My internship journey: great personal growth

Growing up, I absolutely loved Iron Man. To me, rather than a superhero who happened to be an engineer, he was a superhero because he was an engineer. In the same way that he protected the world with technology and innovation, I knew as a child that I wanted to make a difference in the world by working to create and revolutionize technology. 

I attended the Technological Institute of Costa Rica as a Computer Engineering major, and I dedicated myself to pursuing the dream that first lit a spark within me so many years ago. Then, this January, I became even closer to becoming my own Iron Man when I joined Wind River as a DevOps Engineer. I feel very fortunate for the experience to work at this great company. I am very grateful for having the opportunity to grow here.

Planting the seed
I first learned of Wind River in university, from representatives who would come to my school to talk about the company and their opportunities. Coupled with the positive reviews from my peers and professors who worked there, hearing about their impact in multiple sectors of technology ranging from cloud technologies to embedded systems sparked my interest in working for Wind River. 

When I received a job offer, I was ecstatic, and the reality of working here has met and exceeded all of my expectations. This journey has been characterized by valuable experiences, learning, and growth — not only as a professional, but also a person. Years later, I can finally confirm what the Wind River representatives told us: Wind River is a great place to work. 

My experience at Wind River
Coming into this internship I was expecting to learn 1 or 2 tools only. Little did I know a whole wave of tools was going to be placed on my lap. Docker, GitLab, PostgreSQL, Helm, Jenkins. I know this is a lot but there are more so stick with me, Terraform, Lens, Vault, MinIO, Patroni, Redis, JFrog, ArangoDB, Harbor, Jira, Confluence; basically I was exposed to a lot. 

While these tools are great and all, I had the opportunity to see how they all work in harmony. Although tools are very useful, it is the people who operate them that make them effective. TEAMWORK! TEAMWORK! TEAMWORK! I always knew teamwork was important but this was really emphasized for me watching all the team members work together to get tasks done.

Since I started working at Wind River, one of the main tasks that the team has developed is the modularization and automation of different tools such as MinIO, Redis, Patroni, GitLab. For this, the team assigned tasks to the different members to deal with certain tools in particular. However, the team was in contact at all times to verify that everything was being carried out according to the plan and that everything flowed correctly. Follow-up meetings were constantly held and in case someone had a block, everyone helped.

While teamwork is great, I learned that it all stems from great planning. The team implemented planning phases, which had the whole team's contribution. Everyone on the team had a key role to play, there was a manager, architect, scrum masters, product owner, developers, QA, etc. It was kind of like a ship’s crew, where everyone had an important role to play, like the captain, or the navigators, or the people steering the boat. Everyone worked in harmony with the same goal in mind to reach a final destination. 

The phenomenal planning processes with the team gave me a sense of security that everything was under control and that unforeseen circumstances could be dealt with. Apart from that, they provided great plans and tasks for the interns, which I appreciate a lot because it showed that I was a valued member of the team. 

Overall, the most enjoyable aspect of working at Wind River was its diversity. It was almost as if I traveled the globe while working. Meeting people who lived in the U.S, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, etc. brought different cultures and perspectives, which made my time working more interesting. Not only being able to talk to them about labor issues but also talking to them as friends, sharing anecdotes; I really valued that cultural exchange.

3 internships in 1
During my internship I had the opportunity to be in 3 teams instead of just one as usually happens in a traditional internship. The following diagram shows these 3 teams in which I worked and the tasks carried out by each of them:

Figure 1

These were the three different teams I worked with in my internship at Wind River. My manager employed a unique strategy that allowed me to gain exposure to multiple teams over the span of a single internship, providing not only depth but also breadth. 

During my first month, I worked with the Notifications team and completed the onboarding and learning required to understand the team’s ongoing projects. After that, I worked primarily on the Data team, where I worked on tasks like creating resource instances with Terraform and automating them with Jenkins. Finally, I researched and utilized a tool called Artifactory on the Gallery 3P tools team. 
Even though each of these teams have distinct responsibilities, ultimately they all work together to create products for Wind River, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to work on all of them over the course of my internship. This allowed me to better understand how these different parts interacted with each other to make a whole, and I enjoyed making connections between tools and concepts I learned from different teams. 

Internships are usually focused on specific tasks without much regard for the bigger picture, so I appreciated the added perspective that gave me a clearer view of the company’s goal. This way, I also felt like I was making a difference and that my work mattered.

Beyond the Technical Side
Since I was a DevOps engineer intern, you'd probably think all I do is a whole bunch of technical stuff like creating pipelines, etc. I expected that as well coming into it, but boy was I wrong! Early in the internship, my manager assigned me two books to read, a new and different task.

Figure 2

The two books were “Impact Players” and “Getting Things Done,” which taught me invaluable lessons related to organizational and efficiency practices. I incorporated these practices into habits and I could see myself incorporating them into both my work and lifestyle.  For example, one of the things I learned from the Impact Players book is that something that really makes you a valuable person in any field of life is that we should not limit ourselves to just doing what we have to do, we must go beyond and look for how to help other people. In my case, if I finished an assignment at work, I would look for how to help with other tasks and not stay without doing anything. From the book Getting things done, I learned to be a more organized person. Since then I try to have lists of tasks to do, classified by priority and estimated time required to complete them.

Shoutout to my manager who not only had my professional growth in mind but my personal growth as well. I have grown so much more as an individual than I would have if my head were stuck only on the technical side. 

Can you imagine working remotely, having no contact with your co-workers? It gets lonely and you feel disconnected. “Happy hour” times helped me overcome these feelings. “Happy hour” is a  time when the team sets aside their work and gathers to play some fun virtual games. Although it was still online with no physical contact, it still helped me learn more about my co-workers' personalities.

Over the course of this internship, I’ve learned and grown a lot as a developer and person. In my time here, I’ve met so many amazing people from all over the world, and this journey truly would not have been so rewarding without their support and collaboration. Wind River has been a wonderful experience in all regards, and I feel extremely fortunate to have worked here. To my younger self, I hope you would be proud of how far we’ve come, and I’d like to think that maybe you’d even think that I’m almost as cool as Iron Man.

On a separate note: Join Wind River on Thursday December 14 at 8:00 am PT where my colleague Raj Sahu will co-present the webinar Unlocking the Power of Containers: What You Need to Know Today. You can register here.


About the author


Gabriel Brenes Vega is a DevOps Engineer at Wind River