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A 2-month Cisco Tech Interview Preparation Plan

Your prep plan must be thorough and solid to answer Cisco interview questions. Cracking Cisco’s technical interview is challenging even for experienced engineers. The interview fundamentally tests one’s design and coding skills while also evaluating behavioral psychology and leadership areas.

Cisco is a major developer and manufacturer of networking software, hardware, and other technology equipment. Preparing for the Cisco interview in two months may appear difficult, but it is not impossible. You can nail your Cisco interview preparation in two months if you have a strategic preparation plan and hands-on practice with Cisco interview questions. Continue reading to find out how!

If you’re a software engineer, coding engineer, software developer, engineering manager, or tech lead preparing for tech interviews, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready! 

Having trained over 9,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the most challenging tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have landed lucrative offers from FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest-ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $1.267 Million!

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Let’s look at the ideal 2-month Cisco interview preparation plan. We’ll also look at the top Cisco interview questions, Cisco CCNA interview questions, and prep tips to crack the Cisco technical interview. 

Here’s what we’ll discuss in this article:

  • The Cisco Interview Process
  • The 2-month Cisco Interview Preparation Plan
  • Cisco Interview Questions on Coding
  • Cisco Interview Questions on Systems Design
  • Cisco Behavioral Interview Questions
  • Preparation Tips to Crack Cisco’s Technical Interview
  • FAQs on Cisco Interview Preparation 

The Cisco Interview Process

Before we look at the ideal 2-month Cisco interview preparation plan and sample Cisco interview questions, let us first understand what the technical interview process at Cisco looks like. 

The Cisco interview process essentially tests your ability to solve complex coding problems and build arbitrary, scalable systems with low latency. The three main rounds of the process include - 

  • The Recruiter Screen - This is a basic interview round where a recruiter will call you to understand your interest in the position. You’re typically asked questions about your work experience, professional skills, past projects, and your expectations from the role.
  • The Technical Phone Screen - This round evaluates your ability to solve core DSA problems of medium difficulty. The round typically lasts about 30 minutes via a shared document or a remote interviewing tool.
  • The On-site - The on-site interview consists of a coding, design, and behavioral round. Depending on the seniority of the position you’re applying to, there could be additional design or leadership interviews. The on-site interview is the real test of your problem-solving and design capabilities.

The Ideal 2-month Cisco Interview Preparation Plan

Let’s go ahead and look at what the ideal Cisco technical interview preparation plan should look like.

Week 1 and 2

  • Spend the first couple of weeks solving problems in core data structures. Go through arrays, sorting algorithms, strings, and linked lists.
  • Enroll in a good interview prep course to get insights and guidance on cracking technical interviews.
  • Start practicing at least 1-2 problems every day. Make sure to classify problems based on identical solution patterns and use analogous patterns to approach and solve new problems. 

Week 3 and 4

  • Core data structures and algorithms should continue to be the focus. Move onto trees, graphs, recursion, hash tables, and dynamic programming.
  • Start taking regular timed tests - at least once a week - to prepare yourself in an interview-style environment. 

Week 5 and 6

  • Start preparing for your systems design interview. 
  • Start by understanding the design behind popular scalable platforms. 
  • Brush up on essential design concepts such as online processing systems, sharding techniques, file systems, and loading. 
  • Continue solving one or two coding problems and revise design concepts, including Concurrency, Network Protocols, and API modeling. 

Week 7 and 8

  • Practice mock interviews with expert professionals. With Interview Kickstart, you can practice mocks with FAANG hiring managers and instructors who are members of the hiring committee at top technology companies.
  • If you are preparing for a domain-specific interview, practice mock interviews in your domain. With IK, you have the unique opportunity to practice domain-specific mock interviews across 17 different software engineering domains.

Week 9

  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile and resume. Spend the week understanding behavioral interviews and the type of questions asked.
  • Practice answers to commonly asked behavioral interview questions. Make sure to structure your answers in the STAR format to give recruiters a clear picture of your experiences.

Cisco Interview Questions on Coding

In this section, we’ll look at some Cisco interview questions on coding. Before that, here are the important coding topics to prepare for the interview:

Let’s go ahead and look at some sample Cisco interview questions on coding. 

  1. Write a program to count the occurrence of a character in a given string S.
  2. Write a code to print the first non-repetitive character in a given string S. 
  3. Explain how the Radix sort algorithm is used and implemented.
  4. Write a code to print the duplicate elements in a given array A. 
  5. Explain how the Iterative QuickSort algorithm is implemented through a program.
  6. Write a code to print the bottom view of a given binary tree from left to right.
  7. Write a program that identifies the strongly connected components in a given Graph. 
  8. Write a program to find the length of the longest substring. Make sure the characters are not repeated. 
  9. Explain how the Binary Search Tree is implemented through a program.
  10. Explain how you would traverse a binary tree in postorder without recursion?

Practice more data structures interview questions asked here.

