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Student Spotlights

Garett: Information Technology

Garett Cook spent his time as an intern with our very own Office of Information Technology. He was one of the awesome team members that helps keep us all functioning and sane here on campus when it comes to technical difficulties.

The Brigham Young University Office of Information Technology (BYU OIT) is responsible for maintaining all the technological demands of the university. The team that I had the opportunity to intern with was the Site Reliability Engineers (SRE), a team of system administrators that maintain thousands of Linux servers. The main responsibility of this team is to ensure that all the servers they maintain stay up and running and have the computing resources necessary to run the applications and programs installed.

At the beginning of my internship I made the goal to learn as much about system administration and the Linux environment as I could. The team helped me accomplish this goal by training me in common system administration tasks and letting me shadow them as they worked on their projects. While I still don’t know everything about Linux operating systems I do feel that I learned enough to be semi-proficient as a Linux system administrator.

One of my projects was to set up a monitoring system for servers that the team was trying to upgrade from an updated OS version to a more modern one. I used E.L.K. (elasticsearch logstash and Kibana) to create a visualization of the traffic going to the servers and used the visualization and logs to identify the users of the server. The team was able to use my servers to talk to the users still frequently using the servers to create a plan to retire and upgrade the servers.

I really enjoyed the SRE team dynamic. Everyone worked really well together and created an environment that was fun to work in. I was also impressed at the extensive knowledge each team member had. They all knew the ins and outs of all the systems and how each system works for the organization as a whole. Because of that knowledge they were able to offer solutions to their customers that not only achieved their own needs but also the needs of the entire organization.

The only thing I didn’t like about the internship was my own lack of knowledge. The systems that are in place at BYU are hard to grasp if you don’t have a sound understanding of networking. I found that my own lack of understanding kept me from being able to grasp some of the concepts I needed to understand in order to accomplish a few of the tasks I was assigned.

My official title at the company was Junior System Administrator and the class that prepared me the most for this internship was IT 210A&B. That was the class where I first learned how to use the command line interface (CLI) and worked in the Linux environment which were the two core skills I used every day at my internship. For any future students interning at this position I would highly recommend being well acquainted with the Linux environment and the CLI. A solid understanding of networking would be a great help in understanding the systems that BYU OIT has in place.

The internship was an incredible experience and the skills I learned with the Site Reliability Team are going to help me be a great employee in the future. I will always be grateful for the experience I gained

at this internship and would highly recommend that any BYU students pursuing degrees in computer related fields should try to get an internship or job with BYU OIT.