A smart student, with smart goals
Danny Lyubenov is not your typical industrial placement student. He’s not even your typical cloud engineer. The dress code at Cognito iQ is fairly relaxed, and whilst many of our technical staff appreciate the freedom to wear comfy jeans and questionable t-shirts, Danny is always immaculate, in a sharp suit, a freshly pressed shirt, and highly polished shoes. He says “I like to be smart. This is my first job in a professional environment and it means a lot to me. I feel like I have been given a second chance and I want to put my whole heart into it”.
Danny is a mature student, having worked in hospitality for ten years after leaving school aged 17. He completed an access course to gain a place at the University of Westminster to study Computer Networks and Security. He says “It is tough to go back when you are older as you don’t have the momentum of going from school straight into college. I’ve had to relearn how to learn. When I was at school, I just wanted to get straight into work, I didn’t have the patience to study. But now, what has kept me going is that I have learned you have to have patience, to see things through and to make an effort. When my university tutors give me an assignment, I sit down and do it straight away, no messing around.”
Danny is putting his work ethic to great use in our Cloud team where, after two months of intensive training, he is now working on customer-facing projects. In recent weeks Danny has created a new customer facing test environment. He utilised the skills he learnt during his two-month ‘bootcamp’, including Infrastructure as Code, configuration management and CI/CD tools, to make this laborious task much simpler and more efficient.
He says “In the hospitality industry, there is a lot of micro-management. It’s ‘do this, do that’. Here, my managers give me autonomy. I feel a lot happier this way, knowing I am responsible for my own work. My line manager won’t hold my hand and spoon feed me because I wouldn’t learn anything. The best way to learn is to try and solve your own problems. Although, if I get stuck, they are happy to jump in, so I feel well supported.”
The competition for industrial placements is fierce. Of 120 students on his course, Danny is one of only two to have been awarded a place, although many submitted multiple applications. He says that the role at Cognito iQ stood out from other placement opportunities as it offers hands-on technical experience, working on live projects and making a genuine contribution to the work of the company. The size of the company was also important - not so small that there would be no resources, and not so big that there was a risk of feeling like a small cog in a large machine.
Danny says “I feel that I matter in Cognito iQ and that I can make a difference. I’m also gaining so much from the placement that will help me in the future, such as exposure to cutting edge technology, and to the business environment and the soft skills you need to succeed. I am using the placement to kick start my career and to better myself and grow as an individual.”
Danny certainly does make a difference; we value his work and are glad to have him here with us. We are looking forward to seeing how he grows as the placement continues. If he carries on how he has started, we expect he will achieve everything he hopes for from his future career.