Empowering Tech Futures: Inside Deimos’ SRE Internship Success Stories

Success stories of the Deimos latest cohort from the Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) Internship Programme.

Ifunanya Okolie
Ifunanya Okolie

Administration Solutions Specialist

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At Deimos, we recently celebrated a significant milestone: the graduation of our latest cohort from the Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) Internship Programme. These graduates, five talented women from Nigeria and South Africa, embody the successful collaboration with She Code Africa (SCA), a non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering women in technology across Africa. Since our first monetary commitment in December 2020, our partnership with SCA has grown to encompass mentorship and support, fostering the comprehensive development of these Site Reliability Engineers.

This milestone marks the culmination of the interns’ rigorous training and hard work and the beginning of their promising tech careers. As these skilled individuals enter the tech world, we reflect on their journey, the impact of the programme, and our commitment to nurturing emerging talent in the tech industry.

Success Story Feature

Interns Journey and Experiences at Deimos:

Deimos SRE Interns: Mary Mbaoma, Kene Ojiteli, Favour Daniel, and Siphokazi Dolo

Throughout the programme, our interns embarked on personal and professional growth, navigating challenging projects and enhancing their technical skills, thereby developing a problem-solving mindset. These experiences were crucial in helping them build confidence and practical skills in real-world scenarios. We asked some of our interns the following questions:

What motivated you to join the Deimos SRE Internship Programme?

Kenechukwu Ojiteli: As someone passionate about self-development, I was eager to develop my skills and gain practical experience by working on various projects and also to be mentored by experienced Site Reliability Engineers.

Mary Mbaoma: I joined the Deimos SRE Internship programme because of my interest in learning the intricacies of DevOps and an opportunity to work alongside professionals in the field.

Siphokazi Dolo: I felt motivated to join the Deimos internship programme because I knew it would be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me to gain hands-on experience and get to work on real-world projects. I realised it would come with the opportunity to learn from industry professionals.

Can you describe a project or task you worked on that you found particularly challenging or rewarding?

Mary Mbaoma: My first interaction with monitoring tools was quite challenging, as it was my first time using tools like Grafana and Prometheus. The task involved containerising a form that had a database and also implementing monitoring. I’m grateful for the support from Deimos engineers, which was essential in guiding me successfully to deliver the task.

Kenechukwu Ojiteli: Some projects I found challenging yet rewarding were the CI/CD and Observability projects. They involved working with new tools (e.g. dev-containers, argocd, tekton, grafana-agent, etc.). Although I had to familiarise myself with these concepts, within a short period, the support and knowledge-sharing among colleagues and copilots were invaluable. Completing these projects felt incredibly fulfilling.

Siphokazi Dolo: The first and the last projects I tackled were both incredibly challenging and rewarding at the same time. They brought to mind a famous quote by Nelson Mandela: ‘It always seems impossible until it is done.’ This quote resonated deeply with my experience of these projects. At the outset, I had little to no knowledge about the concepts involved or what the outcome of the projects was supposed to look like.

However, once I completed a task or a project, I often found myself asking in disbelief, ‘Is this it? Is this all there is to it? Aha?’ The complexity of the tasks, which initially seemed daunting, turned out to be much simpler once everything was completed.

This experience reminded me that tasks or concepts which initially appear complex can become much more manageable once you break them down. I learnt that “by diving deep with the right mindset, support, and determination, I am guaranteed to achieve my goal.”

How has the internship experience influenced your career aspirations or approach to tech?

Favour Daniel:  The internship programme was immensely valuable to me. Being exposed to new technologies, alongside the willingness to learn and support from my managers, significantly boosted my confidence and readiness. Every aspect, from the managers and course modules to the copilots and the challenges I faced, contributed significantly to my development, helping me become a better engineer.

Siphokazi Dolo: The internship has given me the confidence to put myself there. It has taught me that I don’t always have to know everything to get started or go after something. The exposure has helped me find my niche in tech, painting a clearer picture of Cloud Engineering, DevOps, and SRE.

Kenechukwu Ojiteli: I got the opportunity to work on projects that helped develop my skills and broaden my knowledge of Kubernetes and Observability. These are concepts I am currently diving deeper into. The internship has also given me a sense of adaptability, a skill I think is essential in the rapidly changing tech industry. I look forward to using the skills I gained from this internship to solve real-world problems.

Mary Mbaoma: The internship has been an eye-opener, exposing me to the nitty gritty of SRE. I had the opportunity to work on client projects, with all my tasks tailored to mirror real-world problems. These experiences have helped me have a better approach to work and offered me clarity on my career aspirations.

What skills have you developed during your internship that are most valuable?

Favour Daniel: I learnt the importance of asking for help and asking questions. When facing challenges, I learnt that reaching out for assistance rather than tirelessly struggling with something that is not working can be very beneficial. Collaborating with more experienced colleagues often leads to quicker and more effective solutions.

Kenechukwu Ojiteli: Aside from SRE concepts, I’ve developed collaborative, better communication, and public speaking skills. I used to work solo and stammer a lot, but the internship taught me the essence of teamwork and confidence when presenting my project in front of an audience.

