The Top 25 Cisco Systems Software Engineer Interview Questions and Answers You Need to Know

Cisco Systems is one of the world’s leading technology companies, providing networking hardware, software, telecommunications equipment and other high-technology services and products. As a result, interviewing for a software engineer role at Cisco can be a daunting experience. You’ll need to demonstrate strong technical knowledge as well as solid communication and problem-solving skills.

To help you prepare, here are the top 25 Cisco Systems software engineer interview questions and answers:

1. What experience do you have with Cisco networking products like routers and switches?

Cisco is looking for candidates with hands-on experience configuring, troubleshooting and managing their networking products Emphasize your depth of knowledge with specific Cisco products and solutions

Sample Answer: I have configured and managed Cisco Catalyst switches and Integrated Services Routers. I’m proficient with technologies like VLANs, STP, EtherChannel, HSRP, OSPF and EIGRP. I also have experience with the Cisco IOS and IOS XE operating systems.

2. What programming languages and tools are you skilled in?

Cisco software engineers use a variety of languages like Python, Java, C/C++ and tools like Git, Jenkins, Puppet and Chef. Highlight your expertise with relevant languages and tools.

Sample Answer: I have over 5 years of experience programming in Python and Java. I’m proficient with core Java features like multi-threading and collections. I also have experience with Python automation frameworks like Scrapy and Selenium. For tools, I’m skilled in using Git, Maven, Jenkins and REST APIs.

3. How would you troubleshoot a slow network connection?

Expect scenario-based questions testing your systematic approach to troubleshooting and resolving network issues. Demonstrate your technical knowledge while explaining your step-by-step methodology.

Sample Answer First I would use network monitoring tools like SolarWinds to identify high utilization links. Next I’d use packet captures to analyze traffic flows and determine the cause, like a misconfigured routing protocol. I’d optimize routing to alleviate congestion. Finally, I’d monitor performance to ensure the issue is fully resolved.

4. How do you stay current on the latest network technologies and industry trends?

Cisco wants engineers who actively stay updated on new technologies and solutions. Discuss how you learn about industry developments through resources like tech blogs, training courses and networking events.

Sample Answer I regularly read Cisco’s blog and technical documentation to learn about new product features and solutions I also complete Cisco e-learning courses on topics like SD-WAN and network programmability Outside of work, I listen to tech podcasts and read blogs to stay updated on industry trends like 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and SASE.

5. How have you improved the performance or efficiency of a network?

Share examples of projects where you’ve optimized networks by troubleshooting issues and improving configurations. Emphasize quantifiable results like improvements in throughput, latency or uptime.

Sample Answer: In my last role, I reduced WAN latency by 20% by migrating to DMVPN from leased lines for inter-office connectivity. This improved application response times across the network. I also implemented QoS to prioritize business-critical traffic which enhanced VoIP call quality.

6. What experience do you have with Agile or CI/CD processes?

Agile and CI/CD adoption are key trends, so highlight your hands-on experience. Give specific examples of processes and tools you’ve used to iterate quickly.

Sample Answer: I’ve worked in Agile environments leveraging JIRA, Confluence and iterative development methods like scrums and sprints. For CI/CD, I’ve used Jenkins extensively to automate builds, testing and production deployments. I’m comfortable collaborating with cross-functional teams to continuously deliver high-quality software.

7. How would you go about debugging a problem in a large enterprise network?

Expect scenarios probing your structured approach to diagnosing issues in complex, multilayer enterprise networks. Convey your ability to methodically narrow down root causes.

Sample Answer: I would start by reviewing network topology diagrams to visualize the overall architecture. Next, I’d gather data from syslogs, SNMP traps and flow records to isolate the problem domain. I’d use SPAN or taps for packet captures to analyze traffic flows. If needed, I’d enable debugs on networking devices and reproduce the issue to pinpoint the root cause.

8. What experience do you have creating REST APIs?

Highlight your hands-on expertise developing REST APIs to exchange data between applications, tools or devices. Mention specific coding languages and frameworks you’ve used.

Sample Answer: I have designed and coded REST APIs in Python using the Flask framework. I’ve also created REST APIs in Java using Spring Boot to expose microservices. In both cases, I defined URIs, HTTP methods, request/response formats like JSON and implemented authentication and security.

9. How do you stay motivated when facing challenges on complex projects?

Cisco wants problem-solvers who persevere when tackling difficult technical problems. Share examples of how you maintain focus and positivity to achieve success.

Sample Answer: When facing complex challenges, I leverage support from my team and manager to brainstorm potential solutions. Focusing on milestones and incremental progress helps maintain momentum. I also emphasize the value created for customers which motivates me through tough problem-solving.

