Meet Mentor/Mentee Duo — Damien and Simon

5 min readMay 25, 2023


Starting a career as an engineer can be daunting, and internships are a great way for students to gain experience, develop their skills and learn about the different paths they can choose within the field of engineering. At Verkada, we recognize the importance of these opportunities for young professionals and the impact they can have on their career trajectories.

That’s why we developed Verkada’s internship program to provide young engineers with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, take ownership, learn from some of the brightest minds in tech, and help build products that help keep people safe.

Damien (left) and Simon (right) posing with the AC62. In matching shirts, nonetheless!

Why don’t you both start by introducing yourselves and what team you are on:

Damien: Hi! I’m Damien, and I’ve been with Verkada for about four years. I work on our Access Control embedded software team in HQ and was Simon’s mentor during his internship.

Simon: Hi, I’m Simon and I started at Verkada in 2021 as a fall intern! At the beginning of my internship, I was paired with my mentor Damien on the Access Control embedded software team. Since then, I’ve been able to come back to Verkada and join this team as a full-time embedded software engineer.

What do you focus on as a part of the Access Control embedded software team?

Simon: Our team works on all the Access Control products at Verkada, which include door controllers, IO controllers, door readers and locks. As a Firmware/Embedded engineer, my team and I are responsible for developing all the software that runs on these devices. During my internship, I worked on projects ranging from application code to kernel to driver software. I even got to try out developing backend codebase.

Damien, as a mentor, how do you assign projects to the interns you work with?

Damien: Whenever I assign projects, I always keep our customers’ needs top of mind. I try to evaluate the interests of the current intern I am mentoring and see where they might align with what our customers need most at that time.

What’s your philosophy when it comes to providing interns with growth opportunities?

Damien: I believe the best way to help young engineers grow is by challenging them. My goal is to create an environment where my mentee feels safe to make mistakes so that they learn something new with every project they take on, even if they don’t get something right the first time.

Simon, when you interned, what was your favorite project that you worked on?

Simon: My favorite project was working on a device service that provides peer-to-peer communication between Verkada’s Access Control devices. This allows the devices to talk directly to one another, even without access to the internet. I loved working on this project since I had the chance to design the service myself, which involved assessing different requirements and proposing solutions that would meet the needs of our customers. I was super proud of the final solution and appreciate my team for believing in me to take on this challenge!

Fun Fact: Verkada owns one of every “massive” Squishable that you can buy!

What was the most surprising aspect of your internship experience?

Simon: What surprised me the most about interning at Verkada was how fast I could ramp up and get started on meaningful tasks. By partnering closely with my mentor, Damien, I could quickly start working on tasks that came directly from Damien’s backlog. It was really rewarding to see that my work, even early in my internship, was impactful. Some of the analytics I had worked on when getting up to speed were later used to analyze the performance of our system after pushing firmware updates.

Damien and Simon, what was your favorite Verkada event as a mentor and mentee?

Damien: My favorite event was when we went ice skating. I am typically not a huge fan of ice skating. I grew up in Jamaica, so I am not a big fan of the cold, but it was fun to step out of my comfort zone with my team. Unlike me, Simon loves skating. I remember he was very confident in his abilities until he took quite the spill.

Another one of my favorite events or memories from this experience, and maybe in my time at Verkada in general, was Simon’s final intern presentation. I was so proud of how confidently recapped his internship experience and showed off his hard work. It was inspiring because you could really feel the energy and passion he put in. That’s why I love working with interns — they’re so excited about what they are working on, and that energy is infectious!

Simon: We had so many fun events during my internship. Some of the highlights were the North-Beach food tour, a court-side basketball game, and bowling, but my favorite event with my team was our end-of-quarter celebration. After going out for lunch and reviewing what our team had accomplished that quarter, we rented out a big space where we played games and celebrated each team member’s achievements. It was fun to spend time together as a team outside the office and acknowledge everyone’s hard work.

Simon (top left) and Damien (top right) Ice Skating in Union Square, San Francisco with other Fall interns.

Are you an engineering student wanting hands-on experience at a top startup? Explore internship opportunities at Verkada!




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