This is the first in a series of posts from CommScope interns. The series will share experiences and learnings from students as they apply classroom learnings to real-world challenges in the workplace.
I came to the University of Maryland as a Graduate student in the Fall of 2016 deciding to spend my first American winter on campus. The university felt nearly empty, not unlike a ghost town. On a quest for warmth and motivation I began researching and applying for summer internships in the field of wireless communication/RF as I had recently completed my first semester in the Master's in Telecommunications (ENTS) program. On a Tuesday morning in January, I received a call from Mark Valadez, a recruiter at CommScope; it still gives me great joy to go back and reread his first email as it was one of those triggers of hope that paved way for the opportunity that followed.
This internship would enable me to work at the physical layer of a small cell product. The internship was extended to me after two rounds of technical interviews by two senior software engineers at CommScope. I was interviewed about my past work experience, my understanding of cellular protocols and my ability to solve challenging problems in C and C++ programming.
The CommScope university relations team is very professional and they ensure that your questions are effectively and promptly responded to.
Following an efficient onboarding process, I was assigned to the CommScope, Chelmsford facility in Massachusetts. The group focuses on the development OneCell™, a C-RAN-based, award-winning small cell solution.
It takes a developer to appreciate the effort and time invested in perfecting a product so that the end user faces the bare minimum challenge in operating the interface. That is a key differentiator in today’s market and CommScope has certainly attained that respect with their flawless and innovative design that overcomes the need for cell boundaries and has created the ‘one cell’ post deployment.
To learn more about this deployment, please click on the following link: https://youtu.be/vEsHetvkOVA
During my internship working in high-end engineering and next-generation technology, my humble experience as an intern can perhaps be categorized under the commonly accepted phases of the learning process: Cognitive, Associative and Autonomous.
As an intern, you’re consumed with multiple thoughts and uncertainties. After a warm welcome, office tour and completion of the HR formalities, I was assigned my desk – my work abode for the next 12 weeks. Equipped with a personal white board, blank and ready for action, I didn’t take long to acclimate to my surroundings.
In the Cognitive phase, you need to figure out objectives through interaction with co-workers. My manger provided the padding for this phase by empathically listening to my expectations for the internship and tailoring it to what he had planned for me. You know you are in the right hands when you do not feel restrained, but feel motivated to dive in.
First day enthusiasm
I had three projects to work on and a respective mentor for each during my 12 weeks with CommScope.
This was a great way to provide a strong understanding of the product in a brief time frame. On my first day, I visited the product development lab and it left me thinking there is nothing as beautiful as figuring out the internal workings of a complicated yet well thought out product. I started my work on IEEE1588 protocol system performance analysis, automated the tests with shell scrips, and did the simulation using Spirent’s tool!