“Take our Kids to Work” is an annual program in which Grade 9 students are hosted by parents, friends, relatives and volunteers at workplaces across Canada every November. The program supports career development by helping students connect school and the business world, and helps students think ahead for their own futures. At SAP Waterloo, we welcomed seven students on November 4th, hoping to teach the kids about the world of working in a leading technology company as they begin to explore possible careers.
To be successful, students need to understand new technologies and how businesses operate – what better place that at SAP. Our goal was to complement the student’s in school learning by showing them what “A day in the life at SAP” is all about. While some days we are tied to our desks madly coding, writing documentation or creating presentations, we wanted to give these kids a taste of the workplace that is fun and engaging.
We put together a great agenda including a workshop in the “D-Shop” (Design Shop) that showcased how coding can be fun. The kids explored Lego Mindstorms by building creations to perform specific actions, and tried out Oculus Rift to see what it is like experience things through the power of virtual reality.
In the afternoon we gave the students a taste of seven different aspects of the business: Operations, Development, Technical Support, Technical Writing, Marketing, Events Management and Social Selling.
David Wellstood, a software engineer at SAP taught the kids about the role of being a software developer and how he enjoys the challenge of problem solving. He made a great analogy about how building a specific feature into a software app can be like building a car. You need to understand the exact specifications of what kind of car you need and the features you want it to have. He advised that when you write code, you need to think about how to make your code easy for futures coders to be able to understand it.
We had three technical support coop students show the students what a role in technical support is all about. Coop student Perlanie Panganiban explained how the coop program helps students gets prepared for the future and shows them how what you learn at school can be applied in the real world. She said “The coop program gives you good experience on your resume to help you figure out what you want to do for your career and get the job you want in the future.”
We closed off with a session by SAP’s social selling expert Kirsten Boileau who taught the students the difference between using social media for personal use, marketing use and social selling. She had the kids create tweets to promote a video game for both marketing promotion and social selling.
The feedback we got from the kids was great. They really enjoyed learning about the “Barcode of Life” mobile app and receiving a kit to identify species by DNA testing and learning about how Big Data can be used in the real world. They were able to see the variety of skills that are required in a workplace like SAP. My personal perk was giving my son the opportunity to appreciate my own work and personal motivation at SAP.
I also received great feedback from the parents who now have the opportunity to talk about their own work experiences with their kids. We’re excited to be able to share life at SAP with a future generation of potential employees.