In episode 32 of The Connext Podcast, we’re joined by Talent Partner Nicole Ho. Nicole talks about her recent visit to one of the top engineering schools in the U.S. and how students responded to the top 10 reasons to work at RTI.

In Episode 32 of The Connext Podcast:

  • [0:39] What’s on these future engineers’ minds?
  • [1:29] The top 10 reasons to work at RTI
  • [10:01] Advice for graduates aspiring to work in Silicon Valley

Related Content:

  • [Blog] Top 10 Reasons to Work at RTI
  • [Blog] Dive into Our Top Content for Success in the Industrial IoT (In 2019 and Beyond)
  • [Infographic] RTI Connext 6
  • [Website] RTI Careers

Podcast Transcription

Steven Onzo: Welcome to another episode of the Connext Podcast. I'm your host, Steven Onzo, and I'm here today with talent partner, Nicole Ho. Nicole, thanks for joining us.

Nicole Ho: Yeah, thanks for having me here. I'm super excited.

[0:37] What’s on these future engineers’ minds?

Steven Onzo: We're excited to have you. Well, we're here today to elaborate on a blog post that you wrote on the top ten reasons to work at RTI. As some of our listeners know, RTI has been named the top workplace in the Bay Area for two years in a row, and Nicole's going to help us understand why.

Nicole Ho: Yeah, sure.

Steven Onzo: Cool. So, let's just jump right in. You recently visited one of the top engineering schools in the U.S., where you say you were inspired to write this blog. This is a recruiting event for engineers.

Nicole Ho: Yes.

Steven Onzo: What's the reaction of these future workers? I mean, what are they looking for and what's on their minds?

Nicole Ho: Yeah, yeah, great question. So it was honestly such a great experience being able to speak to all these young engineers. When I got there, they were so incredibly eager. I had tons of students just coming to me with so many thoughtful questions just about our company, about our culture, and just really learning more about the role in the industry. So that made me even more excited that they were on the same level as I was.

Steven Onzo: Excellent. I understand there was a line to see-

Nicole Ho: Oh yeah.

Steven Onzo: -what RTI was all about.

Nicole Ho: We were a pretty hot commodity out there.

[1:29] The top 10 reasons to work at RTI

Steven Onzo: Okay. Well, let's dive right into this top ten list. So, at number 10, enjoy awesome perks. Everybody loves perks. Tell us about RTI's perks.

Nicole Ho: Yeah, definitely. So, I can tell you for one, Fridays, of course, are my favorite, we have catered breakfast and catered lunches, which are always, always gives me a little food coma after lunch.

Steven Onzo: Right.

Nicole Ho: Because it's so good. Not only that, but we have the dogs get to come in on a Friday, so it's a lot more casual, you know. We have Sancho and we have Sherlock, and you can actually hear them coming in. They run in here. They're super excited to see everyone and be here at the office, and I feel like that speaks a lot for itself. If a dog is just as excited as we are to come into work, that says a lot.

Steven Onzo: It's always a nice surprise when you're at your desk and then you just see Sancho. He's one of our black labs that walks around here, just pop into your office.

Nicole Ho: Oh yeah.

Steven Onzo: It kinda switches up the day a bit, it's nice. Cool. So let's move down the list at number nine: develop real time secure distributed systems that connect to the world.

Nicole Ho: Yeah, definitely. So for this point, we are working with so many different distributed systems. A few I can name at the top of my head that are some of autonomous vehicles, surgical robotics, flying taxis. And you know, just imagine you are taking your flying taxi to the Hyperloop. If that's not connecting the world, I really don't know what is.

Steven Onzo: Right. And these are things you try and tell people, these are some of the things we're working on and it seems so far away.

Nicole Ho: Yeah, it seems so unrealistic.

Steven Onzo: Sounds like it's from sci-fi movie.

Nicole Ho: Exactly.

Steven Onzo: But you go, "No, these are things we're really working on," and it makes it sound, it's just so cool.

Nicole Ho: Yeah, definitely.

