The IoT Adventures of One T-Mobile Engineer – From Intern to Product Manager
From LEGO® and iPads to some of the most complex engineering products in the world, Hari Annamraju has always been interested in the way things are built. For someone like Hari, it was never enough to stand on the sidelines as a student or an impassioned fan. He wanted to live the engineering life and every aspect of it.
Luckily for Hari, fortune found its way to introduce him to T-Mobile and the company’s revolutionary aspirations in developing and emerging technology. Although he started his career with T-Mobile as an intern, he is now working as an IoT Product Manager Intern spearheading some of the bravest innovations in engineering.
Given Hari’s incredible three years with T-Mobile, we were eager to chat with him about why he chose to pursue the internship, what he’s learned since being there, and what he hopes to do with his experiences.
From chasing what he’s passionate about and getting second-to-none exposure to growing as a leader and making lifelong friends, this is Hari’s story as a T-Mobile intern.
Pursuing a Meaningful Passion
One thing Hari reiterated during our interview is that passion is one of the most important things someone can have. It was clear that he was brimming with plenty himself.
The year was 2020 and the gloom of quarantine was just beginning to break the horizon. But in these dark times, something became illuminated to Hari. He noticed that this was a time when everyone wanted to be connected and people were craving human interaction more than ever.
When he finally came across T-Mobile, a light went off in his head. What better time to join a company connecting people across the country than now?
With his ambitions in engineering coming to a head with a new-found pursuit of preserving human connection, Hari dove headfirst into T-Mobile’s emerging technologies internship.
In the three years that Hari interned at T-Mobile, he got the opportunity to work on projects that directly impacted his fellow employees as well as innovators and developers across the world.
The first project Hari worked on was a development called Employee Connect. The question for the project was posed; how can we transform the way all 75,000 employees at T-Mobile work on a day-to-day basis?
The answer was fearless: create software that helps employees align with corporate goals, mature in their careers, and align with one another to create seamless execution on projects and help employees see direct results that make them feel valued for their work.
From leading scrums to flexing programming muscles that he never knew existed, Hari’s first project as a T-Mobile intern was eye-opening. It dunked him into the deep end of the pool and gave him an experience that welcomed him to the engineering industry with a splash.
Although I was already impressed hearing about the two summers that Hari spent working on Employee Connect, it was when he started talking about a platform that would change the way developers build products that made me sit up in my chair.
Offering both a software development toolkit and a hardware development board, DevEdge empowers developers to create the next generation of IoT products while using the Power of T-Mobile’s network. Whether you’d like to control a fleet of drones or you’re creating a mobile Bike-theft defense system, DevEdge helps designers get it done. And Hari was there to make sure that happened.
But hands-on practical experience wasn’t all that Hari would gain during his time as a T-Mobile intern.
What Does It Mean to Be a Leader?
Another alluring feature of T-Mobile’s internships is that they aren’t just building future engineers, they’re building future leaders. For Hari, not a single summer went by where he didn’t find himself growing as a leader and sharpening his abilities to inspire direction.
His first taste of leadership with T-Mobile was as a scrum master and in his contributions to the Employee Connect project. Some of this work even included him advising his senior colleagues and offering suggestions on workload management.
It was clear that in the three years he spent at T-Mobile, Hari turned himself into someone people could really follow and take note of. In describing what it means to be a leader, Hari said that it’s not necessarily about directing people, but more so influencing their decisions.
The key phrasing here, to “influence someone’s decision” rather than telling them what to do, is what separates Hari apart from other young leaders. Staying humbled enough to win his peers’ respect but intelligent and adept enough to grab the reins when needed.
While his leadership position may have been chiseled during his time in the UofMagenta program, it was when he worked as an IoT Engineering Intern in Washington state this past summer that his ability to lead really came to life.
Sitting in a boardroom with four of his fellow interns, looking over a view of the Seattle cityscape, Hari and his team were charged with creating a new product using their DevEdge platform. Their own “startup” as Hari referred to it with a chuckle and a grin.
Who would be there to lead that team, none other than Hari Annamraju?
Friendships, Networking, and an Uplifting Community
When Hari spoke about the friendships he forged during his time at T-Mobile, it was hard not to see the company as a thriving social community as much as it was a national powerhouse in communication and tech.
He reflected upon one of the first colleagues he befriended, someone he would chat with often on topics ranging from highly complex engineering concepts like remote controlling full-sized vehicles and fighting wildfires with 5G to banter about the Oscars.
What was also touching about Hari’s first year at T-Mobile was the farewell he got at the end of the summer. After writing a goodbye/thank you message on the company’s messaging app, Hari was delighted to receive several reactions, comments, and responses from fellow colleagues letting him know that the feeling was very much mutual.
It’s clear that the culture at T-Mobile is all-for-one and one-for-all, if not through Hari’s early experiences than through his recent exploits as well.
This idea was underscored, emphasized, and by all means, punctuated by Hari’s recent interaction with a Director at the 5G Hub at T-Mobile – a division looked at as the company’s Excalibur in the world of interconnectivity.
The conversation seemed like two friends swapping ideas in their neighborhood garage. In reality, they were discussing potentially life-changing consumer IoT applications but it carried on as a very amicable and passion-flavored exchange that two casual acquaintances would have.
It was then that I realized the kind of prosperous and collaborative environment that T-Mobile has created. An environment in which wins are better celebrated when stacked on top of each other.
It didn’t matter that Hari was an intern or that he was interacting with a Director, the culture at T-Mobile purports the idea that no matter who you are or what your position is, you can work, learn, and grow with whoever you want.
What Hari and T-Mobile also seem to purport time and time again is that anyone can do it, you just need to be passionate enough to take the chance.
So what are you waiting for? Start browsing open roles inside and outside of T-Mobiles thriving engineering space today and take yourself from entry to executive. More