“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 ten students on November 14th, 2018. 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.
In the SAP Waterloo office, we gave the students hands on activities across different aspects of the business: Development, Marketing, Digital Selling, UI Design and Design Thinking.
The students visited the “d-shop” (the developer’s workshop) where they worked side by side with their parents and SAP developers Eric Farrar and Bill Frier to code IoT sensors. They were able to build a circuit on a breadboard, and learned how sensors work as well as how to build and code them. Next they explored 3D printing with Russ Chamberlain and learned how to create a 3D model, how a printer works and how business use them. Each student received their name printed as a 3D name tag.
David Wellstood, a software engineer taught the kids about the role of being a software developer and how he enjoys the challenge of problem solving. The kids did a tic-tac-toe development exercise and learned about the advent of artificial intelligence and how computers can learn and make decisions.
Marketing expert Karen Steer taught the kids about the many marketing jobs at SAP and how companies market and build their brands. The students provided great insight into SAP’s own advertisements featuring Clive Owen (Best Run Businesses and Thinking). While they didn’t recognize the actor, they analyzed the impact of the ads on their target audience, noting their simplicity, engaging nature and use of humour to make an impact.
SAP’s digital selling expert Kirsten Boileau taught the students the difference between using social media for personal use, marketing use and selling. The kids then took on a project to promote a “food tasting event” to their target audience, learning how to use social media to promote their event. Their ideas included working with celebrities, creating ‘unskippable’ YouTube ads (only 15 seconds long), radio ads and more. Their creativity was amazing!
At the end of the day, Design thinking expert, Diana Healy, and user experience expert, Sandra Loop, taught the kids the importance of conducting user research when developing a new product. The students went through the steps to research and design a Canada’s Wonderland mobile app, including sketching the screens.
Overall, the students enjoyed the hands on aspects of this busy day, and the SAP Waterloo parents enjoyed the opportunity to talk about their own work experiences and share life at SAP with this future generation of potential employees.