Martin, you work at Unic as a Senior Application Engineer and at the same time you are responsible also for the support for our cooperative students in Branch Karlsruhe. Please give us an insight into the programme.
The cooperative IT programme at DHBW Karlsruhe combines theory and practice: during the six semesters of study, three months of the theory stage at the University are interlaced with three months of the practice stage at an enterprise. The University offers an opportunity to examine various topics scientifically. At the practice stage, such project works are carried out that refer to the acquired knowledge. This mix is an enormous chance, since students gain an insight into professional life early on. They can quickly place the knowledge acquired theoretically in a practice-oriented context, qualify and apply it and thereby solve problems in the professional environment with proved methods and oriented towards goals. Instead of different changing internships, the students as part of the Cooperative Studies have a fixed educational partner - such as Unic - which accompanies them over the whole period of study.
I am a coach for the cooperative students and accompany them at the practice stage at Unic with my many years’ specialist experience background. I wish to give them a perfect beginning of their professional lives. Because I myself went the path of the cooperative studies, I am able to accompany them on their path in an optimum way. Over three years we get to know each other well, I become aware of the inclinations and strengths of individual students and can provide a targeted support to a given person in their personal and professional development.
Please describe how the education of DHBW students is organised at Unic.
As a rule, students begin with a three months’ practice stage at Unic, during which they become acquainted with the company, colleagues and our culture. In addition, they receive initial technical insights, which make their start at the University easier. At the following practice stages we perform project works together, which involve new technologies and in which they can put the acquired knowledge into practice. The students contend with application-oriented topics that are relevant for Unic. The outcomes are incorporated in any form into internal or external projects. This greatly drives motivation.
Our goal is to have qualified software developers after three years, who will support us afterwards in the team.
What tasks are performed by students at Unic?
They assume the role of Application Engineers. Based on their examination of future-oriented technologies, they are able to evaluate new topics, solution paths and fields of application for Unic. At the same time we allow them to gain insights into projects so that they can become fully-fledged members of individual developer teams relatively fast.
How do you accommodate the additional work in your daily routine?
I reserve appropriate dates in my calendar for the education of the students so that I can concentrate on their personal and professional development. For example, we discuss the current progress of the project works, I support and review the current software developments and convey technical knowledge.
To what extent does Unic benefit from these beginners as an employer?
The deficit of specialists in our industry is enormous. That is why we are strongly engaged in education. We hit the jackpot when a student stays by us as a highly qualified specialist after the 3 years.
After the studies we introduce our newly educated Application Engineers to project teams, so that they can do what is mostly fun for them - execute exciting e-commerce projects together with their colleagues. Because they were team members already before, the initial entry barrier will be very low for them. In addition, research work performed by the students might be incorporated into our development process, which is greatly beneficial for us as a team.