This week, we celebrate National Engineers Week with some of those who bring IT, our engineers. We asked four coworkers about their roles at CDW and tips to share with aspiring engineers. Meet Sarita, Yayati, Stefanie and Jeffrey – Consultant Engineers & Technical Leads at CDW.
Explain it like I’m 5 – how would you describe your role at CDW? My role at CDW involves providing security solutions to customers, assisting beginner level engineers to become successful consultants and helping CDW be a key player in the services market.
What does a typical day look like? My typical day involves working on customer projects by helping them with their security solutions, attending project status calls, attending internal project calls to help improve our services portfolio, learning and doing research to be the expert in my field, and mentoring and coaching other associate engineers to become successful consulting engineers.
What’s your earliest memory of wanting to be an engineer? Ever since I was a little girl, maybe 9 or 10 years of age, I was always into fixing broken electronic items around the house. I knew then that I was going to be good at doing that all my life.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring engineers? Be a good listener before providing solutions. When one solution does not work, look at the problem in a different light or other aspects. It is a puzzle and it's so much fun solving it.
Explain it like I’m 5 – how would you describe your role at CDW? I am a Senior Consulting Engineer on the Information Security team. My job is to test the computer security of our clients to identify gaps and help fix these issues to make their environment more secure.
What does a typical day look like? My typical day starts with performing reconnaissance on my client to identify all possible avenues that an attacker can take to gain access to their network. Next steps are to run attacks on the client and attempt to gain access to their internal network and if I am able to get in, then attempt to gain complete control of their environment. All this while sitting at home!
What’s your earliest memory of wanting to be an engineer? The first time my father brought his work computer home and I got to turn it on to hear the welcome chime of Windows 98. I was hooked and wanted to know everything that this machine could do and how does it do it.
What is the most fun/innovative project that you’ve been a part of at CDW? My team did an assessment for a local government and we were able to make ourselves security badges while at home. We then traveled to the client site with our badges and walked in to their network room to demonstrate our access.
Explain it like I’m 5 – how would you describe your role at CDW? As a Microsoft Collaboration Consulting Engineer, I get to play with different groups of friends daily. Together we build sandcastles, moats and pits. Once the foundation is in place, we put the final touches of seashells, flags and sea glass to make the sandcastle stand out. Sometimes it is hard to work with a group of friends, but we all have the same goal. We want to make the best sandcastle that we can.
What’s your earliest memory of wanting to be an engineer? I remember wanting to be an engineer when I was a little girl. I always enjoyed playing Tetris and challenging myself to create a board where I could clear as many lines as possible with the funky pieces. Thinking logically has always been something that I have exercised and I think that translates to being an engineer. You have to think of the big picture and then work your way back to the age-old question of where we start. Having that firm foundation and putting the initial pieces into place are key to a successful project.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring engineers? There aren't enough women in the IT field and I hope that showing I'm a real person sparks some interest for someone. And don't be afraid of failure. We all make mistakes and the way that we handle our mistakes is what sets us apart.
Explain it like I’m 5 – how would you describe your role at CDW? You like Pirates of the Caribbean right? I'm Captain Jack Sparrow of a team that finds treasure! As a technical lead, my experience and knowledge are leveraged towards uplifting young engineers in building their careers. We design and implement proven Cisco Unified Collaboration solutions, which solve business challenges for our customers.
What does a typical day look like? Every morning I wake up at 5am to an obstacle course of Legos, dog toys, and random placed shoes on the floor for my morning commute to the office in my house. I check email, catch up on WebEx Teams messages, and start scanning headlines for the stock market. Between 6am and 7am I feed and let the dogs out, change the baby's diaper, and get my gym bag together. By 7:30am I am at the gym working out for an hour. After the gym, back to the home office no later than 9am to work on pre-market stock market orders placed for the 9:30am open. Anywhere between 8am and 5pm I am on conference calls for pre-sales, customer calls for project work, or 1:1 calls with my team. Typically, at 5pm I work on all the billable work I needed to do myself until around 8pm. Before 11pm bedtime I make sure to review the next day's schedule and check all WebEx Teams channels and emails.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring engineers? Be diverse in your learning. Be prepared to put in a lot of effort and time in order to make your chosen trade more than just the direct task completion. Businesses want technology thought leaders and implementation engineers who care as much about being a shining example as they do. Focus on solutions and positive adjustments during criticism and feedback. The way to elevate yourself is to lift others up around you, not step on their heads.
– CDW Coworkers