Kaushal Dubey and his journey at Aruba Networks

How should I start applying for Internship?
What is the right time?
Where should I start with?

Many questions come to one's mind when it comes to securing an internship. Talking about my own experience, I started applying for internships around October end. My initial approach was through Indeed, Glassdoor and many websites via Google. I just kept on applying for all the positions that I felt I would be a good fit for. From October to December, I constantly kept on applying and updating my LinkedIn profile but did not hear back from anyone. Assuming it’s too early to hear back from them, I thought of waiting and continued applying.

Later in January, I started getting results, they were mostly automated reject messages from most of the companies I had applied previously. I felt bad initially but later realized that I must be doing something wrong. I thought of changing my approach. Then starting from February, I started networking with people on LinkedIn. One funny thing about LinkedIn: don't expect all the recruiters to reply to your messages but there are few who do reply. So, I started messaging people on LinkedIn and whoever replied, I started networking with them. I activated my LinkedIn premium account around March end and set a target to expand my network as much as possible during this 1 month period of free membership.

The way LinkedIn works is, if you message 50 people, 4-5 of them would reply to your message, but that is what counts. Finding those 4-5 people opens up minimum 4-5 job opportunities for you and even more since one recruiter can forward your resume to anyone else from their contact.

So, to cut the long story short, IT'S ALL ABOUT NETWORKING!!!!

I am not saying that Indeed, Glassdoor and other such job websites are bad but its more commonplace. It is more likely for 2 people to apply for same job on such websites but it’s rare for both to talk to the same recruiter on LinkedIn and even if they did there is always a possibility of your resume being forwarded to someone else. So, that's my journey of the internship search process. I would advise everyone to start building your own network because ultimately, it’s all about finding right person at the right time.

Finally, on April 20th I got an Internship offer from Aruba.
Internship Overview:
Internships are offered throughout most departments at Aruba, and each intern is given their own tasks or long-term project to complete. High tech companies like Aruba tend to have mostly engineering interns, and this is true of Aruba’s intern group this summer – almost 75% of the current interns work for the engineering teams. There are also interns in IT, Web Development, Marketing, Finance and Sales Operations.

We work 40 hours per week, for twelve weeks. It’s a full-time job in every way. You must be flexible, and ready to take on whatever your manager or your mentor needs from you. Most of us are given one main project to work on throughout the internship, but we are also given smaller tasks by people on our team, so we’re kept busy throughout the day.

It’s all about competition:
Internships in the high-tech industry are known for being competitive which holds true for Aruba. I don’t think you’re going to be able to lie your way through. You can’t fake it till you make it at Aruba. You must be passionate about what you’re doing. You’re going to learn a lot, but you should start out with enough knowledge just to stay afloat.

The higher-level internships taken by master’s students get even more intense. Everything depends on your level of experience once you’re in a master’s program. If you finished your undergrad and went directly into your masters, the competition is very high, and you’ll have to apply for hundreds of jobs but that doesn’t mean you won’t get an internship; it’s all about hard work, determination and lot of patience. However, if you have worked beforehand, you have a chance to stand out. GPA helps, but being passionate and working hard matters most.

So, what is Aruba looking for?
I think they’re looking for intelligence, but more importantly enthusiasm. In the end, you need to be enthusiastic about your work. School doesn’t prepare you for what it’s really like in an engineering job, so you learn a lot in the internship. You just need the passion to learn.
Being a part of Silicon Valley:
A major aspect of interning at Aruba is the fact that it is in the famed Silicon Valley. Everyone wants to intern in Silicon Valley. So, what’s it like once you’re there? Everybody is extremely smart here. Everyone in the engineering department has a master’s degree but there are also few undergraduate interns. Talking about the batch strength for interns, this year we had 41 interns at Aruba working in different departments out of which majority of the interns were from Purdue University and NCSU since Aruba does its major recruitment from these two universities and then there were few interns from other universities like UTD, University of Florida and of course UMCP.

No Pain, No Gain:
From food truck parties to the company badminton team, there’s always something fun going on at the campus. And although the interns have some high-pressure jobs, they always feel comfortable within the office, whether it is about solving general queries or if they need extra help on their newest project. Aruba has a social company culture. I haven’t done any corporate work previously, but from what I’ve noticed, other places are very uptight and serious. Here it’s a lot more casual, we can wear what we want, and people are very accommodating to your needs. If you ever need time off or anything like that, people are very flexible and understanding. Each intern is given a manager and a mentor to work with, which gives them an outlet for any questions or issues that may come up.
With great power comes great responsibilities. So how much responsibility do the summer interns really have? Talking about my personal experience during the internship, I was working on 802.11ad Wi-Fi Standard technology (60GHz) and performed Rate v/s Range test using IxChariot console to measure Network bandwidth in different environment to study this new Wi-Fi standard. Also, I analyzed throughput on different 60GHz channels and observed variation in throughput at the band edge channel. Simulated test results for different client and AP orientation and found out the best client and AP orientation. Moreover, I also studied the effect of AP tilting on throughput and observed a trade-off between throughput and range. Developed a test plan to perform both LOS and NLOS testing and observe sensitivity of 60GHz especially for NLOS. Conducted spatial reuse for 60GHz and observed variation in throughput due to different AP/Client orientations. Performed multi-client density test and observed variation in throughput with increase in number of clients.

The intern lifestyle:
Of course, life as an Aruba intern it isn’t all work. The intern program is a team that helps all the students to make the most out of their time at the company – which means they are always available to share advice, solve problem, and give out snacks. Also, there is a strong focus within the program of giving the interns time to hang out together and relax. Weekly intern events give the group a chance to eat breakfast together, watch a movie during the day, go bowling after work, or even take a day trip to the Levi's Stadium or the ALCATRAZ island which is exactly what we did this time.

Future opportunities:
The internship program is still growing and improving so I’d like to come back and be an intern again. So, there you have it. Interns at Aruba are given big responsibilities, lots of free food, and for many of them, the hope to return to the company permanently.

About the Author: Kaushal Dubey is a second year ENTS graduate student at University of Maryland, who was a ‎Wireless CTO Lab Intern at Aruba Networks, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.