CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?
I grew up in Yorkshire and Northumberland, and spent most of my childhood in a little town called Alnwick, which is famous for the Harry Potter castle! I’m currently studying Computer Networking at Sheffield Hallam University, and in September 2024 I will start my third year after completing this internship.
During my time at sixth form I worked at McDonalds, which was a very different experience to working in the GÉANT Operations Centre! I rent a shared apartment in Cambridge which is only a 15 minute walk from the office which is great! I hadn't heard of GÉANT before, and was surprised to find out they supply eduroam at my university!
HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT GÉANT PROVIDING INTERNSHIPS?
At university we have a platform called ‘Handshake’ which enables employers to reach out to the university to select potential interns. This process is much simpler than trying to find internships through job listings. I applied for the Operations Centre intern role through this platform, and two weeks later I had my first interview! This interview was online with HR, and my second one took place at the office with Tony Barber, Head of the GÉANT Operations Centre. This was more of a technical interview, where I was asked to describe and “teach” various networking concepts. A few weeks later I received a call to say my application was successful!
“There is a huge element of trust among colleagues and managers. I feel respected and recognised for my talents, and privileged to be provided with the opportunity to work alongside intelligent and highly skilled individuals.”
WHAT DID YOUR FIRST FEW WEEKS AT GÉANT LOOK LIKE?
I started in June 2023, and my first few weeks consisted of inductions with colleagues from different departments. I found this really helpful as it gave me a good insight into what GÉANT does, and how all of the departments collaborate with each other. I also had a one to one with the CEO Erik Huizer, which gave me the chance to introduce myself, and learn more about him and the organisation.
Even though my internship is just for a year, I am still entitled to many of the employee benefits - such as the pension and private healthcare schemes, and the generous holiday entitlement!
When I started I was slightly worried I would feel a divide between myself and the rest of the team, as I am younger and less experienced, however, I have been made to feel very welcome since day one.
WHAT ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS AN INTERN?
I am pleasantly surprised about the level of responsibility I have been given. A stereotypical concept of an intern is that they are just a temporary addition to the team, there to be given easy tasks - but that's certainly not the case here! I enjoy working in the Operations Centre as it’s the first point of contact with our customers who have any issues or concerns, meaning I do a lot of troubleshooting.
I'm grateful for the number of learning opportunities that GÉANT provide. Alongside on the job training, I have completed the Juniper JNCIA certification, and the RIPE NCC BGP Security Associate certification, which ties in with the areas of the network that I'm responsible for maintaining and upgrading. I’ve been given a Juniper Learning account so I can also complete courses in my own time. I will also have the opportunity to partake in basic training on Nokia devices that all engineers receive, for when making the switch from Juniper to Nokia routers.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART ABOUT WORKING HERE SO FAR?
There is a huge element of trust among colleagues and managers. I feel respected and recognised for my talents, and privileged to be provided with the opportunity to work alongside intelligent and highly skilled individuals. I have a good understanding of my specialised subject and area of work, and I love working with people who share similar interests - it’s important to work with people who genuinely take the time to understand you.
I work 08:00-16:30, with an hour for lunch. This works perfectly for me because finishing fairly early means it's easier to balance work with my personal life. Living and working in the same location also makes it much more convenient.
HAVE YOU JOINED ANY SOCIAL EVENTS SINCE STARTING?
I participated in the most recent GÉANT cricket match which was good fun considering I know nothing about the sport! After work one evening a group of us played a match which provided a chance to socialise with different colleagues. It was a great opportunity for me to show off my poor cricket skills… and I got to keep the ball at the end!
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
One option is to complete a Master’s degree in Advance Computer Networking. However, after speaking to previous GÉANT interns who returned after graduating to work here permanently, I would definitely be interested in approaching GÉANT about a suitable role once I've graduated.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEONE WONDERING IF LIFE AT GÉANT IS FOR THEM?
Talk to someone who has been here! Reach out! Since starting at GÉANT I have noticed that people are always happy to offer advice and support. Whether that be with something work related, or with anything else (such as the rules of cricket!).
After joining his university sailing club on a whim, Billy is now passionate about sailing, and enjoys the rush from leaning over the side of a dinghy in 30 mph winds! Billy races against other universities in nationwide events, and even owns a little boat!