My Cisco Ideathon 2020 Journey
What is Cisco Ideathon?
Between dreams and reality, there is a bridge.
Cisco Ideathon is an annual flagship hiring programme from Cisco, to hire the best and the most diverse talent from across all demographics of the country. Currently it's only available to registered Cisco Networking Academies.
The Cisco Ideathon is an opportunity for students with potential and creativity to be a part of Cisco’s technological innovations. In simpler words, Cisco Ideathon is a great opportunity for students from non-Ivy league universities to showcase their skill and expertise, and get a chance to get shortlisted and Intern at one of the biggest IT Companies in the world.
Did you know that after San Jose, CA, Cisco has there biggest development center in Bangalore, India. Via Ideathon, You may get a chance to work there.
How to clear Cisco Ideathon?
I would be lying if I said clearing Ideathon is easy. It's not! But don't let that bring you down, No matter the difficulty level, it's surely fun to participate and learn. I haven't learned at this pace in whole my university period than in these 3 months of competition duration.
You need dedication, determination and a whole lot of caffeine☕ to go through this, but I can assure you it's the event of a lifetime.
So buckle up, you're in for a ride!
Enrolled in Cisco NetAcad
Good DSA and Domain Knowledge
NetAcad Course Certifications (Not just copy paste, You should be well versed in it too😏):
CCNAv7: Introduction to Network
CCNAv7: Switching, Routing & Wireless Essentials
PCAP: Programming with Python
C/C++ Equivalent Course.
Not all courses are mandatory but it's highly recommended that you do them all
Coding Skills (Duh!)
Internet Connection 😐
How to prepare?
Alot of people ask me this question on a daily basis, so I planned to write this blog, One time hassle only😂. There's alot of ways you can prepare. Some people prefer tutors, some prefer books, some prefer YouTube and some hand written notes. I'm more of a hand written and Youtube kinda person.
I'm not much of a reader, be it books or any course content, I prefer practical approaches more than just theory (not just in this case but everywhere). When it comes to notes, I prefer writing my own in my own way so I can understand them better and they later serve as a revision copy as well. CCNA is VAAAAST, so if you're planning to go for CCNA from youtube, there's a very high chance that you'll end up just getting confused and distracted. My suggestion and what I did was: Go through the NetAcad Course Content first, then use the topic headings and concepts from netacad, individually watch videos on them from YouTube (any youtube channel will work as long as you are getting it in) and simultaneously take notes. TAKE NOTES! I can't stress this enough. You cannot learn networking just by watching videos and reading content, you need to make sure you are absorbing all the details and getting enough hands on practice. The ratio should by 1:1 for Studying:Practicing.
The perfect tool for practicing networking concepts is by using Cisco Packet Tracer, another just awesome tool made available to NetAcad enrolled students. Create, Simulate, Observe. These 3 steps are most important in learning networking.
Also, don't just give all your time into just networking, give enough time to other subjects as well, DSA, Operating Systems, DBMS, Internet & Web Technologies, Cyber Security, Object Oriented Programming, C/C++, Python, Java etc.
Registration usually starts by 3rd week of August every year, your netacad instructor will inform you about that asap.
Round 1: Quiz (Knockout round)
Probably one of the most important round, as major shortlisting is done here. You get 26 questions based on Dry Run Codes, CCNA, OS, DBMS, IWT, Cyber Security and some networking problems which you'll need to solve. It's a proctored examination so you gotta do it alone. If you made it through this round, Other rounds are fairly easy and less competetive.
Round 2A: Video Submission (Knockout round)
This is the round where you'll see the spirit of Ideathon. Also known as the "Ideation" round. You're given three problem statements, each one completely different from the other and unique in their own way. You're required to Analyse, Research and Come up with a solution for any one of them using 5G or any other latest technologies. Your solution should be unique, innovative, scalable and feasible to implement. Here's the catch, you only have 90 seconds to do all that! Not one second less, Not one second more. Exact 90seconds. It should be well shot, well edited, well rendered and should contain enough research to make your solution viable. You get approximately 4-6 days to complete everything and upload. Always upload atleast a day before the deadline to avoid any issues.
I'm not sure if we're allowed to share our videos, but will update this in future if any update is there.
Round 2B: Competency Assessment Test (Not a Knockout round)
As the name suggests, this assessment is to evaluate your competency in a high pressured work environment. Contains general aptitude and pyschological questions
Round 3: UR Test (Knockout round)
UR stands for University Recruitment. Thus, if you made it till here, Congratulations, you've cleared Ideathon and now you're on the track for University Recruitment. The path only gets more and more difficult from here on. You need to clear this test to proceed to the interviews. UR Test contains 26 questions, were 25 are MCQs from DSA, DBMS, CCNA, Cyber Security and other domain subjects and 1 competetive coding question. Before attempting the UR Test, they ask you to fill your preference for Job roles. In Ideathon 2020, there were Software Engineer - Engineering, Software Engineer - IT, Consulting Engineer - CX, Business Analyst and Site Reliability Engineer roles. Based on your performance in this test, you'll be given the roles. It's like an unsaid thing but if you want the SE roles, SOLVE THE CODING QUESTION
Round 4: Technical Interview (Knockout round)
As the name suggests, You're called for a Technical Interview, which can be virtual or on-site, depends on the situations. A panel of three will conduct that and will ask you questions based on your resume and role. Make sure to prepare well and answer confidently.
Round 5: Managerial Interview (Knockout round)
They'll ask you questions and some situations, how you will handle them and how can you improve them. You answer should be original as the interview is alot more experienced than you are, thus they know when you're saying the words from the internet. Be original, Be Confident
Round 6: HR Interview (Knockout round)
Do not believe in hearsay that you cannot get rejected in HR round! This round is as important as any other. They check your communication skills, confidence and your ability to handle things. You'll be told your offer CTC in this round so listen carefully too!
There's no Round 7
You're done and in a few days you'll get your result. Congratulations and all the best!
At the time of writing this article, I'm currently a Software Engineer Intern @ Cisco System (India) Pvt. Ltd. See you there.