Meet the Aruba Interns: Jack Thias

By Sylvia Ruiz, University HR Programs Manager
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In this interview, Sylvia Ruiz, Aruba’s university and internship program manager, sat down with Jack Thias, senior in the computer science and engineering science programs at the University of the Pacific. Jake has been working since January 2018 in the HPE Aruba office in Roseville, CA. He shares what he loves about his development projects and offers some insights on the perks of intern life.

Jack Thias Aruba InternSylvia Ruiz: Why did you choose the internship at Aruba?
Jack Thias: Among the opportunities I considered, this internship offered the most hands-on, real engineering experience.  Others were offering tasks such as performance testing, but I wanted to do hands-on application development, which is definitely what I got.

Sylvia: What are your key tasks?
Jack: I’m in a long-term internship (CO-OP) as a software engineer in the Roseville branch working in the HPE Aruba software lab. Currently, I’m working on building mobile apps used for configuring network devices and switches. My project has been in development for about a year. When I joined the team, it was undergoing a massive rewrite. We are working on a pivot of the application, and we’ve completed quite a bit of the code in the time I’ve been here.

Sylvia: How did you prepare for your internship?
Jack: I was given a list of all the different projects that I might have. I found out the specific project about a week before I started. So my biggest prep was knowing how to use the general developer tools and understanding of version control, which is very important.

Sylvia: How would you describe your office environment and the overall culture?
Jack: It’s really nice being in Roseville. It’s not a huge city, but being so close to Sacramento, you get all the amenities of an urban environment. For the office environment, while I wouldn’t describe it as very relaxed, the day-to-day feeling is definitely along those lines. We’re not forced to pull any crazy hours, and everyone is friendly. Interns have lots of perks. Every week, we get bagels on Tuesday morning and pizza for Thursday lunch.  As summer ramps up, we have some fun intern events scheduled, including go-kart racing and laser tag competition. The company is paying for those, which is great.

Sylvia: Who has been your most inspiring mentor?
Jack: The two full-time engineers that I started with gave me great guidance from day one. They helped me ramp up quickly. While they provide useful feedback on the app, I have plenty of autonomy in development. They clearly describe what needs to be done and what approach to take, but only from big terms. And if I need help, I can get it from them.

Sylvia: What have you enjoyed most from working at Aruba?
Jack: I really like how much freedom I am given on development. The project directors give the general direction, but there are a lot of in-between-the-lines areas where I can make my own choices. I’ve heard that at other companies, internships are just railroaded projects, where you just write scripts, that is it. But the position here is very different, and exactly what I want to be doing.

Sylvia: What tips would you provide to future students applying for Aruba internships?
Jack: Do research on the company and make sure you really understand what it does. And it is important to have a good foundation of technical skills.

Sylvia: What is your most interesting office experience so far?
Jack: In the very first month I was working here, I remember giving a demo of the app--by myself--to a VP of the company. I was a bit nervous, but It went very well. He was very enthusiastic about the project, and he gave me very useful feedback.

Sylvia: What is your ideal future career path?
Jack: I really enjoy what I am doing now. I may try lower-level development, working closer with firmware and hardware.

Sylvia: What technology do you find the most fascinating?
Jack: Artificial intelligence is the most exciting technology at the moment. I find it interesting how quickly it is moving.

Sylvia: What is the one thing most people don’t know about you?
Jack: I like theater and singing. I was doing theater for years in high school, and having an internship here offered me a good way to get back into that, as I performed in a musical at a local community theater. It was nice to get back into that creative space.

Sylvia: What is your current favorite meme/GIF?
Jack: There is a wall of Aruba-related memes a couple of desks away from me. My favorite is the car salesman meme. When several of the interns started, they didn’t know where to put them in the office, so they put them all in a conference room together. Luckily, it was a big conference room.