Employee Q&A

Life as a Senior Applications Engineer

Giles Raine

"I like the people I work with, and there’s a refreshing absence of the kind of office politics that some companies suffer from."

What are you studying and where?

My degree is in Electronics, from Cardiff University – prior to that I completed 4 years of diplomas in Electronics and Communications in Plymouth.

How long have you worked at Calnex and how has your career developed?

I joined Calnex in January 2020, so around 15 months ago at the time of writing this. In that time, I have become what I hope is a “useful” member of the Applications Engineering team and I’m also part of the Core Team responsible for making decisions around the Cloud & IT product range.

Most challenging aspects of your job?

Networking, telecoms and sync are very wide-ranging topics and there are always new applications and protocols that I might not have encountered which require me to do some reading up. Fortunately, I enjoy learning new things, and I’m surrounded by knowledgeable colleagues who are always willing to share what they know.

Please talk us through a typical day at Calnex while working from home?

We start each day with a team catch-up call at 8.30am, in which each member of the team takes their turn to summarise what they did the previous day and their plans for the day ahead – this gives a good opportunity to discuss any thorny issues and get suggestions from the others in the team. Later in the day there may be other (virtual) meetings on a variety of topics, possibly including calls with Engineering, Product Management and the Sales team and/or customers. The rest of the time is spent answering queries on our products and their applications and a variety of other tasks that may include writing documentation, testing software under development, delivering training and the occasional demo to customers.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I like the people I work with, and there’s a refreshing absence of the kind of office politics that some companies suffer from. I also find the products and technologies interesting and there’s always something new to learn about, which prevents it from becoming stale.

What skills do you need to succeed in your role?

Good communication skills, an analytical mind, a logical approach to troubleshooting. Also patience, attention to detail, tenacity, and a willingness to learn.

What piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to be a product application/support engineer?

Come to the interview with the right attitude, more than anything. Any gaps in your knowledge can be learned, but the ability to fit well into a team is key.

What do you do for downtime?

I play blues guitar, go for walks with my wife and my dog, and try to maintain a passable level of fitness while waiting for gyms to reopen.

Is there anything you are especially looking forward to when it’s possible to work in the office again?

Catching up with people I haven’t seen in a long-time face to face. Zoom calls etc are fine, but it’s not quite the same as being in the same room as someone. Also, it’ll be nice to have a change from looking at the same four walls every day!

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