Cisco is one of the most sought-after companies. Sound knowledge of networking concepts, computer intelligence, and strong analytical skills is a must to ace Cisco interview questions. Additionally, Cisco certification enhances and validates your expertise and opens up new avenues for career advancement. Being familiar with the recruitment process and the most commonly asked Cisco interview questions gives an upper hand over competitors and boosts confidence. 

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About Cisco 

Cisco is a leading provider of Computer Networking and IT products and services, spreading across 115 countries worldwide. Established in 1984, Cisco recently topped Fortune's list of the 100 best companies to work for in 2022. 

Headquartered in San Jose, the multinational conglomerate caters to customers in three target markets: enterprises, service providers, and small to medium scale businesses. Cisco aligns its products given customer demand, monitors all technological options, and provides clients with a range of alternatives. It continues to excel at prioritizing every employee's success at work and in their everyday lives.

Cisco Recruitment Process

Hundreds of applicants face the Cisco interview rounds to prove their competitive skills for various technical positions. The Cisco interview process comprises three rounds:

  • Online Assessment Test
  • Technical Interview Rounds
  • HR Interview

Written Online Assessments 

Test

Number of Questions

Time Duration

Aptitude

20

30 mins

Technical

30

40 mins

Total

50

70 mins

The online assessments consist of the following sections. There is no negative marking.

  • Aptitude Test: The following topics are crucial for Cisco interview questions for this round: Probability, Permutations and Combinations, Profit and Loss, Algebra, Simple and Compound Interest, and Number Series, amongst others.
  • Technical Test: Candidates should be well-versed in Computer Networking, C, Algorithms, System Design, Data Structures, digital electronics, CMOS, and Microprocessors.

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Technical Interview Rounds

The interviewer puts across questions on various Computer fundamentals, including Data Structures and Algorithms, Operating Systems, Database Management, Networking, and more, to test a candidate's in-depth knowledge in the relevant spheres of Computer Science and Networking. Interviewers often ask questions about relevant past experiences to check the potential candidate's suitability, approach towards challenges, and relevant soft skills. 

HR Interview Round

The HR round focuses on discovering how well a candidate aligns with Cisco's objectives. The interviewer usually inquires about what makes you ideal for the position, why you are inclined to join Cisco, your most challenging Project from the past, and the details mentioned on the resume. Overall, a candidate should be prepared for this round's behavioral and scenario-based interview questions. Being thorough with Cisco's objectives and carefully going through the requirements for the particular job position can help one nail the HR interview round at Cisco. 

Also Read: Top 10 General Interview Questions and Answers

Cisco Interview Questions for Freshers

1. Define a firewall?

A network security device that monitors and filters incoming and outgoing network traffic given an organization's established security policies is called a firewall. It is a barrier between a private internal network and the public Internet.

2. What is a link?

A logical or physical component of a network interconnecting devices or nodes is termed a link.

3. What is the default TCP session timeout for CISCO?

The default timeout in the TCP session is one minute. The connection slots get freed on an average of one minute once the sequence of normal connection close gets completed. However, it can be configured into other settings as required. 

4. What is a diskless workstation?

Diskless workstations are client computers in connection with a networked server. They require minimum hardware to interact with the system by the user. They lack a hard disk, and data and programs get retrieved from the network involved in data storage, booting, and performing calculations. Thus, diskless workstations reduce the overall LAN cost and simplify the security and backups as all files are in a single place. 

5. What is routing?

Establishing the routes for data packets to pick up on their way to a particular destination is called routing. A router is used to select a path for traffic in a network or across multiple networks. It depends on a setup of hardware to relay data.

6. What are the different types of memories in a Cisco router?

There are following three types of memories in a Cisco router:

  • NVRAM for storing the startup configuration file.
  • DRAM for storing the executed configuration file.
  • Flash Memory for storing Cisco IOS.

Cisco Interview Questions for Experienced Candidates

1. How is a TCP connection established?

The following steps enumerate the process of establishing a TCP connection:

Step 1: The host or the receiver sends a packet with an SYN flag to the sender (server). Then, the server responds with an SYN flag and ACK (ACKnowledge) flag to approve the connection. Next, the receiver sends an ACK flag and confirms the handshake. The OS at both ends is informed about the connection establishment.

Step 2: Now, the sender initiates data transmission and gets acknowledgments from the receiver. A timer starts as the sender begins sending data.

Step 3: The sender retransmits the data even if it hasn't received any acknowledgments after the timer limit exceeds.

Step 4: In the case of windowing, when the receiver buffer is full, the receiver sends a stop signal to the sender to stop the data transmission.

