- By Farida Kerubo, Electronics and Electrical Engineering Intern
I have been an intern at Gearbox Limited in Nairobi for the past four months.Gearbox is a company that aims at improving the ecosystem for hardware entrepreneurship by providing flexible working space, shared prototyping facilities, training in manufacturing, fabrication and design as well as mentor ship, investment opportunities, incubation and community development.I first heard of Gearbox from a university of Nairobi student who went on to work for Gearbox after college.However, I became more familiar with the company during an I-SHOW competition for makers in which it was featured as a sponsor and on the forefront showcasing products that had been developed within the company. I went on to learn more about their products from a presentation at the workshop and decided to apply for an internship.
My position for the four months was Electronics Engineer Intern working under the the Electronics department with a team of four other engineers.During this period, I was involved in a couple of projects involving both the mechanical and electronics disciplines but key among them was developing a dispensing unit for sanitary towels. As a Woman in Tech, this project in particular hit home given that I was coming up with a product that was key in improving the lives of young girls and women in rural Kenyan areas.
Skills gained during this projects such as fabrication of PCB boards, developing the firmware, using PCB making and printing machines reinforced all my theoretical knowledge and helped increase my professional confidence. The experience I gained doing those projects was invaluable, even though it seemed very difficult and frustrating at times.
The coolest thing about this internship was being able to deliver product(s) to client(s) at different stages and hearing all the feedback.
Expanding my professional network was very important to me during this experience. I did a good job at accomplishing my tasks and seeking help whenever I was stuck with anything. I got an opportunity to interact with other players in the industry who visited Gearbox during my stay there and networked with various people.
Overally, I had a rewarding internship experience.