On February 5th, 25 students from the engineering school Centrale Paris came to visit SAP Labs Paris. This appointment was a first experience in software development for most of them and deconstructed some myths they could have had about this industry and its jobs. Learning more about the different roles that exist in this domain, they also understood why software companies like SAP are looking for open-minded, curious, rigorous and creative engineers.
In 2010, The Social Network movie highlighted the genesis of the most famous online social networking service Facebook and his founder Mark Zuckerberg. It did more than telling how the company was born and became successful: it also contributed to spread the cliché of the developer: geek, clearly asocial, except on his virtual networks, and only focused on gaming and science-fiction. Despite some of developers can sometimes display such a behavior (I clearly heard the Star Wars music when the smartphone of one my colleagues rang in the office this morning!), continuing to believe in this stereotype is a heavy mistake.
Why developers are more than geeks.
This cliché is often due to a lack of knowledge regarding the jobs in software development. Some of the recent movies I have watched always showed programmers tapping on their keyboards and looking at the binary code scrolling on their screens. And all were trying to save the world! Although I didn’t doubt that developers can also save the world, I know that their job is more complex and I know, more importantly, that we cannot reduce a career in software development to this.
Developer, product manager, tester, technical writer, user experience expert, etc., these titles are more than just titles: they reflect the diversity of jobs and profiles that exist in a software company. Of course, developing a product is not just only writing lines of code. Above all, it’s necessary to understand clearly what end-users want, what they need. Plus, now that we all are connected hopefully with the most recent and desirable smartphone, continuously, at home as much as at work, we expect a lot. Nowadays, it’s unimaginable to work on a software or solution that cannot deliver the most, at least the same beautiful experience than our personal apps.
They are customer-oriented and open to the world!
Therefore, the engineers who work in a software company are no longer product-oriented but customer-oriented and attempt to deliver value-added experiences. SAP is thus looking for talented professionals able to understand – and respond to – the end-user needs. Belonging to the Y Generation, the students from Centrale Paris were clearly able to understand beyond the clichés why the employees in the software industry work for a new way to consume, for the change and therefore for the innovation.