Cisco Interview Questions on Systems Design

To answer Cisco interview questions on systems design, it is important to cover a wide range of systems design topics. 

Here’s what you should cover:

  • Loading
  • Caching 
  • Sharding Techniques
  • Network Protocols
  • Database management
  • Scalable systems
  • Concurrency
  • API modeling
  • Servers and maintenance 

Below are some sample Cisco interview questions in systems design.

  1. What security aspects would you consider while building an e-commerce application?
  2. Explain the process of designing a proximity server?
  3. What aspects would you consider while designing a Chatbot service?
  4. Explain the process of Concurrency and how it is applicable in distributed systems?
  5. What aspects would you consider while designing a platform like Uber?
  6. How would you go about setting up security for multiple servers?
  7. How would you perform API modeling while handling multiple remote servers and systems?
  8. What aspects would you consider while designing a shared drive on the cloud? 

Cisco Interview Questions on Behavioral Psychology and Leadership

In this section, we’ll look at popular Cisco interview questions in behavioral psychology and leadership. 

Behavioral interview questions typically fall under the following categories:

  • Your response to workplace-related situations
  • Challenging projects that you worked on in the past
  • Professional challenges that you faced
  • Conflict resolution
  • Workplace ethics

Below are some sample Cisco interview questions on leadership and behavioral psychology.

  1. Tell us about a time when you failed to meet the expectations of a project you worked on?
  2. Which has been the most challenging that you’ve worked on?
  3. Tell us about a time when a coworker was uncooperative, and the project you were working on suffered as a result.
  4. Tell us about a time when you disagreed with your superior on a project-related decision.
  5. How do you keep distractions at bay?
  6. What are some challenges you faced while working remotely?
  7. How do you ensure to maintain a good work-life balance?

These Cisco interview questions will help you get ready for your upcoming Cisco interview. Practice them to get ahead of your competition. For more behavioral interview questions, check out this article.

Additional Cisco CCNA Interview Questions Asked at Cisco’s Technical Interview

Let’s look at some Cisco CCNA interview questions that feature in Cisco’s technical interview.

  1. What do you understand by Gateway and Routing in networking?
  2. What aspects would you consider during a TCP connection?
  3. What are some features of the IP access list?
  4. Explain how you’d use Linked Lists to simulate TCP/IP packets.
  5. What do you understand about LAN switching methods while setting up network connections?
  6. What are the various types of memories used in Cisco Routers?
  7. How does Cut-through LAN Switching work? What are some of its features?
  8. Explain the process of Recovery Testing.

Preparation Tips to Crack Cisco’s Technical Interview

Employ these superb tips to ace your Cisco interview! 

  1. Start your preparation 8-9 weeks before your interview.
  2. Solve at least 1-2 coding problems on data structures and algorithms every day.
  3. Take periodic coding tests and assignments, preferably once a week. 
  4. Spend at least 2 weeks preparing for your systems design interview.
  5. Identify patterns in coding problems and use analogous problem patterns to approach and solve new problems.
  6. Create a succinct project portfolio that lists your projects in the STAR format.
  7. Practice mock interviews with industry experts and FAANG hiring managers. 
  8. Think out loud during the interview to give recruiters an idea about the approach you’re taking.
  9. Practice Whiteboard coding.
    Spend at least a week preparing for your behavioral interview

FAQs on Cisco Interview Preparation

Q1. How many interview rounds does the Cisco interview process have?

The Cisco interview process has three main rounds - The Initial Recruiter Screen, The Technical Phone Screen, and The On-site Interview. The On-site comprises 3-4 rounds - 1-2 coding rounds, 1-2 design rounds, and a behavioral round. 

Q2. How long should you spend preparing for Cisco’s technical interview?

Ideally, you should begin your Cisco interview prep at least 8 weeks before your on-site interview. 

Q3. What coding topics should you prepare to solve Cisco interview questions in coding seamlessly?

To solve challenging Cisco interview questions in coding, the important coding topics you should prepare for include - Strings, Arrays, Recursion, Hash Tables, Trees, Graphs, Greedy Algorithms, and Dynamic Programming. 

Q4. How much time should you spend preparing for Cisco’s behavioral interview?

To effectively answer Cisco interview questions in behavioral psychology and leadership, you should ideally spend at least 1 week preparing answers to commonly asked questions. 

Q5. How long should you ideally prepare for Cisco’s systems design interview?

To answer Cisco interview questions in systems design, you should ideally aim to spend at least 2 weeks prepping for the design interview.

Gear Up for Your Next Technical Interview

Are you getting ready for an upcoming technical interview? Register for our technical interview webinar.

At Interview Kickstart, we’ve trained over 9,000 engineers to land lucrative offers at the biggest tech companies. Our instructors, who are FAANG hiring managers, know what it takes to nail tough tech interviews at top technology companies.

Register for our FREE webinar to learn more.

Interview Preparation
Last updated on: 
August 10, 2021

Utkarsh Sahu

Director, Category Management @ Interview Kickstart || IIM Bangalore || NITW.

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