At Belnet, we regularly welcome students for regular employment or on work placement. This way we can offer young talent the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of our (network) infrastructure and services. One such student is Joachim Opdenakker, who has been part of our Network Team for the past two years.
Joachim is studying Applied Information Technology with a specialisation in System and Network Management at UCLL in Leuven-Haasrode. He is combining his second Bachelor year with a few courses from the third year. His passion for network technology is what motivated him to look for a student job in the field. “I was looking for a challenge beyond my schoolwork and decided to go out and see what the options were for broadening my knowledge.”
Specific Belnet mission
Joachim came into contact with Belnet by way of a job fair that he himself helped organise. “I am member of ULYSSIS, an association affiliated with KULeuven whose goal is to bring IT closer to the students. For example, we develop the application that is used for the election of the student representatives. Each year, we organise an open-source job fair and that is where I became acquainted with Belnet, one of the participating organisations.”
It was the non-commercial character of Belnet, in particular, that appealed to Joachim. “I can completely get behind the Belnet mission and, more specifically, the services they provide to the academic world. What’s more, Belnet is a small-scale and flexible organisation.”
Checking and improving configurations
Joachim has worked on a regular basis for the Belnet Networks Team since July 2018. The first project he was assigned, supervised by one of our Network Engineers, was the optimisation of a configuration management database.
The goal of the project was to gain a comprehensive overview of all the configurations on the Belnet Network and to translate them into conventions. “My job was to find errors and to reconfigure them. I was also responsible for updating the CRM with the information from the network’s database. Among other things, the project allowed Belnet to more quickly obtain an overview of the impacted client’s configurations in the event of an incident, and that allowed them to intervene even more efficiently.”
After that project, Joachim started working on a new assignment. “This one relates to the DDoS configurations which were performed in the past at the request of Belnet customers. For this job, I have close contact with the organisations in question.”
“Belnet’s mission and, more specifically, the services it provides to the academic world really interest me.”
Joachim Opdenakker, student Applied Information Technology
Theory and practice
Joachim looks back very positively at his student job at Belnet. “I felt immediately welcomed, and the teamwork within the Networks group runs smoothly. It was also nice to be able to immediately start my assignment and to continue learning as I went. And, the team is always available if I have questions.”
“Up until now, I have learned an enormous amount about the scale and structure of networks. What I remember in particular is that it is impossible to manage everything ‘by the book’. That is something you don’t learn at the university college, but it is simply the reality. The trick is finding a good way to handle this reality while maintaining a good overview of the network.”
Work placement abroad
And the future? It certainly does look promising. “I recently received a nice offer for a work placement position abroad. The ideal opportunity to test, for a defined period of time, whether working in a foreign country would be something for me. My experience at Belnet has been a real asset when it came to being chosen for this work placement position. And I am extremely grateful for that.”