We caught up with Priscilla, who works as a Data Center Technician at Equinix in Amsterdam and joined Equinix via our Career Transition Program.
Priscilla, tell us, how did you get involved in technology?
My mother had Hodgkins and received radiation for it. Therefore, working as a radiologist looked very interesting to me. Apart from the fact that it is a medical career, you are also very involved with the equipment. This is probably what fascinated me the most, and the reason I went into ICT. Taking computers and laptops apart, naming all the parts, and then putting them together again is one of the things I find most interesting. Especially if you can then also ensure that the equipment works perfectly and you can install the drivers.
Now we are really curious about what your position entails, could you maybe tell us a bit more about it?
I currently work as an IBX data centre technician at Equinix. In this function, I am responsible for maintaining the fibre and UTP connections, and to install new connections. In addition to this, we are also responsible for the quality and quantity of our clients' servers. For example, we perform power cycles for our clients on request, but we also expand the data storage for clients by placing extra DIMMs in their servers.
Sometimes it is possible that a client can no longer connect to a particular connection. In that case it is my task to detect the problem and to rectify it.
What does your typical day at work look like?
A day shift starts at 07:00 AM and ends at 3:30 PM. Equinix works with a ticket system. During this shift, we work with eight colleagues to solve clients' service requests. Clients submit a ticket, which is a service request with specific tasks and requests. We queue these requests. The requests vary between cross-connects, smart hands, uninstallations and migrations.
A cross-connect is the installation of a fibre or UTP connection between the client and the requested end point. A smart hand can be a simple power-cycle where power cables are unplugged for a short period, but it can also be an elaboration of an entire client-cage. It is also possible that a client ordered equipment, and asks us to fit and install it in their cage.
Around 11:30 AM, we have a half an hour break. The start time can vary per location. At my location, we are served lunch. Every month we pay a small amount in exchange for fresh sandwiches, hot snacks, fruit and drinks during lunch.
Around 3:00 PM, the colleagues working night shift arrive and the tasks are transferred. A handover is used for this. This states which tickets are due to expire and which must be done on a specific date and time so that the next shift is not faced with surprises.
Apart from training, what skills are needed for your position?
First of all, it is important to have an affinity for technology, and especially for computers and servers. If you do not have this, the knowledge will not stick and it will become difficult to perform your duties. In addition to this, Equinix is an international company and English is spoken with most clients and the service desk. It is thus very important that you are fluent in English. It's also important to have a sense of humour!
In addition to this, Equinix offers various courses after the end of your probation period to continue developing further, and to polish your existing knowledge. For example, a course about fibreglass.
What have been the biggest successes in your career?
Moving between employers due to an injury. I started with military training, but after a few weeks, I developed tibial inflammation. I had to stop the course to go for rehabilitation. This rehabilitation period lasted longer than expected, so I ended up sitting at home and looking for another job. I started looking both inside and outside the military for vacancies and eventually found Equinix. My success? That I could eventually look further into what I could do, and no longer looked at what I could not do due to my injury. Regardless of this, I will always regret not having been able to have a military career.
If someone, after reading your story, also wants to pursue a career in technology, what do they have to do?
First look within the technology sector where your interest lies and what you like. There are many different careers within the technology industry. When necessary, ask the companies if it is possible to tag along with someone for a day or a week, so that you can gain first hand experience about the company and find out whether this particular company really fits you.
It's important not to be afraid to enter a man's world! Personally, I have been welcomed with open arms, and they were specifically happy to have a woman join the team. Equinix is committed to building diverse teams.
What do you deem important to get started in technology?
First try and find out what interests you within the sector. Ask for information if you want to know more about something. If you are uncertain, try something, and if it is not for you, you can move on.
Finally, do you have any advice you can give to people who want to work in the technology industry?
Just go for it. You are free to choose your own career. Show those men that you can do what they do!