This Senior Has a Job at Cisco

Yousef Abbasi, a senior, has a great job lined up at Cisco.

Yousef Abbasi is one happy dude. He has a job at a company he adores: Cisco.

After he graduates in May, Yousef will begin working as an Associate Systems Engineer for Cisco’s office in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. After a year of training and certification, he’ll be promoted to a Systems Engineer, he says. 

Yousef is a senior in the Albert Dorman Honors College who majors in Information Systems (IS). He also has a minor in Business. He’ll be based in North Carolina for two years.

In this interview, Yousef talks about his studies at NJIT and his job at Cisco. 

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How did you get the Cisco job? Did NJIT help you?

Yes. I found out about Cisco through my cousin, Zakariya Abbassi, who works as a Systems Engineer at Cisco and is a graduate of the Albert Dorman Honors College.  He suggested I look into systems engineering after I told him about the management classes I found interesting. He referred me to Cisco and then I submitted my resume. NJIT was a colossal help not only in being a solid name in the field of engineering but also in allowing me to safely diversify aside from the normal "meat and potatoes" courses; I found myself in everything from Women's Studies courses to Project Management and Finance courses. 

Do you think NJIT prepared you well to work at Cisco?

Everyone I interviewed with at Cisco was from a technical background.  My major didn't make me stand out - the breadth of what I had seen had.  My management classes let me handle questions from Cisco about topics other candidates hadn't seen before, and NJIT's small class sizes meant I was very comfortable interacting with my interviewers as peers.

What were the highlights of your NJIT education and what will you miss about it?

I missed out on something in my time at NJIT - I get to graduate with a major and minor and can say I've never been in a traditional "lecture" class.  I never got to experience walking in a packed auditorium and struggling to hear a professor - my largest classes rarely topped two and a half dozen students.  The best classes I can remember were taught by professors from the enterprise and industry - I had the fortune of taking a management course with the current interim dean of the Albert Dorman Honors College.  I've had classes taught on Saturday mornings that I would take again in a heartbeat because the professors knew their fields and would bring years of experience into the classroom every week.

Why, as a senior in high school, did you come to NJIT and the Honors College?

As a New Jersey native, NJIT definitely had something I wanted - proximity to home and work.  I can honestly say I've been a full-time student and a full-time systems engineer at a local business for my entire tenure at NJIT. I work full-time as a Systems Sales Manager at a company called Micro Electronics, Inc.  The way NJIT offers classes meant that I could structure 16 and 18 credit semesters around a 45-hour work week every semester for four years, something my friends at other universities in NJ couldn't imagine. I owe a great amount of gratitude to the Albert Dorman Honors College in particular - the facilities they offer students range from quiet study labs, computer labs, and a lounge replete with a setup of billiards.  As a commuter, these facilities functioned as a "second home" at NJIT and enabled me to meet some of the best friends I could have imagined in my college years -- they also were a great way to get some sleep before a night class or print a last-minute paper.

Would you recommend NJIT to a high school student?

Going to NJIT is a decision I would make again in a heartbeat knowing what I know now about universities and the way the job market has changed.  NJIT offers you the opportunity to find a field you love and dive right in without feeling pigeon-holed.  Opportunities for electives are huge, and you can always find classes to take outside your major to broaden your horizons.  NJIT bears the name of a solid university for a lot of fields of study, not just engineering.  In the last four years even the campus has undergone a type of social renaissance with the completion of the Warren Street Village and associated housing, and it looks like it is only bound to improve every day.

You have a great job lined up: You happy?

I feel like I got to check all the boxes on life, man, I couldn't be happier. I found out about my job offer the morning I headed to Miami Beach for a winter vacation. I'm looking forward to living in N.C. for two years. The field I'm going into is a field I love and the broad strokes I learned at NJIT let me stretch my understanding. What I learned at NJIT is, in the end, allowing me to do what I really love to do.

By Robert Florida