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REP: Class of 2010

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Intro by Donna, Rotation Engineer Program (REP) Manager

Another year, another class of rotation engineers…always a bittersweet time for me as a Program Manager in Intel’s Rotation Engineer Program (REP). It’s a slightly sad time because it means there is a group of young engineers graduating from the program and moving on to the next phase of their careers at Intel. We’ve been through a lot together and in the course of all those meetings and activities we’ve become close—we’ve built strong bonds. But this time of year also signals a new beginning—a new class of energetic and enthusiastic engineers is starting in the REP! After meeting on campus and surviving a rigorous series of interviews, they have left college behind and arrived at their work site eager to get started ‘making the impossible, possible!’

We believe Intel’s REP provides an excellent opportunity for some of the best young engineering talent to learn about themselves and where they best fit into the corporation while laying the foundation for rapid development and accelerated career advancement. But who better to describe this program and its impact than an RE! Ian is a new RE who recently moved to Intel’s Hillsboro location where he is sponsored by the Visual and Parallel Computing Group (VPG). Prior to his start date in mid-July, Ian was on the receiving end of frequent communication and contact from a variety of people at Intel—his technical mentor, REP program managers—even his REP Buddy who provided him with informal (but essential!) information about preparing for his move to Portland and Intel. His first exposure to Intel and to the REP was through a week-long orientation we call REP Boot Camp that brought all 25 members of the Class of 2010 together in Santa Clara, CA. Over the next 18 months he, along with the other REs, will meet regularly to attend classes, hear speakers, network and share information and experiences—and create a strong sense of community and support. So now, I turn it over to Ian to share his experiences with you!

Hello everybody, this is Ian, one of the new REs. Until recently, I’ve been reading this blog and others like it from the outside, but now I’ve made my jump to the corporate world. In fact, a scant five months ago I was at school, finishing up classes, and trying to locate housing on the West coast. Because in just a month or so, I would begin the journey to a new city (Portland, OR), a new employer (Intel), and a new incarnation of a classic program (the REP). Taken together, that’s a lot of change. But, hey, I’m young and adventurous, and I’ll try anything once. And it turns out, I’d have a lot of help.

Three months ago, I packed a select few of my possessions into my green Nissan Altima. With the sheer bulk of my packed-up stuff lowering the suspension by two inches, I began to pull out of my family’s southern Indiana driveway. I turned around in my seat to wave my folks goodbye then shifted into first gear and set my sights for adventure. The four-day drive proceeded without major incident and before I knew it I was looking for an apartment in Portland. Being alone in a new city is pretty awful. One doesn’t know anybody and it’s difficult to build a social network from scratch. But before I had even found a place to live and weeks before my first day at Intel, my RE buddy called me up and invited me to grab a smoothie and chat about the move. I was surprised, but delighted to have some company. We walked around the scenic Northwest district (where I would find my current apartment) and around downtown, talking about what I could expect from Intel, the city, and the REs. In all cases, the answer was, “a lot.”

The first week at the office includes NEO (New Employee Orientation) for all new hires. It’s an effortless half-day class that gives everyone a baseline set of expectations for Intel, but mostly it’s a forum for boring paperwork. (However, I’m given to understand that this process is being phased out.) After that, I picked up my badge and met my group, my manager, and my mentor. Also, I met all the other new REs as well as some current REs and alums. Not bad for a first day, and pretty typical for all Intel new hires.

The next day is when the REP difference began to kick in. All the new REs including myself woke up absurdly early for a flight down to Santa Clara, CA, for REP Boot Camp. The flight was the best I’ve ever had, as we were treated to the comfortable and hassle-free Intel corporate jet. Santa Clara would be the gathering point for all the REs, all across the country, for the next four days, where we would be treated to exceptional guest speakers. That speaker list included interesting technical contributors, dynamic technical marketers, and even an executive vice president! We also learned the structure and timeline of the REP, which I won’t repeat here, as it’s all available on the REP website. Basically, the event was a huge best known methods (BKM) dump, and I’m sure that I wasn’t alone in being a bit overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of information. All this time, the new class of REs was getting to know each other, and I had a lot of fun. The days were long and tiring but, paradoxically, also professionally energizing. The nights were equally long and also energizing, this time socially. And with all that energizing going on, it seems nobody found the need to sleep very much. After four intense days, we REs boarded the Intel shuttle for our flights to our respective sites.

So now I’ve been working for almost four months. The fabric of the RE community has done so much to ease my transition from arriving in a new city to thriving in a group of new friends. The RE community dissolved my challenges here before they were ever troublesome. Before I got lonesome, I had friends. Before I faced a lack of training, Boot Camp prepared me. And looking forward, before I allow myself to be professionally pigeonholed, REP strongly encourages and enables the mobility to move about the company and discover and develop my passion. That’s not a bad deal. And over the next year, I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing here at the company, and I promise the REP will play a big role in that.