Practice as a Ticket to the IT World

Do you recall your first work experience? Those with a longer memory will remember the hop-plant jobs, helping out in a buffet or in an ice cream stall. Summer adventure, which, in addition to the coveted earnings, also brought a lot of unforgettable experiences. But things are different now. High school students have the opportunity to peek into the lives of workers even before they start their summer jobs. This is because of high school work experience. 

In the second year of secondary vocational schools, students get up from their desks for two weeks to try out what it’s like to work in a running company. Here, together with new experiences, they gain the first real work experience, which can subsequently open the door to the world of opportunities for them or positively influence their future career decisions. The idea of practical education is so close to us that we’ve decided to take part in this initiative again this year. During fourteen days in May, we had four new “colleagues” who made the most of their time with us.

A programmer for two weeks

We know from experience that if we enjoy something, we devote more effort to it. So we left the choice of assignment in the hands of the students themselves. Martin, Matúš and Daniel were therefore working on their own projects. And how did the three second-years use the two weeks under the guidance of our programmers?

Martin’s vision was clear from the beginning. He came to get his work experience with us because he wanted to improve his programming and learn something new from people who do it professionally. He decided to code a sports website.

“The first day was an introductory one. I met new people and they showed us the whole company. We’ve made clear how we’re going to operate for the two weeks, and we’ve set ourselves the goal of having each of us build our own website.

The next day we started with a stand-up. I saw what it looks like when a company has a meeting where everyone tells the others how they’re doing with their task. I also received a short-term motivational training that was supposed to put us on the right track. When we had set goals and we knew what we were going to program, I started with the development itself. It was difficult to get started and the navigation bar in the header was the most challenging to create. I had to make it so that the sports were also displayed on a mobile phone.

One by one, I worked on other functionalities. I’ve programmed the main section with the current matches and the section where the upcoming matches will be. I also tried to dynamically load data on goals, I finished small adjustments and my project in the form of a website was finished.

In the end, I sent my work to an employee for evaluation. His feedback was positive, which made me happy because I tried my best to make it as good as possible. Finally, the employees of the company took us to an excellent lunch, which ended this work experience.” That’s Martin’s description.

In his own words, however, he gained more than just a new website: At the same time, this two-week work experience gave me a completely different perspective on the IT industry. I learned new things and tried functions that I didn’t know of until recently. I’ve also learned to create websites that aren’t like those made by professionals, but everyone has to start somewhere. In addition, I’ve overcome my previous limits in programming and met new people. What I liked the most was the team and the environment where I went through the work experience.” said the high school student.

Thanks to the work experience, Daniel, who worked on the development of a personal website, also has a clearer idea of his future. In his free time, he works as a DJ. How does he evaluate the time spent with us? I didn’t know much about programming websites. However, two weeks with you allowed me to work on myself, especially in the field of web design and programming.” 

Matúš concludes the trio of students. He’s long been interested in graphic design, and every successful designer needs their portfolio. The work experience passed in a flash, but thanks to it, Matúš didn’t leave empty-handed. He coded a functional presentation website and on top of that, he took home something else: “Professional work experience gave me a great deal of confidence and motivation for further professional efforts. I gained valuable insight into the workplace and practices in a real business environment. I also appreciate the opportunity to create my own project and cooperate with experts who have provided me with support and advice.”

High school students during work experience at bart.

For work experience from as far as Žilina

It’s no secret that some students view the work experience as something they just have to get through. We can’t blame them, as there’s often a lack of opportunities, artificially created partnerships with companies or a lack of mentors. That’s why we’ve decided to set up cooperation with students so that it works and motivates them to make the most of it.

We were kind of expecting to hear from students from Košice. However, we certainly didn’t expect to hear from a student from Žilina ? What at first glance seemed impossible, we simply solved and we agreed to cooperate remotely. We were even more surprised when Šimon decided to travel and “work” part of the work experience directly in Košice. He wasn’t discouraged by getting up early in the morning or spending four hours on the train. Let’s be honest, which one of us would manage that? These kinds of situations are exactly what motivates us to keep doing what we do.

Šimon, who already at his young age knows several programming languages and technologies, developed his own application as part of the work experience. In addition, he willingly extended a helping hand to other fellow practitioners and thus tried not only the work of a programmer, but also a mentor.

Before starting the internship, we asked ourselves if such a short time was enough for students to take something more than just new acquaintances. Šimon’s feedback, however, says it all: “If I am to answer the question of whether this work experience was useful to me, the answer is certainly yes. I’ve learned to work with new frameworks, programs, and how the architecture of a project is created.

Students and their mentors.

What’s next? 

High school work experience isn’t just about connecting theory with practice. It shouldn’t be the aforementioned mandatory thing, but above all an opportunity to find yourself, develop acquired skills and discover your talents. We spend a significant part of our lives at work. Therefore, we see the opportunity to look into the functioning of a particular company as an important aspect of education. Thanks to this, students gain an overview of a real working environment and shape their own ideas about their future career. We believe that this experience has opened the eyes of our colleagues for two weeks. We also hope that it has encouraged them to work on themselves, whether it’s a job in IT or not. The important thing is that they find themselves and do what they really enjoy.