About the Author: Josh Snow completed his Bachelor’s of Science in Information Technology from Western Governor’s University. He shares how he got an internship at Ericsson and how it completely changed his life.
I owned a successful painting company with 12 employees while working on achieving a degree in IT. This was when a LinkedIn recruiter contacted and offered me an opportunity to intern at Ericsson as a Network Support Engineer. I wouldn’t say it was a complete surprise. I had leveraged every opportunity I could in an effort to get my name out there. While completing school, I constantly updated my LinkedIn profile with new skills and looked for new networking opportunities regularly. Part of my schooling involved studying and testing for industry leading certificates such as Cisco and CompTIA certifications. Each time I passed an exam and earned a certification, I proudly added it to my LinkedIn profile. With each achievement, I made sure that I let my connections know my accomplishments. I believe that the certifications that I had added to my profile, endorsed skills and a keyword rich profile aided recruiters that were looking for interns with my advertised skill set.
While the painting company was successful, I took this opportunity to follow my desired career path: Information Technology (IT). The first month entailed long hours, juggling the internship and ensuring I had completed the remaining scheduled jobs and referring employees to other painting contractors. While this was a big leap into the unknown, I was very excited to start my career in IT.
The company offered great incentive programs and employee run committees. I quickly got involved in the workplace culture. During the internship, I was given the task of monitoring several large networks for major cellular providers and providing support to technicians and engineers. I wanted to be able to recognize when irregularities appear in the network before alarms were triggered, in an effort to proactively troubleshoot little issues before they became big ones. I also wanted to be able to keep records of all future equipment failures, recording the life span, and identifying the reason for the hardware failure. The goal was to be able to predict when hardware was likely to fail based on the accumulation of historical data and the daily reporting of all equipment statuses. This way, equipment could be maintained or replaced prior to a failure, allowing a proactive approach to network maintenance and reducing any negative effect on the customers. Additionally, this data would help the procurement department in decisions requiring future acquisitions.
Cisco, Juniper, Lucent and other manufacturers of network equipment were deployed at cell sites, providing a great learning opportunity for hands-on experience with various switches, routers, battery controllers, antennas, microwaves and their operating systems. Using SSH, I could remotely access each piece of equipment, executing the commands that would display the data in concern. I began to take notes of useful information that could help in signifying any irregularities in the equipment and network.
After I had thresholds, baselines, and likely causes of baseline deviations, I began to outline what commands would need to be entered in what order to achieve access to each piece of equipment, their logs, alarms, and current status. With hundreds of cellular sites, automation was the only answer. So I began my very exciting challenge of figuring out how to do this. After a lot of trial and error, Google searches, and late nights, I figured out how to automatically login to each piece of technology remotely using SecureCRT and VBScript.
Several months of work designing and creating these automated reports finally paid off. I gained a tremendous amount of experience and found that I love to automate and work with Excel. I even scripted a recurring schedule that automatically deployed the script, gathering and parsing all data collected, referencing database of historic reports and presented in a user-friendly format daily, without having to lift a finger.
I was offered a 6-month extension of the internship three times in a row while I was studying in University. The scripts I developed are still used today and are kept updated by a former coworker who also fell in love with automation. The automated report requires no user input, it simply runs on its own each morning. I completely automated my job, allowing more time for learning opportunities. Now, I expect an exciting future, constantly growing and pursuing learning opportunities and new challenges.
Inspired by Josh’s story? Apply to these cool engineering internships and kick-start your professional career.