10. What experience do you have with network automation or scripting?

Network automation expertise is a key requirement for Cisco software engineering roles. Discuss languages and tools you’ve used to automate networking tasks like configurations, monitoring and provisioning.

Sample Answer: I have strong experience with Python scripting and automation frameworks like Nornir and Ansible. I’ve written Python scripts using Netmiko and Napalm to automate device configurations, gather data and generate reports. I also have experience with Terraform and Ansible to declaratively provision and manage network infrastructure.

11. How would you integrate security into the software development process?

Security is a critical element of Cisco’s products and solutions. Share examples of security best practices you’ve implemented like threat modeling, input validation, encryption and vulnerability testing.

Sample Answer: I integrate security by conducting threat modeling sessions during design to identify risks. I implement input validation, parameterization and output encoding to prevent injection attacks. Security testing like static analysis, fuzzing and penetration testing is baked into our CI/CD pipeline. I also ensure encryption for data at rest and in transit using hashes, certificates and TLS.

12. Tell me about a time you successfully led a project or initiative from start to finish.

Cisco wants leaders who can drive projects to successful outcomes. Share a relevant example highlighting your leadership and project management abilities. Quantify results achieved.

Sample Answer: As the technical lead on a network access control project, I coordinated cross-functional teams to develop an 802.1X and RADIUS solution from requirements gathering through rollout. I established milestones, facilitated design reviews and managed risks. The result was a successful on-time implementation that enhanced security for 10,000 endpoints.

13. How would you balance meeting tight deadlines with software quality?

Cisco respects committed delivery schedules but not at the expense of quality. Share how you’ve delivered projects on-time while upholding robust testing, security and engineering standards.

Sample Answer: When balancing speed and quality, comprehensive unit and integration testing is key. I advocate for scheduling quality assurance efforts like security scans and performance testing in each sprint. I also continuously automate tests via CI/CD to enable rapid validation during agile delivery. This ensures we meet deadlines while delivering secure, resilient solutions.

14. How do you stay motivated when projects get stalled or delayed?

Software projects rarely go as planned. Discuss how you maintain positivity and productivity during tough phases of the project lifecycle to push forward towards the end goal.

Sample Answer: When projects hit roadblocks, I leverage the strengths of our team to regroup and identify alternative paths forward. I focus on enhancing collaboration and communication to align everyone towards our mission. I also emphasize achievements made so far and incremental progress yet to come to motivate the team through challenges.

15. Tell me about a time you had to compromise on a software design or implementation due to certain constraints.

Cisco values engineers who can adapt their approach to accommodate constraints like technology limitations, budgets or timelines. Share an example highlighting this flexibility.

Sample Answer: On one project, we had to develop a cloud-based analytics application on a tight budget. Given cost constraints, I advocated modularizing the app and leveraging serverless architecture versus provisioning dedicated servers. This allowed us to rapidly deliver an MVP version within budget that we could iteratively build upon post-release.

16. How would you explain a complex technical software concept to a non-technical executive or team member?

Communication and simplification skills are valued at Cisco. Discuss techniques like analogies, visuals and metaphors you would use to explain complex technical topics clearly.

Sample Answer: I always use relatable analogies to explain complex technology concepts simply. For example, comparing load balancing to opening checkout lines at a busy grocery store. I also leverage visuals like diagrams to complement explanations for topics like encryption or distributed systems

The role of a Cisco Software Engineer

An American multinational technology company called Cisco designs, builds, and sells networking hardware, software, telecommunications equipment, and other high-tech goods and services.

Cisco has different teams for which it hires Software Engineers. Here is a list of tasks that software engineers across all teams will be expected to do, though the exact tasks will depend on the team they are assigned to:

Role and responsibility

  • Join a project team of engineers who are working on making protocols for Cisco products. Has to have a lot of experience with designing, documenting, and implementing software, and it can be used on any of the projects below.
  • Work together with other SW and HW engineers to create and maintain protocols.
  • Design, and determine product direction.
  • Represent your team with other Cisco departments, customers, and industry.
  • Author product and project specifications.
  • Partner with the Management Team in defining and planning projects.
  • Take a lead role in Ciscos Patent Program.
  • Apply advanced networking principles, theories and concepts.

Skills/qualifications required

  • Get a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree and work for five years in computer science, electrical engineering, computer engineering, or a related field.
  • Ability to solve complex problems involving multiple products.
  • Ability to effectively present technical concepts to a wide audience.
  • Ability to influence the development of industry-wide standards.
  • Being able to use good judgment to figure out the best way to meet an assignment’s technical goals
  • Creative problem-solving skills and excellent troubleshooting/debugging skills
  • Excellent teamwork and people skills
  • Hands on experience with Java programming
  • Netconf Yang models had to be used, and REST API and JSON had to be built.
  • Experience with Kafka/Cassandra and use of Kubernetes, Docker
  • Programming experience (C, C++), script languages (Perl, Python)
  • Familiarity with Unix/Linux
  • Experience working on embedded systems
  • Know the basics of networking and how protocols work, such as TCP/IP, OSPF, BGP, and MPLS.

