Published: February 18th, 2016
As a telecommunications company, CENGN is a sweet mix of networking with prominent flavours of software and hardware. Having done the larger part of my undergrad CO-OP work terms at networking related companies, CENGN still seemed like a very interesting place to go as a student intern with a software engineering background and current computer science master’s student. Some students simply seek internships to fund their studies or get their career advanced but I was truly interested by the work they are doing there before applying. And what they do is truly interesting. You get to work with bleeding edge technologies (cliché but this expression is fitting considering the trouble and pain to work with new technologies). In addition, CENGN is still in startup mode which gives interns lots of opportunities, especially if they have dipped in the field before. Even as an intern, I had the chance to interact with external customers. A rare opportunity, especially when you are on the engineering side.
There are not a lot of students, especially at the undergraduate level, who have a networking background. If the motivation is there it is not a problem but you can imagine the ramping up being quite steep. Even though I had a bit of networking background, and by chance in SDN (software defined networking) particularly, it was a great challenge because my basic networking knowledge is not quite as sharp as someone who has studied in the field. Thankfully, and one of the things I appreciated the most, people at CENGN are very supportive and will help you accomplish your goals. In the end, you are working for and with everyone there. They encourage a culture of no-blame and collaboration. It truly makes a difference in the atmosphere and it makes it fun to work with your colleagues.
On the technology side of things, it was a lot of fun to see and use (or try to use) the different tools that CENGN tried and adopted. Some of these technologies include OpenStack (extensively and with different versions), Zabbix, ELK (Elasticsearch, Logstash, & Kibana), Puppet, Juniper hardware and software, Cisco hardware, OpenDaylight, Atlassian JIRA, and others. Tons of exciting stuff to play with. Because of that, there was always something new to learn and even sometimes teach others. In conclusion, it was a very interesting 4 months (in a good way!).
Written By: Katherine ChengLi