Devyani Gera talks about being a Cisco Systems intern

It simply began in my last job where I worked as a Network Engineer and felt an immense need to automate the processes I was doing manually. So, when I came to UMD I knew I would want to switch to a software profile. Therefore, I enrolled in Network Programming(ENTS689N) course in my very first semester. Since I wanted to intern in the software industry, I knew I had to start applying early and find a spot where I would fit in. 

In February I received a call from the HR at Cisco for setting up an interview. I interviewed with the Cisco ASA FirePower Security solution team. In my interview, I was asked memory allocation concepts, and networking concepts and code in C. I waited for about three weeks before I heard from them. But when I finally received my offer letter, it was all worth the wait. 

I started my internship on June 5th in Fulton, MD. I remember waiting for my manager in a contemporary office reception. My first day began with a tour of the office. I must say the office is an art in itself. It was followed by a meeting and an amazing team lunch. The best part  - they provide free gourmet lunches and have huge Starbucks coffee machines. 
Devyani with her team at Cisco Systems, Inc. office at Fulton, MD

I worked with the Systems Team. My team worked on the OS that runs on the Cisco ASA FirePower solution. I worked as an embedded team member instead of doing an independent project for summer. I was trained in Agile, Network Virtualization and Automation. I mainly performed manual regression testing and automated the new feature testing on the OS. I was exposed to OS processes written in Perl for which I wrote automated scripts in python for the customer to run from the front end.  Since the OS runs on all Cisco FirePower solutions, I tested the new features on all platforms in FirePower portfolio. 

The Cybersecurity industry is expanding each day with so much innovation and new technologies being built. It is going to touch every industry and change the world as we know it. It is going to drive cloud, data, analytics, networking. I feel this is the best time to be here and help bring about this change.    

Devyani with her mentor Xin Wang
My team had an eclectic mix of people from diverse cultural backgrounds, which made work so much fun. Sometimes days began with doughnuts, cookies, and pies. During lunch everyone would come to ECafe and eat together, play TT, foosBall, air-hockey. Lunches were more of a networking ground to meet new people. I met some very interesting people from such varied backgrounds that it is fascinating to know their journey.  I guess a simple explanation would be they love what they do and are passionate about it. 

It has been a very enlightening and fun filled experience to intern at Cisco. I was exposed to different Cisco products and software solutions. Cisco really encourages diversity and independent thought. They really believe in “it starts with you”. Everyday motivates me to work more, learn something new not just from employees, but also other interns. I like the fact that nobody treats you like an intern but like any other employee, your thoughts and opinions are given equal value. At the end of this summer, I was offered a Co-op with the same team. I am really excited about this opportunity and can't wait to get started!
About the Author: Devyani Gera is a second year graduate student at University of Maryland pursuing cybersecurity, networking and hardware automation as her areas of interest. She is also enthusiastic about scripting and learning about malware protection technologies.