Cisco Looks to New Grads for UX Solutions

The people at Cisco are smart enough to know that a key factor in the company’s future success will be the user experience. Specifically, if consumers can’t easily get its devices to do what they want them to do, they’re not going to be worth very much.

Cisco logoAs a solution, Cisco is hiring fresh college graduates and putting them to work on projects designed to make sure that customers find its products logical and easy to use.

The idea is that while those graduating today may not have the depth of work experience tech companies often look for, they’ve been plugged in for as long as they can remember. So, they bring an urgency to the need for simple interface design. As users themselves, they won’t tolerate experiences that don’t work. As The Wall Street Journal’s Rachael King points out, this generation, “never having experienced the indignities of DOS, for example, expects an intuitive user experience.”

In tech-centric organizations, “user experience is not the first thing we think about,” Cisco’s CIO, Rebecca Jacoby, told CIO Journal. She believes that has to change for Cisco as it moves toward offering more software and services. If the experience isn’t right, she said, customers will just go somewhere else.

Cisco’s being smart here, though it’s not necessarily breaking new ground: Google and Facebook, for example, have younger staffs who would be engaged in technology whether they worked there or not. Today’s generation tends to be entrepreneurial, a trait that an increasing number of companies look for in job candidates. It’s enough to make many companies — like Cisco — eschew the idea of hiring based on technical experience first, at least in some cases. For newcomers to tech, experience as an end user counts, as long as you have enthusiasm and smarts.

3 Responses to “Cisco Looks to New Grads for UX Solutions”

  1. spockmonster

    Sounds like Business logic at play here. UX seems simple to business people, seems like it is “just intuition”. Wrong. UX is a branch of the discpline known as “Human Factors Engineering”. AT the company where I am an Architect, Business has business people creating UX. These people create UX that is nonsense. They aren’t ground-breaking, they’re experience breaking. These babies coming out of college, they are going to think they bring “fresh perspective” to the table, but in reality, UX is a science of metaphors that are common across all websites and applications. “Bucking the trend” means confusing your end users. Here we go, yet another IT tragedy in the making as Business tries to pirate the software business.

  2. Bisonxxx

    Looks to me like a strategy to go cheap on Cisco’s part more than anything. Big silicon valley companies want cheap labor and in huge numbers, for most part, hence they prey on young blood. Cheaper to hire and train as you like than hire an experienced individual. Nothing wrong with that as long as it works for them. I am not sure what is it that the author finds ‘smart’ here exactly unless he’s saying they are smart by going cheap in which case I agree somewhat. Saying that someone becomes better (enough to do it ) at Ux because they have been using devices really is priceless. This is the kind of thinking that produces some of the most dysfunctional interfaces.

  3. Sachin Panemangalore

    This Is an excellent model. It’s especially true for theoretically heavy applications like compilers and algorithms. Most importantly , recruiting freshly graduated students from us universities helps keep the industry to education feedback pipeline well oiled.