A young woman wearing a black jacket in front of the Kemp sign on a wall. She has completed an internship at the company.
Megan Maxwell. Image: Kemp Technologies

How an internship can prepare you for a tech career

9 May 2019

Want to know how hands-on an internship in the tech industry can be?

One of the best things about tech careers is that you can enter into them at pretty much any stage in your life. We’ve heard from plenty of people who’ve switched from completely different industries into a career in tech and have never looked back.

But for those who have always known they wanted a tech career, they may be hungry to hit the ground running. That’s where internships come in.

Some might worry that an internship at a tech company might just mean a lot of photocopying and getting coffee. However, Megan Maxwell’s experience on Kemp Technologies’ internship programme proved to be very hands-on.

What are you studying in college?

Computer networks and systems management in Limerick Institute of Technology.

What drew you to Kemp Technologies when you were seeking an internship?

When researching potential placements, Kemp stood out as being a company that thrived on collaborative efforts. Also, their customer satisfaction rate with regards the technical support team was second to none, which highlighted that they truly cared about their customer base and were always willing to go the extra mile.

What expectations did you have before you began your internship?

I did not have much experience with the IT industry prior to my internship, so working with a company and a customer base on an international level was something I was excited about. Initially, I was unsure of what to expect in terms of working with different departments and teams, and how they collaborate.

What duties and responsibilities were you given initially?

At the beginning, my responsibilities were to assist customers with licensing and performing firmware upgrades on their systems. This was completed using our ticketing platform in which customers raised tickets via phone call, a web portal or emailing the support team.

I was also given the responsibility of creating my own test environment, which would be used throughout my internship. Initially, this environment consisted of some load balancers and web servers that can be used to replicate and test some customer issues.

Did the scope of your work change as the internship progressed?

Over the six-month period, the tickets I took became more challenging and progressed from licensing and firmware upgrades to more complex cases. My test environment was configured with other applications that are used on the load balancers so I could replicate issues and assist customers on remote sessions, showing where the issue might lie. My test environment also became more complex so that I could test new applications and firmware before being issued to customers.

Can you describe a typical day in your role?

I typically start work at 8.30am, of which the first half hour is spent checking my emails and replying to any tickets waiting for a response from my ticket queue. I would also start up any virtual machines or units that had been turned off the day before and ensure that my environment was ready for any testing that I need to do. I would then log on to the phone system where customers can also raise tickets.

The rest of the day would be spent watching the ticket queue and assisting customers with any queries or issues they may have, and scheduling remote sessions to get a better understanding of their environment and applications. If one of my colleagues has any remote sessions scheduled in which I have found a particular issue interesting, then I would often ask to join them, to see the issue in a live environment and to overlook how the situation is solved.

What key things have you learned during this internship?

Throughout the internship I learned how to work as part of a team and to ask questions if I was stuck on an issue. I learned how to deal with customers in a technical and professional manner, and to analyse an environment, looking out for any configurations that may stand out.

I also learned how to work with different departments and that the best way to communicate efficiently is to ensure everyone is on the same page and that all information has been passed along. When raising internal tickets with our development team, it was crucial to include as much background information as possible, so that a resolution could be found quickly and reiterated back to the customer.

Has this internship made you feel as though you’re on the right career path?

Definitely. There were times throughout college where I was worried that I had not chosen the right path but working at Kemp definitely confirmed that I had. Each day was different than the last and it was rare for a day to be dull! As someone who enjoys a challenge, it was great to be in a working environment that encouraged complex challenges to be taken and to push yourself to achieve move.

Do you feel more prepared for working life following your internship?

Working for Kemp gave a solid insight into how the IT industry behaves. I was able to learn new skills, such as generic troubleshooting skills that would be beneficial in any company. Kemp also provided excellent customer service skills and I found that at the end of the internship, I was much more comfortable and confident with tackling customer issues in a professional manner.

There was also the benefit of being able to take the theory learned in college and put it into practice. Having access to a variety of hardware and software meant I was able to test more applications and implementations that may not have been possible in a college environment. This also allowed me to become a lot more independent during testing phases, as I was now used to searching for where an issue might be, how to troubleshoot it and effectively resolve it.

Why should someone take up an internship at Kemp Technologies?

If someone likes a challenge and working in an exciting, dynamic environment, then Kemp is a forerunner for an internship. Putting theoretical knowledge into practice is invaluable and you can guarantee that you will leave the internship with practical experience you would not get in college. Every team member you meet is friendly and always willing to help, regardless of the situation. Also, the opportunity to work for a company on an international level is second to none and working with colleagues spanning across three regions will prove extremely beneficial for future jobs.

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