Steven Onzo: At number eight: impressing your friends and family with our brand name customers from NASA to Siemens, and Audi to GE.

Nicole Ho: You know, this is a funny one because it's really relevant during this holiday season when your friends and family are always asking me about, "What do you do? What company do you work for?"

Steven Onzo: Absolutely.

Nicole Ho: "What does your company do?" And you don't really wanna be too techie at these gatherings, so it's great that we have brand name customers like NASA, Siemens, Audi and GE like you mentioned, and they kind of just speak for themselves.

Steven Onzo: Absolutely. I think another cool thing is all of the industries across these customers. You have automotive, healthcare, energy systems. Oil and gas to transportation. It's a huge array of industries, which really makes the technology limitless.

Nicole Ho: Yeah.

Steven Onzo: There's no limit to what we can actually do.

Nicole Ho: Exactly. And you know, fun fact, our software was actually used on the International Space Station. You probably should ask me how do I know this.

Steven Onzo: Right, yes.

Nicole Ho: How do I know? Because one of the astronauts actually had a problem and reported that issue to our support team. Like, what? That's just so crazy to me. From space, that is insane.

Steven Onzo: You have to take a minute to kind of soak that in.

Nicole Ho: Exactly.

Steven Onzo: Excellent. At number seven: work with really smart people. Now I find this interesting. RTI is full of well-educated employees, technology gurus, patent holders and award winners. What I find really interesting is the patent holders, this is so cool to me.

Nicole Ho: Oh yeah.

Steven Onzo: A lot of innovators around here.

Nicole Ho: Yeah, definitely. I can name a couple at the top of my head right now. Fernando Crespo, Gerardo, Rajive, these people are just so incredibly smart and creating change to the world, and making just everything more efficient.

Steven Onzo: So this is a good segue now that we're talking about the people. We're not only working with really smart people, but we work with really fun people as well.

Nicole Ho: Oh yeah.

Steven Onzo: Tell us a little bit about that.

Nicole Ho: Yeah, definitely. Everyone here has a unique personality, especially coming from so many different backgrounds. You get to learn a lot about these people that you work with. One moment I'm in the kitchen talking about pirates and sailing at sea, and the next I'm talking about golfing. Everyone just has a fun aspect to them that you get to learn about, and that is what I love about RTI.

Steven Onzo: Absolutely, not to mention all the ping pong games that go on.

Nicole Ho: Oh yeah.

Steven Onzo: You get to know them pretty well after a few games of ping pong.

Nicole Ho: Exactly.

Steven Onzo: At number five: solving some of the industry's most complex challenges at the heart of the Internet of Things. What do you mean by this?

Nicole Ho: Yeah, so some of those problems that we're solving right now are scalability, security and efficiency. And one example I can think at the top of my head right now is the Grand Coulee Dam. If that isn't scalability, that just gives you perspective into how much we are scaling right now.

Steven Onzo: Absolutely. That's a really a big one. Okay, great. At number four: balanced work life. And this is one that I find extremely interesting because the research shows that millennials regard work-life balance as a competing factor when looking for a job along with benefits and even salary. That's just how people are thinking nowadays when looking for a job. How does RTI accommodate the work-life balance?

Nicole Ho: Yeah, I love when people ask me this question. I get this question all the time. One of the many reasons I know that RTI cares is our flexible paid time off. Not only that, but we actually get paid a vacation bonus to go on these vacations and take this time off, which is unheard of. You get paid an extra bonus on top of your salary to go to Japan.

Steven Onzo: Right.

Nicole Ho: I get paid even more to go eat Sushi in Japan.

Steven Onzo: Right.

Nicole Ho: That is so insane, and just one of the reasons why I know RTI cares about us.

Steven Onzo: So at number three we have work internationally. Opportunities to work around the world, still work for RTI, including our technology headquarters in Spain.

Nicole Ho: Yeah, we have our other technology headquarters in Spain, and of course, we work with so many other people around the world, too, in the U.K., Canada, Germany and now even in Singapore. It's amazing to think that we get to work with so many different cultures and diverse groups of people that it betters ourselves as humans even, just being able to be exposed to these different cultures.

