SAP Labs France: Students are much appreciated, by Stéphane Clavier
For years, the development labs at Caen hosts internships and apprenticeships. This is a win-to-win exchange during which the young professionals acquire a first professional experience and learn a lot about SAP organisation and products, while they provide us with mastery of the state-of-the-art of new technologies, and a fresh look on our processes and activities.
Several Types of Hosted Students
Few weeks long internships are intended to students in second or third year of higher education (e.g.: during the last year of a two year undergraduate degree such as French “DUT”, or during the third year of a Licence of the European LMD system). During short internships, the student work as a developer on a specific subject. Most of time, the student does not work directly inside SAP product, but codes some part of development or test tools which help SAP developers with their day-to-day activities.
Internships 5 to 6 months long are intended to students during their last year of Master degree (or during their last year of engineering school). During long internship, the student has time to approach complex problems. The student frequently act as an additional resource focused on a medium large development of internal tools, or on applied research topic which can be helpful for both our product and our development environment.
Work/Study Training Program
Work/study training programs are mainly intended to apprentice engineers alternating 5 weeks at school and 5 weeks at work during 3 years, up to their engineering degree. Some other organisation exists as well, such as 3 days/2 days alternating for some other degrees. Such program maintained over time enables the student to work on a larger project, in close cooperation with his/her mentor and other colleagues. Apprentice engineers hold an actual work contract for the 3 years duration of their study and are fully considered as colleagues by people at SAP Labs.
A Win-To-Win Exchange
After a while within SAP organisation, the student, which is a near future professional, becomes a perfect ambassador of the company. Very often he/she learned some of our product and understood anyway the richness of the SAP ecosystem and line of products. What a better way to infuse SAP technology in the business community.
Moreover, the relationship between SAP and the student is not closed at the end of the internship or apprenticeship. Quite often, this is in fact the beginning of a longer cooperation. Students in short internships come back for a longer time later or become apprentice when starting the engineering school. Depending on situation, long internship trainees can be proposed an employment directly at the end of the internship. As a matter of fact, not a promise for future, all apprentice engineers for years have been recruited by a SAP entity just after they obtain their degree.
Students’ Point of View
The best way to illustrate is to give the student or ex-student a chance to speak. Below Isra and Chloé give us their feeling about internship and apprenticeship at SAP Labs – Caen.
Isra has just completed a Master degree in computer science (Information System, Networks and Security) at University of Le Havre. She started her internship at SAP Labs from mid-Marsh 2016. She worked on an applied research subject related to XML Schema compatibility. Since this interview conducted during her internship, she has been hired as a Developer Associate at SAP SE, Walldorf, Germany.
Isra, can you tell us more about your curriculum?
Isra: I’m in second year of a master’s-degree program in Information System, Networks and security at University of Le Havre. Our program covers the main areas of computer science. I’m mostly interested in web and software development. In 2014, I completed my bachelor’s degree in computer network management at University of Carthage in Tunisia. I have pursued two internships during this program. The first one was for one month, I learned the basic network configuration. The second one was for four months, I worked on developing an IBM Lotus Notes application.
Why did you choose SAP for your final year internship?
Isra: I choose SAP because it’s a very reputed company in IT industry. It has a well-structured internship program that offers a good learning opportunity and guidance of good experienced people in a pleasant working environment. Also because, the topic that I’m working on is exactly what I have been looking for. I have a chance to improve my knowledge and my development skills by solving real problems. So, SAP seems to be the best choice for my final internship and the beginning of my career.
What is challenging or exiting with the topic you are working on?
Isra: The aim of my project is to find ways to prove that an XML schema is backward compatible with his previous versions. What’s really exciting about this topic is that I get to work on a real problem and to experience the design process from problem formulation and brainstorming solutions through prototyping and testing. It includes several engineering aspects as mathematical spirit and advanced algorithmic treatments. It gives me the chance to apply methods and theories learned in classes, to develop new skills and refine others. The challenge of this topic is to try to come up with a high quality feasible solution.
Chloé enrolled in SAP Labs France – Caen in 2012 as an apprentice engineer of ENSICAEN (engineering school). She’s now a Developer Associate at SAP Labs.
Chloé, what was your state of mind in 2012 when you started your apprenticeship?
Chloé: When I first started at SAP Labs France – Caen I was really stressed and shy. But the warm welcome form the SAP family help me to be comfortable in the company.
From your point of view, what was the benefit of an apprenticeship compared to the classical curriculum?
Chloé: The first reason that pushes me to start an apprenticeship was financial. But I very soon discovered that the benefices was not only financial. I discovered the company its environment and its members.
For me everything was completely new, and it’s allowed me to evolve a lot. I progressively started to feel more comfortable and now I’m less shy. That’s why after my apprenticeship I was able to start a new life in Dublin (Ireland) and meet a lot of new great people.
What is your career path from the time you get your engineering degree?
Chloé: After my apprenticeship I spent seven months within the Centre of Expertise (CoE) in the SAP Service and Support in Dublin (Ireland) where I was hired. During that period I first learned about Hybris development and after several weeks my major topic became SAP Convergent Charging.
It’s in that context that I came back in Caen for one month to be trained in supporting the L3 support team of India. That’s how I spent three weeks in one of SAP client in India.
Any insight regarding you future?
Chloé: Now I back in SAP Labs France – Caen, my goal was to join the support team. I first integrated the development team to get familiar with the development tools. Since few weeks now I’m following the support activities to learn as much as possible before the end of this month. The reason is at the beginning of next month I will officially be a part of the support team.
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