OCF Apprentices - A pathway to success?

OCF Apprentices - A pathway to success?

By Russell Billau, Lead HPC Systems Engineer

Let’s be honest: The High-Performance Computing (HPC) arena can be quite a niche field, and finding the right talented person to fit the right role can sometimes be a challenge.

A Unique Approach

At OCF, we offer a unique apprenticeship program that goes beyond traditional training. We believe that talent can be nurtured with time, encouragement, environmental exposure, and correct training. Our program is designed to do just that; over the years, OCF has had great success!

Appointing young, eager apprentices and allowing them to flourish and learn vital skills “on the job” is a great way to feed talent into the company and allow individuals to develop skills and interests in areas they may not have initially considered.

As the Lead HPC Systems Engineer within the Hardware team at OCF, I have the exciting responsibility of nurturing young talent and encouraging them to explore other aspects and areas of the industry. I have witnessed first-hand, multiple times, the benefits to both the individual and the company by following this pathway, such as people moving departments and upskilling or undertaking training courses to further their knowledge.

Working within the Hardware Team, apprentices learn the intricacies of building clusters from the ground up - How and why we use certain interconnects, what different types of hardware are relevant for different situations and how they piece together. At the same time, while collaborating with different teams, they are naturally gaining insight and knowledge that can help shape their future. Their journey may start by physically installing equipment; however, this leads to unlocking potential and skills that were not present before and allows them to progress down avenues they maybe hadn’t considered. Previous success stories within OCF where apprentice hardware engineers have progressed into other departments include:

  • Pre-Sales Team - where they are involved in building initial customer configs
  • Support Team – providing frontline support for customer equipment
  • Managed Services Team – where they manage multiple customer clusters

By passing on the years of knowledge and experience we have gained working in this sector to others, we can begin to create the next generation of engineers and brilliant minds to propel the industry forward.

Our Hardware Team is currently developing two more apprentices, with a third who has recently completed the apprenticeship course and is developing a passion for Linux and compute clusters. This further bolsters OCF’s requirement to train HPC specialists, making the future bright and delivering Brilliance. Together.