How Could a Big Company Like Intel Ever Notice Me?
Shannon Stahl, Class of 2015, is a technician who repairs photo-masks. Read this interview to learn more about her job and also how priceless a resource professors and Alumni can be when it comes to helping Pacific students land a career in companies as big as Intel.
What do you do in your job?
Intel is known for their silicone chips; but I actually work in their small photo-mask division as a technician on the floor. The production of photo-masks is split into stages. I specifically work in repair. This means that my job is a mixture of removing defects and verifying that all defects meet a specific set of criteria so that the photo-mask performs properly. In essence, I get to work with some amazing and diverse people who come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.
How did you find out about your job and how did you get noticed by such a big company?
I first discovered that there were jobs available at Intel through LinkedIn and applied for as many of them as I could. I had no success with this approach. It wasn't until I talked with my professors and they gave me a contact to a past graduate who works for Intel that I was able to get a job interview. His internal recommendation helped to reassure the managers I would be a good pick. I actually returned the favor when I found out one of my classmates was also having difficulty getting in.
Is there any room for you to grow in your career?
There is actually a lot of room to grow if you are willing to put in the extra effort. A lot of the managers started out as technicians, and through hard work both in and outside of the office, they were able to move forward. The real bounds put on individuals are to encourage a safe work environment. Moving up, or down, the "ladder" is up to you. I am still new, so most of my effort is in learning. But that hasn't prevented me from stepping up and taking on additional responsibilities. This has allowed me to be noticed by my manager’s boss. Which is pretty cool.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Probably the challenges. It might not be as hard as some of my past physics assignments. But it’s the real world. If I screw up that's it; there is no undo button. I also really like working as part of a group. It makes the hard days a lot easier when you get to share the load.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your job?
Not having an undo button. Working with a diverse collection of individuals. The 12 hour work days. Intel is a large cooperation, so making sure you are noticed for all the good that you do can be daunting.
Do you apply much of the skills and knowledge you acquired in school to what you do now?
As far as my actual physics degree, not really. It definitely helps and does give me an edge. I can understand the physical concepts a lot easier. What I truly use every day, all day long are the problem solving skills I acquired while getting my degree. The ability to think on my feet, assess situations systematically and organize seemingly chaotic information are some fundamentals I learned in school and are the traits I call upon the most.
Do you have any advice for students interested in pursuing your line of work?
Don't let the size of Intel scare you. Intel is more attracted to those who have a science, electrical, or computer background, but I work with individuals who do not have a degree in any of these. And like most jobs, get in touch with someone on the inside. If you’re intrigued by what they have to say, try to have a sit-down conversation with them. This will help prepare you for any interviews.