E16 - Houman Asefi at Cisco

George Barnes
Homan Asefi

By George Barnes & Homan Asefi

On this episode of The Route to Networking, George Barnes, the Co-Founder and Director at Hamilton Barnes, sits down with Houman Asefi, the Business Development Director at Cisco. During this episode, Houman speaks about his time at Cisco, how he left and then ended up coming back a few years later and where he sees the future of tech going.

Houman started his journey back in 1999, starting as a Network Support Engineer. Ever since then, he’s jumped into various roles such as Network Engineering, Principal Consultant, Solutions Architect, Solutions Sales Manager and then to more sales-based roles. Houman first joined Cisco back in 2010 as a Network Engineer then moved up to a Principal Consultant after a year and was at Cisco for 4 years. He left there and jumped into various roles, before being contacted by Cisco asking if he wanted to come back and since then, in 2020, he’s now back at Cisco as a Business Development Director.

Houman studied Computer Science at university and since graduating, he had 2 options for himself, 1. Become a developer or 2. Become a Network Engineer. He figured he wasn’t very creative, so the Network Engineering path is what he decided on. Being from a Middle East background, he had no other choice but to take on a degree at university but his thoughts on anyone coming up into the industry, regarding whether it’s worth it or not is that since moving to Australia, University isn’t necessary, even from 12-13 years old, you can learn certifications. It’s not easy but it’s simple at the same time if you dedicate yourself to it, you’ll be fine.

“I recommend people to do their certification, University is just a bonus, a platform to network with other people”.

Being in the networking industry for over 2 decades now, Houman has been through the evolution of technology. But the interesting part is that, surprisingly, he doesn’t feel it has changed that much. The technologies have changed but the methodology hasn’t.

Some background on Cisco, who they are and what they stand for… Cisco develops, manufactures, and sells networking hardware, software, telecommunications equipment and other high-technology services and products. Since working there, Houman has said they want to position themselves as a software vendor and other than Microsoft, they are the second company in the world that are from a software perspective. The future of Cisco is very bright and there are exciting times ahead for its employees.

Working as one of the worldwide leaders in networking for the internet, Houman faces many daily challenges in his position. The programme he’s working on oversees portfolio services that identify risk within the customers’ environment based on their behaviours, meaning there’s a lot of pressure on his part to deliver a 10/10 service. In his role, he is an individual contributor, meaning his role is to empower and coach other people around the services that have been previously mentioned in the podcast.

The main factor he seeks when looking for employees to work there is communication, so not just learning how to articulate yourself properly, but to have listening skills and how to effectively deliver a message, to be nice and not be pushy. Leadership is another thing, so again, not just necessarily knowing how to lead someone from A to B but taking responsibility for what you are doing day to day.

If he could go back and talk to his 16-year-old self, what advice would he give to his younger self, knowing what he knows now?

Put it this way, when his daughter is old enough, he is going to teach her code. Coding is used in pretty much any role you want to get into, and he wishes he was taught coding from a young age which would’ve helped him greatly as he progressed through his career.

Overall, Houman is now working with the number 1 company to work for in Australia and is just enjoying the journey he’s on at Cisco. His ultimate goal is for him and everyone at Cisco to be successful in the future. What a nice guy, right?

Finally, it takes us to our quick-fire round, where Houman gives some brilliant answers… You don’t want to miss this one, listen to the podcast here: