Here we are again with the second interview of the Project:Them serie. This time our guest is Matija Mrkoci, a young engineer from Croatia who is interning at Cisco. Being the No.1 player in networking industry, Cisco represents the dream work for many students who entered this world thanks to the Cisco Networking Academy (including myself 😛 ).
I’m sure you’ll enjoy this interview as much as I did while doing it 🙂
Gabriele: Let’s start simple introducing yourself: Who are you? Where are you from? How old are you?
Matija: Hello, my name is Matija Mrkoci, Bachelor of Engineering in computing from Croatia. Maybe you didn’t hear for my country (great and mighty kingdom ^^), but I bet you watched Game of Thrones? 🙂 If you did, then you saw Croatia on TV because King’s Landing is in fact Dubrovnik, one of the most beautiful cities in Croatia.
I am 23 years old. Currently I’m working as Customer Support Engineer for Cisco Systems in Poland.
G: What did you study?
M: I studied engineering in computing at Polytechnic of Zagreb where I took mostly networking classes. Also I did CCNA R&S academy during my last year of studies.
G: Based on your LinkedIn profile, you’ve also worked during your studies. How did you manage this?
M: I started working as a Customer Support Agent during my last year of studies for one ISP in Croatia. I can tell you right now if you are working a lot during studies you will not have so much time to actually study. My situation was unique because I was almost done with university and I was actually doing only bachelor thesis (which ended up lasting almost two years). At the end I ended up working two and a half years there. After I finished my study I worked there for three more months and then decided I had enough but after only one week of vacation I got on offer from Croatian post bank and moved there.
G: Tell me about your experience at Cisco. How did you apply?
M: Like I mentioned before I was working in Croatian post bank for almost one year when all of the sudden I got a message on linkedin about job position in Cisco I might be interested in. Of course I applied and there I was, doing assessment, and got offered a job position as Customer Support Engineer, something you can’t refuse. Its one of the biggest and best companies in the world.
G: What is your role? Can you describe a typical day at job?)
M: I joined Cisco on internship position so for the first 4 months all interns and I were doing a lot of trainings. So I can’t really tell you about day to day job at this point. But from September I will be working as CSE (Customer Support Engineer) in CMS (Cloud and Managed Services) in CaaS (Collaboration as a Service) team. So as you can see Cisco loves abbreviations. My day-to-day job will include solving customer issues through some ticketing tool that customers use to report problems.
G: Anything about interviews you can share without breaking any NDA?
M: Cisco has the most intensive assessments I have ever done, and I done more than 10 job interviews. It lasts for entire working day. From 8 to 16 with one break for lunch. It’s a series of tests that will really put you up to the pressure and you will for sure show them everything you have to offer. It’s really challenging and I enjoyed it a lot.
G: What do you like the most about Cisco and your job as an intern?
M: Cisco gives you opportunity to learn as much as you want. There is no limit. There is so much CCIE engineers here that you can reach out, also there is people who literally invented MPLS… So its endless opportunities to learn and to pursue certification.
G: Lots of big companies are moving to Polonia (another example is Google). What are your impression about this?
M: I guess Polish government supports big companies so it’s a lot easier for them to move here. Also I think that the standard here is a lot lower than in some other countries in Europe so it’s also easier from that perspective, it’s not so expensive.
G: Can you share with us any advice for someone who want to start a career in network engineering?
M: My advice? Don’t let your dreams be dreams (Shia Labeouf style). But really, you can do whatever you set your mind to. Work hard but also play hard and you will get where you want to be.
G: What do you think about certifications? Did Cisco invested into your preparation?
M: During my 4 months in Cisco they invested a lot in our certifications. Basically there is no limit in what certifications you can do as long as they align with technologies you will be working with, because there is no really point in doing voice certifications if you will work in data center. I did my CCNA R&S after 2 months here and I have scheduled exams for CCNA DC in upcoming weeks. Certifications are important, especially CCIE and that should be some kind of high goal for every engineer working in networking.
G: What is your plan for the future?
M: High level plan is to do CCIE, because that is what is really valuable. Since I will be working with collaboration, after I do my CCNA DC next step is CCNA Collaboration then CCNP Collaboration and then CCIE Collaboration.
G: You’ve been so kind Matija, many thanks for your time 🙂
M: It’s been a pleasure. One last thing: everyone who is interested in joining Cisco like I did, can use this link. Here you can search for positions Cisco is looking for, so if you are interested in Krakow, just search Krakow + CSE or NCE and there you go. They are constanty looking for new people, especially in Krakow because its growing very very strong now.
From the following video it seems like Cisco is doing a great job in Poland. Let’s take eyes wide open for new opening! 😉
“Work hard but also play hard and you will get where you want to be.”