From interns to professionals – at knowis, every team member’s opinion counts. In this series of interviews, knowis employees share their thoughts, report on their way into IT (and sometimes to Regensburg), talk about what they like about knowis and give tips for potential applicants. Sebastian Högl, working student in one of knowis AG’s engineering teams, is the first interviewee. He describes his tasks and gives insights into his daily work.
As a working student, you work part-time in a company alongside your studies. In addition to the often rather theoretical contents of the course, students gain practical professional experience, but also a lot of soft skills. This includes, for example, a self-organized way of working, problem-solving skills and team spirit. A job as a working student enables young talents to practice strategic thinking and presenting within their own small projects. At the same time, the job gives them an idea of their future work routine, which directly prepares students for the start of their career and offers them a chance to form a network of interesting business contacts even before graduation. Last but not least, it is also a great opportunity to earn a little money on the side.
A job as a working student might also be the perfect starting point for writing a bachelor’s or master’s thesis at the company. On the one hand, working on customer projects can make it easier to find a topic, because the practical application of theoretical knowledge often automatically reveals potential for in-depth analysis. On the other hand, the experience of colleagues and supervisors in the company is a great advantage when discussing specialist issues.
The only prerequisite for becoming a working student is that you are enrolled in a full-time course of study at a university or college. A maximum of 20 hours of work per week are allowed; however, you can work more hours during term break.
Are you a student too and interested in working part-time, or are you about to start with your thesis? In that case, the following interview with Sebastian Högl will certainly contain some useful information for you. Sebastian studies computer science at the university of applied sciences OTH (Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule) Regensburg and has been working at knowis since 2018.
"At knowis, I have the opportunity to enhance and extend an existing application – for me as a working student, this means that I can get to know technologies on the job that are not even part of the curriculum at my university."
Sebastian, you study computer science at OTH Regensburg – how did you come to work at knowis and what are your tasks?
At OTH Regensburg, it is compulsory to do an internship for one semester. In search of an internship in software development, I googled potential companies in the Regensburg area, came across knowis and thought “Sounds good, I’ll apply there.” I also checked social media and my university’s information system for additional information on knowis, as some students had already done an internship there before me. At that time, I was not fully aware of the banking background of knowis. However, you should not be intimidated by this; I realized during the job interview: “Team Bilanzkritik fits perfectly.” I felt comfortable from day one and supervision during my internship was very good. That's why I chose to stay with knowis and continued seamlessly as a working student after my internship. So I’m still part of the Bilanzkritik team and work there as a backend developer. I’m primarily focusing on the server application and the Java-based part of the client. In addition, I have also taken on tasks such as the creation of maintenance programs.
You are planning to write you thesis at knowis. What is the process for this?
I determined the topic together with my team leader and an experienced developer of the team. We sat down together to brainstorm about current topics that are suitable as a bachelor’s thesis and that I am interested in. The result: “Feature Analytics: Assessment and Prototypical, Technical Implementation of Event Tracking and Feature Usage Mechanisms Within the Framework of a Business-to-Business Application.” I have already made a rough draft of this topic and proposed this to one of the supervisors of the OTH. As soon as my topic is officially approved, I will be able to start. As it will be quite a lot of work to write my thesis, I will pause my working student job during this period. This means that I can concentrate exclusively on my bachelor’s thesis during my 20 hours per week at knowis and have nothing to do with the ongoing product development for the time being. This gives me flexibility and allows me to arrange my working hours in a way that is most convenient for me. Also, my internal company supervisors from my team at knowis are always there to support me with their expertise.
What have you learnt so far at knowis? Does your job there help you in your studies?
The computer science program at the OTH is generally very practice-oriented, but before knowis I was limited to my own small, isolated projects in the context of lectures or tutorials, which simply disappear from sight at the end of the semester and gather dust. At knowis I got the chance to work in a team of multiple developers for the first time – with a separation between frontend and backend. Instead of opening my IDE (integrated development environment) and starting from scratch, I’m working on an existing application and I’m advancing an existing architecture. This also means that I can explore technologies that are not part of the curriculum at my university.
Do you have any tips for other students regarding the application process or the final thesis?
The best tip to start with, I think, is: Just do it! So, in any case, look for a job as a working student in the professional field of your course, because putting what you have learned into practice in a company is something completely different from what you do in the lectures every now and then. At knowis, I can apply my knowledge and continuously improve my skills. What also helped me a lot during the application process was my personal interest in software engineering in general. During my school days, I was already part of a student-run company that took care of the IT equipment of our school, and I have remained enthusiastic about this subject until today. This is an important factor, especially when it comes to internships, and it helps you to find out if it really fits. Both for the applicant her- or himself, and on the part of the company.
Do you also work on any programming projects in your spare time?
I am a real geek and therefore of course have projects that I’m currently programming in my private time. Besides other hobbies, I’m secretary of our local skiing club and my current task is to bring our internet presence into the current decade. For this purpose, I am developing a modern web application that also works on mobile devices. At the same time – and this is the more complex part – I’m creating an administration tool that digitizes everything that is now managed on paper, such as course registration, vouchers, and membership data. So, programming is definitely a part of my life beyond work and study.
If you want to grow personally and plan the next steps during and after your studies, feel free to get in touch with us regarding any career questions. You can find current vacancies and insights into your future job on our careers site. We are looking forward to getting to know you!
In the next interview Prathibha Harihara, Software Developer at knowis, talks about her everyday work and what challenges she faces as a "working mom".
Image Source: Teaser: SIphotography - 952769210 - iStock