Mary Mbaoma: I improved my technical skills, such as containerisation, monitoring, and container orchestration. My people skills, like effective communication and teamwork, have also significantly improved.

Siphokazi Dolo: The internship has helped me develop better time management skills, especially when working on tasks and projects. I have also noticed a gradual improvement over time in my workflow. I have identified routines that work for me to get the most optimum output. As the first child of my parents, I was used to being reserved and getting around things by doing them myself without asking for help. I am proud to say that I have learned to put myself out there more without feeling ashamed when asking for help from others. I have learned the value of working together to achieve a common goal and how to work effectively as a team.

How would you describe the community and culture at Deimos during your internship?

Mary Mbaoma: Deimos encourages continuous learning and positive criticism, and everyone is willing to help, be it explaining concepts or debugging. It’s refreshing and empowering, as I felt encouraged to bring my whole self to work daily.

Siphokazi Dolo: Deimos is very progressive, forward-thinking, and inclusive from the top down. The culture of assigning mentors creates a supportive environment and gives a sense of community. I like that everyone works hard and vibes too. I especially like that the team ensures we understand the objective and goal and that nobody feels left behind. The synergy, support, regular knowledge-sharing sessions and being surrounded by people who are always upskilling are incredibly motivating.

Kenechukwu Ojiteli: Deimos is a place with good people and a great culture with work-life balance. It is also a place to grow career-wise and learn.

Transition from Intern to Full-Time SRE

Dooshima Gbamwuan

A significant highlight of the 2023/2024 programme was the transition of one of our interns, Elizabeth Dooshima Gbamwuan, to a full-time role at Deimos, underscoring the programme’s effectiveness in identifying and nurturing talent. We sought insights from Dooshima to understand the programme’s impact on her experience. 

How do you feel your experience as an intern prepared you for a full-time role at Deimos?

I transitioned from Data Science to Site Reliability Engineering through the She Code Africa Cloud School Programme sponsored by Deimos. One of the things that helped me scale is that the internship had a well-tailored and beginner-friendly curriculum, grouped into modules, and each module built on the previous module, starting from basic/ fundamental Linux commands to more complex and advanced technologies like managed infrastructure.

I also had the opportunity to get my hands dirty by working on different projects and presenting them to the team, as well as receiving feedback, which was very important.

Getting exposed to these new technologies helped me hit the ground running as I transitioned into a full-time role at Deimos. The modules covered everything a beginner needs to get hands-on experience as an SRE, which prepared me comprehensively for a full-time role.’

What were some key learnings from your internship that you now apply in your current role?

The internship was a wholesome experience, as the programme emphasised not just technical skills but also soft skills. Beyond the technical skills, the soft skills I acquired during the internship have been instrumental in my career development here at Deimos. 

The well-structured curriculum proved to be a compass, guiding me through the intricacies of SRE. This comprehensive approach covered key concepts and facets, empowering me with a robust foundation that seamlessly translates into my current role. 

Getting exposed to almost all the technologies I learnt during the internship for the first time, I found technologies such as Linux, Kubernetes, CI/CD, effective communication, polished presentation, teamwork and collaboration, to mention but a few, very vital in my current role at Deimos.

I also learnt not just to get the job done but also to surpass expectations; this philosophy and the enriching learning environment instilled in me a drive to consistently over-deliver and push the boundaries of excellence.’

How was the transition from being an intern to a full-time Martian?

The transition was remarkably smooth, thanks to the unwavering support from my copilots and manager. Their guidance played a pivotal role in navigating this shift seamlessly. Fortunately, I did not encounter significant challenges or surprises during the transition, as the supportive environment and mentorship provided a solid foundation for a successful integration into my new role.’

What advice would you give to future interns who aspire to join Deimos in a more permanent capacity?

My advice is what my manager Adrian usually says: ‘push yourself beyond your limits and always ask questions.’ At Deimos, I learnt there is no wrong question.’

Looking back, what aspect of the internship programme do you find most valuable now that you are a full-time Martian?

The aspect I find most valuable, especially now as a full-time Martian, is the exceptional work culture at Deimos. The emphasis on going above and beyond in delivering excellence has become a guiding principle for me.

During my internship, I learnt that merely completing tasks wasn’t sufficient. At Deimos, there was a constant emphasis on surpassing expectations, pushing boundaries, and over-delivering. This mindset has significantly influenced my approach as a full-time Martian. I am conscious of getting my tasks done and consistently striving to go above and beyond, ensuring that my deliverables are satisfactory, excellent and outstanding. 

The culture instilled during my internship inspires and drives my commitment to excellence in all aspects of my work as a full-time team member at Deimos.’

We have explored our graduating interns’ personal stories and experiences, uncovering the layers of learning, challenges, and triumphs. But the journey does not end here. In the next part, we will explore the broader impact of the SRE Internship Programme, including insights from our SRE director and managers, with a closer look at the mentorship and skill development that sets Deimos apart. Read the Deimos SRE Internship Success Stories: Mentorship and Managers Insights, where we delve deeper into the experiences and future aspirations shaped by this unique programme.


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