Step 5: After all the data processing is done, the receiver sends the go signal to the sender to start transmitting the data again.

2. What is cut-through LAN switching?

Cut-through LAN switching is done when the router receives a data frame and immediately sends it out again. It reads the destination address and forwards the same to the following network. 

3. What is recovery testing?

A software testing technique tells how well the software can recover from failures, including software/hardware crashes, network failures, etc. It involves forced loss of software in several ways to verify whether the recovery is performed correctly. 

4. What is context switching and how is it triggered?

Context switching stores the context or state of a process for reloading and executing it after resuming from the same point as earlier. The feature is for multitasking operating systems that allow multiple functions to share a single CPU. The three major triggers are: 

  • Multitasking
  • Interrupt Handling
  • User and Kernel Mode Switching 

5. What are the different OSI layers? 

OSI model consists of the following seven layers:

  • Physical
  • Data Link 
  • Network
  • Transport
  • Session
  • Presentation
  • Application

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Cisco Objective Interview Questions

Check your upcoming interview preparation with the following Cisco interview questions:

1. Which amongst the following is an IP routing protocol?

  1. RIP
  2. ARP
  3. ARUP
  4. ICMP

Correct Answer - a. RIP

2. Which one is not a characteristic of IGRP?

  1. Supports multiple unequal paths
  2. Administrative distance is 100
  3. Uses hop count as a metric 
  4. Configured with an autonomous system number practice 

Correct Answer - c. Uses hop count as a metric 

3. Which OSI layer is associated with code conversion, formatting, and encryption?

  1. Presentation 
  2. Physical
  3. Session
  4. Application 

Correct Answer - a. Presentation 

4. Which of the following statements is true in context with half-duplex?

  1. Doubles the bandwidth
  2. One works in a point-to-point configuration.
  3. Allows transmitting and receiving but not simultaneously
  4. Allow simultaneous transmitting and receiving.

Correct Answer - c. Allows transmitting and receiving but not simultaneously

Cisco HR Interview Questions 

Cisco interview experience holders have shared the following interview questions from the HR rounds:

  1. Why are you inclined to join this position at Cisco??
  2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  3. What has been the greatest networking challenge in your journey so far?
  4. What makes you an eligible network engineer?
  5. What is your strategy for prioritizing tasks?
  6.  Why are you quitting your current job?
  7. Where do you see yourself in the oncoming ten years?

How to Prepare for Cisco Interviews? Tips for Candidates

Consider the following pointers when preparing for Cisco interviews:

  • Brush up on the fundamentals: Develop a thorough understanding of the critical networking and Computer Science fundamentals, including data structures, algorithms, programming languages, operating systems, problem-solving and implementation.
  • Be prepared for resume-based inquiries: Update your resume and practice answering questions related to the various projects you have worked for in previous jobs. Interviewers often ask questions from the resume.
  • Prepare the most anticipated Cisco interview questions: Go through the most commonly asked Cisco interview question to get familiar with the various questions you might encounter.
  • Develop a habit of following the STAR rule for HR rounds: Always frame answers to convince the interviewer that you will prove to be an asset to the organization. The STAR method is ideal for responding to behavioral interview questions. Begin by discussing the specific situation, the task performed, the action taken, and finally, the result of the situation you describe.
  • Ace coding: Candidates can choose a programming language and practice as many different types of coding problems as possible on lists, arrays, trees, heaps, stacks, queues, graphs, and other data structures.

Cisco Careers

Cisco offers several career paths in a wide range of fields, including:

  • Engineering: Software, Hardware, Network, Pre-sales, and Product Management
  • Sales and marketing: Solutions, Customer Success, Sales - Product, Services, Business Development, Marketing, and Communications
  • Professional services: Solutions Architecture, Customer Support and Engineering, and Services Consulting
  • Corporate services: Finance, Human Resources, and Legal
  • Operations and Support: Supply Chain, Business Strategy and Operations, Information Technology, Project Management, and Program Management
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FAQs

Q1. What are the minimum qualifications for a software engineering position at Cisco?

A candidate must possess:

  • A bachelor's degree in engineering/CS with no backlogs.
  • Proven skills in application/backend engineering or as mentioned in the job description.
  • Good programming skills.

Q2. What programming languages are preferred at Cisco?

Cisco IOS is generally developed in C. Other accepted languages are Java, C, C#, Ruby, and Python

Q3. How to get Cisco Network Associate certification? 

A CCNA certification validates an individual's skill, ability, and expertise to fix, configure, and troubleshoot networks. Our article on roadmap to CCNA certification will clear all your doubts regarding Cisco duration, eligibility, admission process, and assessments. 

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  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.