We’re starting to recruit student helpers again. They will help us with our network and data centre operations. This is like an internship, a program that we’ve run for one semester already. It is a really exciting opportunity for students as they will get hands-on learning experience working with production enterprise networks and data centres.
The students in this programme are called “Student Helpers”, although at some point we’d like to rename or promote this to a better sounding term like “Student Associates”. This isn’t the first programme that we’re running, but it is the first that seems to be working out. It’s a good thing, because sometimes what we find terribly exciting doesn’t quite match up to what students think or want.
What do our student network engineers do? Basically, they help us run our production networks and data centres. They will get to learn many things that are not taught in books, touch really cool high-end stuffs, and spice up their resumes.
These are real enterprise-scale operations, bigger than what you’d see in typical SMEs. We do many things that are “cutting-edge”. Such opportunities are usually not even available to fresh graduates, let alone undergraduate students. So this is really something quite exciting and valuable. Well, at least that’s how we hope our students will see it.
Of course the next question then is, what is there in it for us? Well, we have too many things on our hands, too little time, and not enough people. We could use with some help. Students are, admittedly, cheap labour. But we see this as a mutually beneficial relationship, and we hope to get some really good students onboard. It will cost us time and effort to run the programme of course, but hopefully we reap more benefits out of it than the overheads will cost us.
This is not the place for a total newbie to start learning the very basics of networking. So one thing we will tell potential students is that we expect them to come in with either some basic understanding of networking, or a willingness to put in the effort to quickly get up to speed. The right aptitude and great passion are important. After all, we are expecting them to do useful work for us, we aren’t really running a training school here.
I hope we will be just as successful (or more so) with our second batch.