This is an internship report in the field of IT and Security Networking. The internship took place at the College of Technological Innovation, Zayed University. It was an opportunity for me to apply theoretical lessons into real-life practice in an institutional setting. Zayed University was a perfect choice for the internship because of its highly sophisticated Computer Service Desk and the network system that serve the entire institution. I realised that it was a perfect environment for the internship.
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The internship report covers profile of the institution, job description and work plan, internship objectives, accomplishments and lessons learned. This report is concise and focused. It reflects my experiences and accomplishments during eight-week period of engagement with the institution.
Established in 1998, Zayed University is one of the three government-owned institutions of higher learning in the United Arab Emirates with over 17,000 students in various departments. The College of Technological Innovation at the University offers highly sophisticated Computer Service Desk and the network system that serve the entire institution.
The institution has experienced massive success over the past decade because of its effective management and interests in research. Consequently, it has received many honours and accreditation by regional and international bodies as it seeks to embrace research as one of its core values in improving various sectors in the region. It has state-of-the-art equipment meant to promote research in the IT sector among the student community and the faculty members.
The College of Technical Innovation is one of the most advanced departments within Zayed University. It is keen on conducting research in various departments and encouraging collaboration between students and faculty. Hence, it was the right place to conduct my internship.
Job Description and Work Plan
The internship period consisted of eight weeks with various roles categorised under level 1, 2, and 3.
In the first four weeks, I worked at level 1 with students and faculty members to gain practical skills and knowledge. Roles at the first level involved receiving problems and requests. It also involved addressing the problems and trying to find solutions for them. Key roles involved helping students to format their laptops and iPads and installing various software programmes on these devices.
In the fourth week, the department allocated a personal computer desk to me. Consequently, I could personally access the computer system without relying on another machine or individual. My supervisor explained to me that I was allocated a personal computer desk because of diligence, integrity and hard work over the previous weeks and the supervisor was evidently pleased with my work. A personal computer desk was allocated to me because of trust I had established with the department. I could directly coordinate my activities and assign calls for specific problems for both students and members of the faculty. Some of the roles I conducted included:
- Formatting laptops and iPads;
- Following the due process of installing software for Mac and Dell laptops;
- Resolving challenges of executing wireless connections;
- Responding to queries through an online platform, composing, sending and reading received e-mails; and
- Tackling hardware problems associated with their laptops and personal computers.
I spent the next three weeks at level 2. In the fifth week, I was working with both the first and second levels. The major role at the second level entailed complex activities such as constructing images for the Operating System.
Finally, at the start of the 8th week, I started working at the level 3 in the department to offer computer-networking services.
My internship objectives consisted of three parts, namely technical, business and personal objectives. To achieve these objectives, there were specific questions I intended to explore from the organisation during my internship. I believed that these objectives would play a critical role in transforming me from a student to an expert in the IT field.
I aimed to achieve some specific technical objectives from the internship at the Department of IT in Zayed University. These objectives included the following:
- To gain practical knowledge on the management of databases and servers within the institution
- To understand how to troubleshoot and address problems within the server
- To be able to detect a breach into an institution’s server and how to protect important documents
- To be able to connect various offices and individuals in order to enhance communication and document sharing
- To ensure that servers within the organization are running effectively, and to offer stakeholders access to information that is only relevant to them
The following were some of the specific business objectives that I sought to achieve from this internship.
- To be able to monitor client’s actions online within the website and how to convince them to consider our services
- To be able to negotiate business deals on behalf of an institution by the end of the internship
- To gain effective communication skills that may help me navigate the competitive market
The following are some of the specific personal objectives I needed to achieve through the internship.
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- To get employment in this institution or other related organizations by the end of the internship
- To have relevant contacts of people in this field that may help me advance my career
- To earn respect in this institution as a way of building my reputation
Questions about the company
These questions were meant to give me guidance on the approach I would take during my internship at the institution.
- For how long has the IT department of the organisation been operational?
- How important is this department to the normal running of the organisation?
- What are some of the cultural values at this organisation that employees should be aware of while at the institution?
- What are some of the specific jobs that I will be expected to do as an intern?
My major accomplishments were guided by specific objectives of the internship within eight weeks. During the first three weeks, I realised the following practical learning outcomes.
- Formatting Dell and Mac laptops
- Installing Microsoft Office package for Mac laptops
- Installing Adobe Photoshop for Dell and Mac PCs
- Scanning viruses for laptops and flash drives
- Identifying and addressing problems with wireless connections
- Recovering and restoring lost data in laptops and iPads because of virus
Although I had set one month to achieve the above objectives, I was impressed to realise them within the first three weeks of my internship.
In the fourth week, I was allocated a desk with a personal computer to facilitate my roles. I had gained a reputation as a dedicated, trustworthy and reliable intern within the Computer Service Department (CSD). I could coordinate my activities with both students and members of the faculty. Specifically, I assigned calls to faculty members and student communities whenever they have specific problems. The desk facilitated direct contact with my stakeholders and therefore it was easy to resolve their problems without necessarily consuming other faculty members’ time.
In the fifth week, I was working with both the first and second levels. From my experience, I noticed that the first level was a lot easier, but the second level entailed complex activities such as constructing images for the Operating System. It was a part of my role to work on several tasks simultaneously. One outstanding challenge involved changing the computer name of a certain laptop. To resolve this challenge, I had to use another domain to change the name. My work environment was ideal because of collaboration and supportive staff at the department.