Steven Onzo: Right, and it's always interesting during, or at least my favorite part is during company kickoff in January, and everybody from the company is there. RTI is global, right?

Nicole Ho: Yeah.

Steven Onzo: And you have people that you work with on a day to day basis that you might talk to over email or text message or messaging I mean. And then you get to see them, and everybody's in one place. You have our friend Reiner from Germany, and then our friends from Spain, and then our friends from Singapore. Everybody in one place truly makes RTI a unique place I think.

Nicole Ho: Yeah. I agree.

Steven Onzo: Great, well we're getting close to number one, and we're approaching, let's see, number two: enjoy going to work. RTI was voted a top workplace in the Silicon Valley.

Nicole Ho: Oh boy, are you hungry?

Steven Onzo: Yes.

Nicole Ho: We got snacks. You need a nap? We got a nap room.

Steven Onzo: I love it.

Nicole Ho: No, more on a serious note though, it's not only all of these different perks that we have here on site, it's truly the people that make a difference here RTI that make coming to work so enjoyable every day. We're just so lucky to have the amazing teams that we do here at RTI, and just being hashtag blessed.

Steven Onzo: Right. I love it. And what really caught my eye is the nap room. Everybody says, "You have a nap room?" It's awesome.

Nicole Ho: And it's funny because it's actually called Napa.

Steven Onzo: Right, yeah, for those who don't know, all of our meeting rooms are aligned around the building and they're all alphabetically titled by cities around the world, like ...

Nicole Ho: We have Napa, we have Aruba.

Steven Onzo: Yeah, Aruba.

Nicole Ho: Bora Bora.

Steven Onzo: Bora Bora. And our nap room ends up being Napa, which is great.

Nicole Ho: Which is, I love it, it's amazing.

Steven Onzo: Okay. Number one.

Nicole Ho: Duh duh duh.

Steven Onzo: Duh duh duh, drum roll, please. Be a part of a team that's small enough where your contribution and voice matters, but large enough to transform the world. Now, what did you mean by this?

Nicole Ho: Honestly, this is the beauty of RTI. We are a small company, we are. But we're also doing big things to change the world right now, and we're lucky we are a small team and we can make changes within our team, and changes to processes, which actually contributes to something even bigger. So to feel a part of that is really incredible.

[10:01] Advice for graduates aspiring to work in Silicon Valley

Steven Onzo: Okay, so that was the top 10 list and now that the conversation is winding down, I want to get your advice for people who are looking for an opportunity to work in the Silicon Valley. It seems like actors and people in the entertainment industry, they go to L.A. Country music stars want to go to make Nashville and try to make it big.

Nicole Ho: Exactly.

Steven Onzo: But it seems like the Silicon Valley is the place to be for developers, innovators, entrepreneurs who want to make it in this tech business. What advice do you have for people who want to make it out here?

Nicole Ho: Yeah, so first, there are so many opportunities out here in Silicon Valley. My first advice would be to narrow down your search. Don't try to apply for a ton of jobs and just hoping to get a call back from one. Really study yourself, what are you good at? What do you like to do? What type of industry do you want to work in? And if you don't know that, that's also okay. We're all trying to figure it out, and if you don't know, just network with people. Connect with people online, talk to them, grab some coffee. Ask them what are they doing. Make these meaningful relationships that can help you progress further into what you want to do, and I think that will definitely help you out here in the Silicon Valley.

Steven Onzo: Great advice. We need to write that down somewhere.

Nicole Ho: Yeah.

Steven Onzo: So where do you go if you're interested in applying for a job at RTI?

Nicole Ho: Yeah, if you're interested in applying, you can go to RTI.com/careers and apply right there.

Steven Onzo: Excellent. Well, that about wraps up the conversation. Nicole, I want to thank you very much for joining us. And hopefully we'll have you again back next time.

Nicole Ho: Yeah, thank you for having me.

Steven Onzo: All right, thanks for everyone for listening and we'll see you next time.

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