In 2019, Aviat Networks took 7 interns through Summer of Tech. We chatted to three of them, Emma Tonks, Zac Durant and Shivaash Chand, about their internship experience at Aviat.
How did you find the Summer of Tech process?
Zac: I enjoyed the Summer of Tech process! I went to the Meet & Greet and some of the private events that some of the companies were hosting, and found these very valuable.
Emma: I went to some of the bootcamps, like the alumni one to get a feel for what the programme was about. I also went to some of the smaller technical events which were cool. They gave me a good insight into different skill sets, but it was mainly the Meet & Greet that was important for me. It was pretty nerve wracking, but also a really cool experience being able to interact properly, human to human, with people who are doing what you dream about doing. I thought that was pretty amazing!
I felt more involved in the recruiting process doing Summer of Tech, and I felt that I knew what was going on more. If you apply somewhere else for a job or internship, you don’t really hear anything until the decision is almost made. With Summer of Tech you know what’s actually going on every step of the way.
Shivaash: I went to the Meet & Greet! The process was pretty straightforward. I found the speed interviews pretty interesting compared to the normal 30-40 minute interviews you usually go through. This was my first Meet & Greet, and the nerves were definitely there once I stepped inside seeing these big gun employers all in the same area! Once you start talking to one or two companies and you start getting used to it, you kind of settle in and become more confident with everything.
Emma Tonks, Aviat intern
What attracted you to the Aviat roles in particular?
Zac: I was really drawn to Aviat in particular because it was one of the only companies that was doing anything but web in Wellington!
Emma: I do an electronics degree so Aviat was definitely the best choice for me. Aviat does a lot of embedded C, so a lot of the networking stuff they do is directly applicable to the hardware stuff I learn about at uni. It was really cool to get the in-between of electronics and software, so that for me was a big reason to choose them.
Shivaash: It was something a bit different compared to most typical tech companies. I thought I’d get a more unique experience at Aviat compared to the other companies. I had a previous internship at Aviat, so I thought it would be cool to have experience working in a different department with a different product, to give me a new perspective of the company.
What was the culture at Aviat like?
Zac: It was really cool! There were plenty of interns, so there was a nice group feeling. We would always have lunch together and things like that. Also, because we were spread out across the Scrum teams, we got to integrate a lot with the rest of the company so it wasn’t just like ‘the interns are over there playing’ – we actually got put in teams with proper engineers that we got to work with.
Emma: There were a lot of interns there, but there were also a lot of past interns working at Aviat that had been hired on after their internships so we found it really easy to talk with them and get an idea of the culture of Aviat. It was also made really clear to us that yes, they wanted us to work hard but it’s not 100% work all the time. They really pushed the work-life balance, and they had loads of clubs so we could have fun at work. They had a tea club, cake club, football – they really tried to get us involved in everything. We had our senior mentors who helped us out work-wise, but we also got to know everyone in a more social capacity as well.
Shivaash: Since there was a pretty decent amount of us, we’d always have people to hang out with during lunchtimes. There were also heaps of activities where we were able to meet up with both our fellow interns and other staff, whether it was football or table tennis. Aviat has quite a young team as well, which made the transition a bit easier. The activities definitely made it easier to get comfortable with everyone – you’d see one of the top dogs of the company who you wouldn’t normally approach in his office and then the next minute you’re playing football with him. I think that’s really cool!
Some of the Aviat interns at their football game
How did you guys find the transition from uni to work?
Zac: I feel like I’ve always preferred industry work to uni work. In my opinion, you spend more time solving problems and learning at work. At Aviat, I felt like it would be 9 hours of learning and then 1 hour of writing, when uni work can sometimes feel like the opposite.
Emma: It was good because for the first week of the internship [Aviat] did an introduction which was super helpful. Obviously we have the basic skills, but Aviat’s whole setup is quite different to what we’ve worked on at uni. They took the time to really teach us their system and their process, which was good. In terms of workload, it was really cool the amount of trust that got put in us. We didn’t just get put to the side and given intern projects, we did stuff that actually went into the product whether it be small debugs or actual big systems. They trusted us a lot which was really cool.
Shivaash: Aviat made the transition super easy. It wasn’t just us showing up on day one and them chucking us in the deep end, they eased us into it and guided us along the process. Everyone was there to help, and willing to answer any questions and check up on us. It wasn’t just work on the side of the other staff, it was really cool to have work that was actually integrated with the time. I definitely thought they made the transition super easy.
Shivaash Chand, Aviat intern
What are the next steps for you guys?
Zac: I managed to land an internship overseas this year, so hopefully if the Trans-Tasman bubble is a thing by then that will go ahead! Otherwise, I will be back to Meet & Greet again this year!
Emma: I’ve signed up for Meet & Greet again! So hopefully that all goes well again, and I get another internship through Summer of Tech, otherwise I’ll be looking for full time work as this is my last year of uni.
Shivaash: It’s my final year, so I’m looking forward to graduate now. Just grinding through the last year of uni and looking at my next steps!