In the sixth and seventh weeks, I started to work with level 2. The roles included creating Windows images. Although it was my first time to build an image using a computer application, I completed the task with a lot of ease, implying that I rarely needed my supervisor’s assistance. Nevertheless, I still relied on my supervisor when I encountered difficulties. In fact, the supervisor and other personnel in the department were incredibly willing to assist me.
Tasks at level 2 of the department mainly involved formatting and preparing laptops for new students. As a result, I was able to learn the essential aspects in relation to formatting laptops typified by relatively high-levels of new technologies. Toward the end of the 7th week, I was taught how to prepare a tip sheet that was important in formatting a Dell laptop.
At the beginning of the 8th week, I started working at the level 3 in the department, which was offering computer-networking services. I was able to learn when I interacted with the university’s network architect, who provided a presentation that contained networking information. After the presentation, I was exposed to practical sessions that involved types of network, types of cables, wireless connections, components of data centres, firewalls and servers.
Personnel could be called to solve problems and I could accompany them and learn new concepts in networking and maintenance. Some of the problems that I learned to fix were related to access points, wireless connections, office telephone connectivity, and printer-computer networks. In fact, I could be given a chance to assess the source of a problem and apply the best solutions that could result in improved performances of different devices.
It is imperative to note that the above problems were just a fraction of what I handled on a regular basis. Some computing challenges presented to me by the faculty and students ranged from simple to complex tasks. While some of these problems took less than ten minutes to fix, others were highly demanding, time-consuming and equally overwhelming. However, I always appreciated difficult challenges because they created excellent opportunities for me to gain additional knowledge and grow as a computer expert.
I learned new concepts about practical aspects of IT and networking. In addition, I also learned the importance of interpersonal skills and organisational culture in a workplace with diverse workforce. Specifically, lessons learned were related to problems I solved during my internship.
A real workplace environment is demanding
Within the first three weeks, I experienced several challenges related to workplace demands. For instance, there was a need to meet demands of students and faculty. In the first three weeks of the semester, the help desk was crowded with students and faculty who need help in addressing various problems with their laptops and iPads. They would always come to the help desk with various problems, and all of them expected to find a way of addressing their issues quickly because laptops and iPads were used for lectures. It took me some time to understand some of the fundamental concepts in wireless connection, but I was able to overcome this challenge.
I learned technical skills during my internship within the department. I mastered important aspects of IT such as formatting laptops, creating computer images, implementing software documentation, making tip sheets and fixing network problems among others. In the future, I think that I can improve my speed of fixing computer network issues. Moreover, skills in IT take time to build and apply effectively.
Organisational culture and interpersonal skills
Employees who aimed at producing excellent performance outcomes typified the work environment. Effective communication was used from senior executives to their juniors and vice-versa. I also learned that the department had supervisors who considered views of their juniors. In addition, knowledge transfer was evident during my internship. My supervisor and other members of the staff assisted me with difficult tasks.
The faculty members and staff were from different socio-cultural background. The organisation had created a culture of tolerance to workforce diversity, and it was difficult to see people aligning themselves based on their religion, social class, gender or any other demographical factors. People at the institution were friendly and supportive, a fact which made the work environment pleasant.
In addition, I established professional networks that would go a long way in helping me in my career in the future.
Potential problems and solutions
In the future, I would anticipate two problems. First, I think that I would experience a problem associated with implementing software documentation. A perfect solution to the issue would be to request my supervisor to explain to me the content in learning resources. Second, I would face the challenge of limited time within a training level of my internship. This would be solved by spending more time within a section of a department.
Another possible fundamental challenge I may face involves understanding the concepts in modern communication technologies such as videoconferencing and latest concepts that cybercriminals use to access databases of individuals and institutions.
My internship period at the College of Technological Innovation, Zayed University was successful and improved my skills, knowledge and practical aspects of the field.
I was able to achieve my three categories of the internship objectives as defined. For instance, I gained technical skills in IT related aspects such as troubleshooting, formatting laptops, creating computer images, implementing software documentation, making tip sheets and fixing network problems among others. In addition, I also acquired work-related skills required in a large organisation with diverse workforce. I noted that interpersonal skills resulted in effective communication and collaboration among employees. At the same time, I also realised my business objectives at the institution.
The lessons learned during my internship were critical for my future personal and career growth. For instance, I realised that workplace environments could be extremely demanding in busy organisations such as universities. In addition, developing technical skills required a work environment with supportive colleagues. Nevertheless, I still need constant learning and practice to be familiar with new technologies, applications such as videoconferencing and data protection from hackers. In addition, I also noted that IT practices and applications required greater flexibility in a supporting work environment to fix some complex challenges.
This internship was important for my career development. After years of academic work, the internship offered me a perfect opportunity to put to practice what I had learned over the years. I was able to interact with some of the successful professionals in this field who offered me guidance in my career path. The choice of Zayed University was the best because it enabled me practice, learn, and interact with the relevant people in this field of technology. In addition, the College of Technological Innovation had robust IT infrastructures, modern communication devices for both academic and administrative purposes. Still, I noted that the institution had improved technologies used to protect data. Such an institution was ideal for my internship because of valuable practical experiences and available resources.
Overall, the period I spent at the department was one of my best learning periods. I established professional networks that would go a long way in helping me in my career growth in the future. Given another chance, I would go to the department to continue learning various concepts in the IT field.