This blog post was written by Atanu, a Software Development And Entrepreneurship student at Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences.
What is a job shadowing? This is a type of on-the-job training that allows an interested employee to follow and closely observe professional as he/she works.
Job Shadowing at Ülemiste City is an annual event, organized by Ülemiste City Talent Centre where hundreds of students are invited to various national and multinational companies based in Ülemiste City. Students get the chance to observe company culture, shadow their day-to-day work, ask tons of questions, and eventually get an internship or full-time job.
Hi fellow students!
If you think of a country like USA- what comes first to your mind?
A lot of things, I know!
But I can bet among all those things, companies like Google, Microsoft or Tesla must have come to your mind too. In this era of globalization, companies not only represents a country’s image but also the industrious proust and technological advancements. A great country must have great companies, that fact is proven. After all, when we graduate, many of us would like to work in those world-renowned companies.
Do you know some of the greatest companies in Estonia? If you could think of Wise, Bolt, Pipedrive or Starship: Bravo! But I assure you, they are just some of the hundreds.
Wouldn't it be nice if there were some opportunities to visit one of those companies for a day, see their company culture first-hand, peek at how they operate, meet their amazing team, observe their day-to-day work and finally get internships or part-time jobs? If that seems impossible, I assure you that’s exactly what I did at Job Shadowing Day. Although every one of us who were selected for the event had a very vivid, but different experience, I will only be able to tell my experience of shadowing at one of the greatest Estonian companies: Helmes.
I have come to know Helmes for the first time at Ülemiste City Future Forum. In that Hack4Future hackathon, companies like Helmes gave us their problems and we tried to create a business idea that can solve the problems. Every team had dedicated mentors from the companies.
Although my team did not take Helmes’s problem, they tried their best and gave as much encouragement as possible. I didn’t realize it at first, but that was the first glimpse of Helmes’s values. So, when I was given the choice of companies to shadow as a Junior Java Developer, Helmes was my obvious choice.
Around 9:20 I reached Öpiku Conference Centre, 2nd floor, room Kosmos. I met my friends there and we had morning snacks and coffee.
At 9:45am, we were introduced to Katrin Slug (Head of Talent Services & main organizer of the event), Kirke Metsa (Content Manager), and Julius Stokas (Head of Customer Experience).
Mr. Julius Stokes Introduced us to Ülemiste City and gave a short but wonderful presentation titled “Ülemiste City as your possible new working environment in the future”.
In the presentation, he describesd among other things, Ülemiste City's history, vision and mission as one of the oldest and largest smart cities, how they are striving to make the home of world-class companies and their future plans.
As a resident (as of writing, more than a year) of Ülemiste City, I must say their actions have spoken louder than words.
After that, Katrin Slug introduced herself and described the event, acquainted us to the companies and their representatives, and talked in detail over the years how positive the impact has been.
After that, we met the selected company representatives and went to their offices.
We arrived at Helmes and got a warm welcome from the HR team. We checked in and had a tour of the office. I must say, seldom I have seen such a wonderful office. Then we sat in a meeting room and got a bag full of gifts from Helmes.
Liis-Marii Männimägi (HR Manager & Employee Experience Specialist) brought us some snacks and coffee. I asked her for a beer (it was a challenge from Kirke Metsa :D). But the luck would have it, they just ran out.
Then we met the Chief Information Security Manager. She was very glad to meet us, greeted us individually, asked us about our background and career goals. Then she described her previous work experience (which was very interesting) and descried in great length about her role at Helmes. Information Security is quite a complex topic. But I must say, the way she described it in down to earth language, really surprised me. But of course, we also asked a lot of questions like:
- What is your day-to-day job look like?
- Why is this role so important?
- Prevention is better than protection. How do you achieve that?
I was so fascinated with her answers that I lost track of time.
Then we met theTeam Lead (Mr Kert) who quietly slipped in the room when we were talking. By the looks, we concluded that the Team Lead was very busy and indeed he was (after the presentation, he had to warp back to a meeting.). But that didn’t stop him from giving us a really great presentation about Helmes (team structure, technologies, tools, corporate values and much much more).
And we didn’t stop ourselves from bombarding him with questions like:
- How do the teams work with different tools?
- If your teams work independently, how does Helmes prevents making employee cloys?
- How do you define DevOps and what are the use cases of DevOps tools in your company?
- How does 7-day Sprint work?
As an IT student, it was my moment and by jolly, I did not let him go that easily. He was really happy to see our curiosity.
So, by any chance, Mr. Kert, if you are reading the blog, I really really appreciate your time and effort.
Then I finally met my shadower, Vanessa Jalakas (Full Stack Software Developer). We decided to get acquainted over lunch. Three other employees also joined us, just to have a chat, share their work and experience at Helmes. During the lunch, we discussed our backgrounds, life goals, why we chose IT, what it's like to be an IT engineer and much more. We laughed, joked and had a very memorable hour.
Then we returned and she took us to her office. I had been studying IT for almost 2 years now. So, I was waiting for this for a long time. She showed how an application works, showed us about a bug that she has been working on and how she was fixing it. It was very technical. So, I will not dive into it. One of the rewarding aspects of being a software engineer is that what you will build would be visible through the web and millions of people will use it.
She showed us a project that she had worked on and described with great joy how thousands of people are using it. It was the most rewording part of this event and to be honest, I was also a bit sad. Despite writing software for almost two years, I haven`t built anything a single user could really use. But it also ignited a challenge into my soul.
Unfortunately, it was 14:45pm and we had to wrap up. One of our shadowers just decided to skip the rest of the event and stayed at Helmes. For a moment I was thinking doing the same. All the employees whom I have just met really had great personalities. They were so passionate about the work that they do. I regret that I didn’t have the time to know them a bit more. But I must say, Vanessa really was a wonderful person. I have only met her for few hours, but it was enough to ascertain that during my short life I haven`t seen such a passionate, enthusiastic, and optimistic personality.
Overall, the experience at Helmes was beyond my imagination. I was expecting a general greet and meet event, but oh boy, I was wrong! For a moment I really forgot that I was there for a day. They treated me as one of them and tried their best to make our experience memorable. Helmes truly values their employees above all and gives them the space to grow to become a better version of themselves. The care and effort they give to individuals ultimately, in my mind make it such a great place to work and thrive. Hopefully, I will get that chance (fingers crossed).
We returned to the venue. After returning we had snacks and drinks, networked with business and the students and listened to their experiences in a talk show-like, free atmosphere.
Then the last part of the event Job Shadowing Day “Talk Show” began. First company representatives were invited to share their experience.
Some of the questions include:
- How were the reactions of the students?
- What did they find most interesting?
- How do your companies help students thrive?
After that, volunteers were invited to share their experience. Yes, you guessed it right, I answered the call.
Some of the questions include:
- Did you get a selfie from the CEO? (It was also a challenge)
- Did the office have Sauna? What were the most interesting you find in the office?
- What did you love the most about the company?
- How did the event inspire you? (I said I would study even harder :D)
At last, the time arrived and sadly we had to end the event. I am anxiously looking forward for next year. Hopefully I will see you there as well.
See you in the next blog!
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Read more blog posts:
- Studying in Estonia: Frequently Asked Questions