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“Take our Kids to Work” is an annual program in which Grade 9 students across Canada are hosted by parents, friends, relatives and volunteers at workplaces. 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 eight students on November 1st, 2017. The kids explored the world of working in a leading technology company by learning about the many jobs that happen to build a successful company.

Our goal was to show the students that there are a wide range of careers in technology that require a wide range of skills.

Our morning started with a workshop in the “d-shop” (the developer’s workshop) where students and their parents worked side by side to code IoT sensors using Arduino. Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. The boards are able to read inputs (in our case, putting a finger on a sensor), and turn it into an output (turning on an LED light). The students were able to build a circuit on a breadboard, and tell it what to do by sending a set of instructions to the Arduino microcontroller. They learned how sensors work as well as how to build and how to code them.

They also loved watching the 3D printer print name tags for them!

In the afternoon we gave the students hands on activities across different aspects of the business: Development, Consulting and Technical Support, Marketing, Public Relations, and Social Selling.

The students had the opportunity to learn to code a Tic Tac Toe application. 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 discussed the concept that computer programs rely on the person coding them to tell them how to make decisions. They also discussed the advent of artificial intelligence and how computers can learn and make decisions.

SAP’s social selling expert Kirsten Boileau taught the students the difference between using social media for personal use, marketing use and social selling. The kids then chose a product or new item that they were familiar with and learned how to write tweets to promote their product. They learned about hashtags and mentions and how to get your ideas across in a short, simple way.

We had technical consultant Chris Gruber and technical support coop student Ratanjot Luthra show the students what a role in consulting and technical support is all about. The kids explored the roles of being a technical support expert by one student delivering “support” for SnapChat to another student who was not familiar with the app. This taught the students how you have to break down instructions, and how important it is to listen to a customer’s needs to help them solve their problems.

Marketing expert David Jonker taught the kids about how Big Data is relevant to the “Barcode of Life” mobile app. The kids each received a kit to identify species by DNA testing and learning about how Big Data can be used in the real world.

Our Analyst relations team member, Terry Orsborn and I shared what public relations is all about. We explained who the press are, why they are important to businesses and how press releases work. The kids then wrote a headline and quote about their day at SAP. Their reflections of their day at SAP made the whole session worthwhile. “Grade 9 day at SAP was better than a day at school”.

After the day, the parents enjoyed the opportunity to talk about their own work experiences with their kids. In fact, one student told his father that “Your job isn’t as boring as I thought.” We’re excited to be able to share life at SAP with a future generation of potential employees.

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