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NetApp Internship A Rewarding Experience

October 01, 2010

Every year, Fortune Magazine publishes a list of 100 best companies to work for. For eight consecutive years, NetApp has placed in the top 50 and, in 2009, held the coveted No. 1 spot. After interning with NetApp for the summer, INI student Abhinaya Gopinath now knows what makes the data management company such a great place to work.

Gopinath, a student in the Master of Science in Information Security Technology and Management (MSISTM) program, worked at NetApp's Pittsburgh location as a Software Engineering Intern for the Platform Software/Firmware team, which develops NetApp's underlying core system management module.

Working on embedded firmware, Gopinath investigated how to reduce the power consumption of system fans and created two new algorithms that manage fan operations and significantly save power, which NetApp plans to integrate into future products. To do so, Gopinath used the concepts she learned in her computer systems, operating systems and economics courses at the INI.

"I would definitely recommend doing these types of courses for students interested in a career in systems," Gopinath said. "The knowledge I gained was very helpful when I was interviewing with companies and helped me present my project to management with confidence."

Outside of her day-to-day tasks, Gopinath took advantage of NetApp's various recreational and informational opportunities for interns, such as a trip to Cedar Point, networking events and a speaker series. Additionally, Gopinath experienced first-hand NetApp's commitment to its employees, customers and community. She joined her teammates for a day at the Pittsburgh Food Bank sorting and packing food and also  joined NetApp's "Women at PTC" (Pittsburgh Technology Council) group.

"I was delighted to find that NetApp had a group similar to Women@INI here at Carnegie Mellon," Gopinath said. "We met regularly and held discussions on various technological and social issues. It was a great way to network with women in other tech companies."

For Gopinath, it was easy to go to work every day with a smile. Not only did she contribute to an important project where her efforts were valued, but she was part of a corporate culture that rewards lifelong learning, creativity and hard work.

"There are so many aspects about NetApp that make you enthusiastic to get back to work in the morning," Gopinath said.

As Gopinath pursues her final year at the INI, she hopes to apply the valuable lessons she learned on the job to her school work, such as planning project timelines with room for contingency. An overall challenging and rewarding experience, Gopinath's summer at NetApp confirmed her career goals of working in computer systems upon graduation in May 2011.