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My First Month as Six Feet Up's Intern

written by jmascoe on Tuesday May 10, 2011

I’ve been working here at Six Feet Up for about a month now, which is a little different from what I had originally planned on doing this semester. I’m a college junior from DePauw University majoring in computer science and minoring in Japanese. For the first two months of this semester, I was studying abroad in Japan at Kansai Gaidai University near Osaka. I had planned on being there the entire semester. Then, Japan got hit by the earthquake and tsunami, which resulted in the nuclear power plant melting down. Because Osaka was so far away from where everything had happened, I felt relatively safe where I was. As things progressed however, I decided it would be safest and a relief to my family to come home a few months early. Luckily for me, Six Feet Up was kind enough to give me a paid internship until August when the next school year starts.

Jordan at workWhen I first came in for work, I was expecting to be the inexperienced intern who is always in the way, since my computer experience was limited to Java, a little Linux command-line syntax, and what networking I learned before college. This was not the case however. I was honestly surprised at how much Jim Glenn and Lars Noldan (the two people who tell me what to do) were interested in training me. Instead of being in the way, I’ve felt like I’ve become a part of the team. Whenever something is new to me, Lars and/ or Jim are always willing to go into detailed explanations on how to do it/what it does. For example, Six Feet Up just completed our third FedEx Day, which is an event that allows employees to have 24 hours to complete any project that they choose, as long as it benefits the company. I learned a ton during my team's project. I had never messed with HTML when I was younger, but I got a very good exposure to it along with svn and Pyramid.

Another project that I gained experience from was prototyping a software package called Rsnapshot (which is a program that uses hard links in order to make multiple backups of files in a space efficient way). This was an on-my-own project where I found out how to set up and run Rsnapshot and then did a training session for my team on how we could use this software to help improve our infrastructure. This gave me valuable knowledge on running trainings as well as how to work with FreeBSD and unfamiliar software.

The one thing I felt that I was able to contribute to Six Feet Up was my work with our office network. We have a network closet here with patch panels and switches and all the desktops' wiring ends up. It had grown organically over the past 10 years or so and could use some cleaning up. In addition to this, there were several Ethernet ports throughout the office that where not hooked up. I was able to hook all the ports up and make a diagram of the office with all the Ethernet ports labeled on it. Then finally, when no one was in the office, I unplugged everything in the network closet, made new (and shorter) CAT5 cables, and plugged them into the network closet. The closet is now perfectly clean, organized, and OCD safe.

The atmosphere here is pretty awesome as well. There is almost always some light music in the background (which from what I understand actually makes it easier to concentrate, since everything isn’t dead silent except for typing keyboards) and people will a lot of the time strike up conversations that are great for mental breaks. I especially like the hour system that they use. The goal is to get 40 hours of work in a week, but the good thing is they give you the flexibility to put in these hours around other personal items that might arise.

All in all, working at Six Feet Up for the last month has been a more profitable experience educationally than being in Japan.  I am being trained in things that I had never known about in college, which will be wonderful on my resume. It is actually one of my goals to pass the FreeBSD Associate certification by August.  This past month has been a lot of fun and very educational. I hope the next 4 months can be as good!

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