Is the Cisco TAC a good place to work?

dontstopdontstop Member Posts: 578 ■■■■□□□□□□
Hi all,

I've mentioned on here before that I'm looking at making the transition from SysAdmin to Networking Engineer/Support Engineer and I'm trying to find my break. I'm in Australia/Sydney and I'm struggling to find places to work that will give me the experience with networking to the depth that I'm after. Either most of them advertise roles which are well beyond my experience level and their not interested in hiring newbies or they you're typical NOC JOAT with poor career progression prospects.

I have noticed a trend while modeling the careers of others via Linkedin, most seem to make their way up through a TAC such as Cisco's. I'm wondering if this is a good role to chase and what I might need to obtain to get a look in from them? It seems they generally hire out of University and I graduated in 2011 so I might have missed the "get them young" boat.

Some things I'd like to get out of the role:
  • Exposure to multiple customer networks, I don't like the idea of early on being exposed to a single SME network like I have in previous roles. You learn very little from this and generally the smaller networks don't need much care and feeding compared to the larger enterprise networks.
  • A role in which Engineering of networks is a thing, too many SME roles are just plug and play networks with no real planning or thought.
Any information would be great.



  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    I did some time in high level TAC for a vendor. It's not terribly fulfilling work, and I didn't enjoy it much at all honestly. You don't really "engineer" anything in TAC. It's all post sales/implementation. I supported very large customers (Googles of the world etc.), so they had extremely bright people in their companies already, and the vast majority of the issues they needed assistance with were software bugs.

    I definitely would never do the job again, but I'm glad I put a little time in and got it on the resume. People certainly notice the big name. The internal free training is great too!
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • dontstopdontstop Member Posts: 578 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Thanks for the reply! My options are a little sparse from my point of view.
    • NOC
    • TAC
    • "Network Admin" which is really just a System Administrator moonlighting as a Network Engineer (which would put me back at square one)
    If my transition is going to require me to do my time in a beginner role then I'm thinking why not aim for the best? I've spoken to recruiters and read a lot of job descriptions for NOC jobs and most of them seem to flirt more with Helpdesk roles than Network engineering focused. A few of the NOC roles which seemed okay ended up being for companies which got terrible reviews or who I was warned away from my friends in the industry.

    Would you say the TAC would be a fast track for exposure? Not saying I'd like to shortcut the process but I don't want to have to spend 10 years in a SME to gain a similar level of exposure as I would with 12-24 months in TAC.

  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    If nothing else the name on your resume will probably help more than a NOC position. Will you learn as much valuable information? About Cisco maybe, but you'll be pretty shoehorned into a single technology/vendor. It's a stepping stone.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • ccie14023ccie14023 Member Posts: 183
    I posted a bunch of stories about working in TAC on my blog:

    TAC Tales - SubnetZero

    They give a somewhat dated but still relevant look into the life of a TAC CSE. It's hard work but a very good way to get great experience. It's also easy to get stuck there.
  • dontstopdontstop Member Posts: 578 ■■■■□□□□□□
    ccie14023 wrote: »

    I enjoyed reading those stories, thanks for posting them!
  • ccie14023ccie14023 Member Posts: 183
    Thanks, glad you liked them. I wouldn't trade my TAC years for anything, even though they were rough. I was able to use the background to later get a job at a partner, and later a job in IT. I'm back at Cisco now and a lot of TMEs in my organization worked at TAC. I always respect a TAC background when hiring. That said, it is easy to get stuck there. I knew many people who wanted to move on but couldn't. It's one of the reasons I left. However, I think they've gotten better since I worked there. Another key thing is to know what team you're going to be on. I was on the routing protocols team, which was very respected. If you end up doing RMA's all day, or even just working crashes, you may not get the technical or career development you want.
  • dontstopdontstop Member Posts: 578 ■■■■□□□□□□
    >  I wouldn't trade my TAC years for anything, even though they were rough

    True that. 
Sign In or Register to comment.