The best internships are the ones when you are given plenty of opportunities and trusted with responsibility.
If you’re just starting out on your career journey, it can feel very daunting, particularly as an intern.
When it comes to the tech industry, there are plenty of internship options available. But how do you make sure that the internship you choose is right for you? A good start is to hear from those who’ve gone through it before you.
Danny Cremin participated in the Kemp Technologies internship programme and was delighted to be given a lot of responsibility from early on.
What are you studying in college?
BSc (Hons) in computer networks and systems management at Limerick Institute of Technology.
What drew you to Kemp Technologies when you were seeking an internship?
I was really drawn to the opportunity to help different people, of many different nationalities, in vastly different organisations around the world.
Kemp was one of very few companies that could offer such an opportunity in Limerick, with hands-on experience that correlates to my college degree.
What expectations did you have before you began your internship?
I had never worked for a multinational company prior to working with Kemp, so was unsure of what to expect working with customers of different nationalities.
I was unsure if my undergraduate course had prepared me enough for my internship prior to starting.
What duties and responsibilities were you given initially?
Initially, I was primarily responsible for dealing with tickets related to licensing of the product and upgrading the firmware of customers’ devices.
This involved taking tickets from the support queue, liaising with the customer at a convenient time for them to carry out the work, and subsequently doing a remote session to complete the work.
Did the scope of your work change as the internship progressed?
Yes, since starting my internship, the scope of my work changed. I started to work on more complex cases, often requiring assistance from my more experienced colleagues.
I enjoyed the challenge of working on more complex tickets using network diagrams from customers and test environments, to test implementations before rolling them out in a production environment.
Can you describe a typical day in your role?
I start work at 9am and will first check my calendar for any scheduled customer calls or remote sessions. I will then usually spend about 30 minutes catching up on emails, replying to any outstanding support tickets from customers in my queue, and following up on any open internal tickets with our development team on a customer issue.
Once I’m up to date on emails and tickets, I will make myself available on the phone system to take inbound support calls from customers from across the EMEA region. After lunch, I will usually have scheduled a number of remote sessions from the morning with customers to troubleshoot issues.
In between remote sessions, I will spend some time trying to recreate issues reported by customers and bring my findings to the development team for review.
What key things have you learned during this internship?
In my role as a customer support engineer, I believe I have gained experience in two key areas: customer service and technical.
As I am dealing with different customers daily, it’s important to approach every customer’s situation without making assumptions. An issue you’ve seen elsewhere may not equal the same fix – every customer’s environment is different.
Given the role of Kemp products in production infrastructure, an issue can cause frustration with the customer. It is important to reassure the customer that you are on hand to assist and take control of the situation. In addition to customer service skills, I am getting hands-on experience with networking infrastructure in production environments.
Often, the problem can lie elsewhere in the network, and using tools such as Wireshark – a network packet analyser to get a clearer picture of what’s happening – is invaluable. It is nice to see practical application, in real-life scenarios, of theoretical concepts or labs from my undergraduate studies.
Has this internship made you feel as though you’re on the right career path?
Yes, I do believe my time as an intern at Kemp has instilled my desire to pursue a career in IT – more specifically, networking.
I really like the prospect of working with the latest technology, and in an industry that is so fast-paced and constantly changing. I like the challenge of learning new things every day as technology advances.
Additionally, I like the culture of being able to ask, ‘Is this the most efficient way of doing this? Can it be done in a more efficient way that will save time now and in the future?’
Do you feel more prepared for working life following your internship?
Yes, I do think my internship has prepared me more for working life. The skills I have learned over the course of my internship will be invaluable going forward in my career. Every day, I’m dealing with customers from across the world with varying levels of technical ability and familiarity with Kemp’s products.
You need to be able to translate (often complex) functionality to someone who may never have used the product before, but also be able to adjust your tone to troubleshoot an issue with a customer who uses the product every day. I think both the customer service and technical skills I’ve learned during my time at Kemp Technologies have prepared me well for the working world.
Why should someone take up an internship at this company?
If you’re serious about a career in IT, where no two days are the same, then Kemp is the right choice for your internship. Every customer is different; their requirements, environments and end users.
This makes for an exciting workplace, working with some of the top tech companies in the business, with the best infrastructure money can buy. Since starting my placement, I am continually surprised at the level of responsibility I have been given, even in a junior role.
Neither my colleagues nor managers have ever doubted my ability in dealing with customers, and are always more than willing to assist where needed. It’s exciting to work in an environment where people around you genuinely love what they do – where troubleshooting a problem is seen as a challenge, rather than a tedious task.
Above all, the team culture within the company is evident from management right down to interns, minus the hierarchical management feel.