankful that Cisco has introduced me the chance to develop my profession and pursue my interest all inside of one corporate.
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