Cisco Software Engineer salary

  • Entry-level salary: USD 110,000
  • Senior positions: USD 455,000.
  • The median salary is USD 260,000, with an 185,000-dollar base salary, a 50,000-dollar stock value, and a 25,000-dollar bonus.

Cisco Software Engineer Interview Guide

There are three parts to the Cisco Software Engineer interview process: the Recruiter screen, the Technical screen, and the Onsite round.

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The Recruiter screen is a 45-minute telephonic interview with the recruiter. The main goal of this exercise is to see how motivated the candidate is for the job and to see if he or she is a good fit for the company and the job. People who are just out of college should be very careful with their CV and any projects or internships they may have had while they were there. People who have worked before must be able to describe their previous job(s), including any projects they worked on and leadership roles they held.

Most asked interview questions in the Initial Screen.

  • What attracts you to software engineering?
  • Why have you chosen Cisco?

The technical screen is a one-hour interview with the hiring manager and a senior Cisco software engineer. This round is aimed at assessing your technical skills in the following areas:

Coding Aptitude

It checks the candidate’s general programming skills with questions in the “coding aptitude” part of the technical screen. Interviewers love to ask questions on object-oriented programming. Students should know how to code in at least one of the languages listed below, including C. They should also know how to use script languages like Perl or Python. There may be two or three coding problems that you need to solve in the time allotted using an online shared code editor.

Most commonly asked Coding questions in the Technical screen:

  • Write a Perl script that will put consecutive copies of list items into sublists.
  • Write a Perl script that will make combinations of K different objects picked from a list of N items.
  • You need to write code that can take a number N and find its last two digits.
  • Make a function that takes a sorted list and turns it into a binary search tree.
  • Create a function that can take a list of lists and turn it into a flat list.

System Design

Systems design is an important part of the interview because companies want to see how well candidates can design and build systems that can handle changing needs, the design process, and quality issues (e.g. g. performance, usability, security, etc. ), distributed software development, limited budgets, tight schedules, fast-changing technology etc.

Most commonly asked System Design questions

  • How would you design a search engine?
  • Can you design a URL Shortening Service?
  • How would you improve ebays front end design?
  • Make the front end of an app like Uber that lets people share rides.
  • What would you do to make a chat service like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp?

CISCO Interview Questions & Answers | (How to PASS a CISCO SYSTEMS, INC Job Interview!)


How many rounds of interview at Cisco?

Usually, the interview process at Cisco involves the following three rounds: Online Assessment Test. Technical Interview Rounds. HR Interview.

How much does a software engineer make at Cisco?

Create an anonymous post and get feedback on your pay from other professionals. The estimated total pay range for a Software Engineer at Cisco is $184K–$251K per year, which includes base salary and additional pay. The average Software Engineer base salary at Cisco is $166K per year.

How to prepare for a Cisco interview?

Candidates with good knowledge of networking concepts, computer intelligence, and strong analytical skills can ace the Cisco interview. In addition, you can take up a Cisco certification course to build strong fundamentals in networking concepts and to better understand Cisco technical interview questions.

How hard is it to get a job at Cisco Systems?

Is it hard to get hired at Cisco? Glassdoor users rated their interview experience at Cisco as 68% positive with a difficulty rating score of 2.97 out of 5 (where 5 is the highest level of difficulty).

What does a Cisco interviewer want from a systems engineer?

Systems engineers can now do online searches for the issues they encounter and quickly find answers. The Cisco interviewer is hoping to learn by asking this question that you are both able to do this and that you already have a portfolio of resources you use for this purpose.

How to answer a Cisco interview question?

How to Answer A Cisco interviewer will ask you this question for several reasons. The first is to learn about the types of programs you work with and when you last performed a software installation. They’re interested in learning whether the programs you are familiar with align with those their organization uses.

How many Cisco Systems interview questions are there?

Share Your Experiences Glassdoor has millions of jobs plus salary information, company reviews, and interview questions from people on the inside making it easy to find a job that’s right for you. Cisco Systems interview details: 6,278 interview questions and 5,748 interview reviews posted anonymously by Cisco Systems interview candidates.

What does the Cisco interviewer want to learn?

The Cisco interviewer is hoping to learn by asking this question that you are both able to do this and that you already have a portfolio of resources you use for this purpose. This latter point will help you resolve issues quicker and with less online time than if you have to do a unique search each time. 1st Answer Example

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