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Author's profile photo Jan Knapp-Holldorf

Sharing my journey to working at SAP starting with the IT-Camps4Youngsters

When I was young, there were two things I was interested in most: Sports and video games.

So, when my parents asked me if I wanted to participate in an IT-Camp where I could learn new things to do with my computer besides playing video games, of course I wanted to go there. Without exactly knowing what I was going to learn, I was really looking forward to the start of the camp – interested in anything having to do with computers and ready to have a great time. And I was not disappointed.

During my first IT-Camp, organized by the Young Thinkers and SAP University Alliances team, not only did I create my first PowerPoint presentation and build my first HTML website from scratch in one week, but I was also overwhelmed by so many other impressions I got to receive. For instance, “little me” felt like a professional being in an awesome SAP building and getting delicious food in the canteen. Moreover, I really enjoyed the lunch breaks because I was able to do all kinds of sports with the other kids participating in the IT-Camp. At the end of an eventful week, everyone’s parents came to the camp and watched us present our project. I remember feeling so proud while doing so, even if I maybe was a little nervous because there were so many people in the room watching me.

After having an amazing first IT-Camp week, I continued to visit other camps and that quickly became one of my holiday highlights. Apart from having lots of fun while learning new things, the IT-Camps also became a platform to meet participants who had become friends over the duration of a previous course.

From Participant to Trainer

When I turned 16, my parents told me about an IT-Camp course, where you can program your own robot – let´s be honest, how cool is that – and that the team were also looking for trainers to teach the course. After first visiting the course as a participant, I found myself in the junior coach role one year later, ready to pass on the knowledge I gained in the last years. While it was a strange feeling in the beginning – some of the participants were even older than me – I think I really grew into that role, learning key skills like taking responsibility and presenting in front of other people. I am more than glad I was exposed to these tasks from early on, so when I needed these skills in my last year of school, and also later at university and work, I was feeling much more comfortable than I otherwise would have.

After finishing school, I started studying computer science in more of a “traditional” way at a university. Fortunately, I could continue being a trainer at the IT-Camps during my semester breaks. While preparing a course in the office, I was told that the team was now looking for a working student and that if I was interested, I could apply for the role. I must admit I was insecure at first, unsure whether I could handle university and being a working student, but I just felt like it was too good of an opportunity to not at least try. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I made in life, and I am beyond grateful I was given the opportunity to start as a working student at SAP.

My work at SAP today

Fast forwarding two and a half years to today: I am still a working student at SAP University Alliances, still supporting the IT-Camps – not only as a trainer, but also as a part of the organization team now, while also taking responsibilities outside of the IT-Camps. Most importantly, I am still having a lot of fun performing these tasks and never stop learning new things.

My journey would not have been possible without all the great people around me here at SAP, but I especially want to thank Claudia Fürst, who guided me from being a kid in the IT-Camps up to today, and also Andrea, who enabled me to continue my journey with the IT-Camps on top of my working student responsibilities.

I am very happy and grateful for everything I was able to experience here at SAP & the IT Camps – and I am really looking forward to what’s yet to come!

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