Fit for the future – Students explore the IT industry
“Made in Germany – Made in India – The revolution in information technology and its social and cultural influences on Kaiserslautern and Trivandrum” is the motto of a joint project of the Hohenstaufen-Gymnasium Kaiserslautern (HSG) and the Christ Nagar School in Trivandrum, India. The project is performed in the context of the “German-Indian Classroom”, an initiative developed by the Robert Bosch Foundation that already takes place for the third time this year. The Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE in Kaiserslautern and the Working Group KL•CONNECT Women took this opportunity to invite the students of the India afterschool club of the HSG to a workshop on 09 December 2013, where they received information about the various areas of work in the IT industry and were shown how exciting and diverse this profession is.
“Software and information technologies are integrated into all kinds of everyday items today – even into entire living and working environments – and have evolved into major components of our lives. The impact of information technologies on our everyday lives is huge, and the demand for software and IT in all areas has strongly increased”, stated Prof. Dieter Rombach, executive director of Fraunhofer IESE, at the beginning of the workshop in his presentation entitled “Software and IT in our Everyday Lives”. “Our region is home to a multitude of innovative software and IT companies, which ensure safe jobs and continue to boost our economy. Software therefore has an extremely positive impact on our region.”
This statement was also confirmed after the presentation, when the participating students presented the results of a brief survey they had conducted among passersby in downtown Kaiserslautern, asking them: “Which role do software and IT play in Kaiserslautern?” It turned out that for the majority of the people surveyed, this issue is very much present in this region. The Department of Computer Science of the University of Kaiserslautern and the numerous local research institutes enjoy an excellent reputation, and the technology hub Kaiserslautern is very well known.
During the IT circuit training that followed, the various areas of work offered in and around IT were presented. IESE staff from the areas of IT administration, IT project management, IT research, and IT marketing demonstrated at four different stations how they got their jobs and what the prerequisites are for choosing these jobs.
Then it was time for the students to become active. During a compact application training session, the so-called “elevator pitch”, they learned how to sell themselves well within a short timespan (“in the time span of an elevator ride”). Stories, pictures, and examples, in particular, tend to remain in the other party’s memory very well. They get the attention of the other person and reach him/her on the emotional level. Following the motto “Time is Money”, this method is also being increasingly used for short business presentations. The IESE staff members did, of course, provide advice to the students and offered many important tips and tricks to the young “applicants”. They also provided information on the numerous regional internship opportunities and encouraged their protégés to do internships in the area of IT during their school lives.
In the final plenary session, the students discussed the course of the afternoon with the IESE employees. The unanimous assessment by the workshop participants: “This afternoon, we learned a lot. It was interesting to see how many different areas of work the IT industry comprises and how large the impact of IT and software is on our everyday lives and on our region!” The students want to take the lessons they learned during the preparation for the workshop and at the workshop itself to India. In January 2014, a visit to Trivandrum – which itself is a center of the IT industry in India – will offer them an opportunity for mutual exchange about the job opportunities in the IT industry and the individual locations, and will allow them to learn from each other. Being able to make international comparisons based on good knowledge about one’s own region expands the horizon and strengthens intercultural competencies: “My vision is to create new forms of collaboration!” says Eckart Fest, teacher at the Hohenstaufen-Gymnasium and co-organizer of the project. A vision that is so exciting that the school is able to get support from science and industry.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE
Fraunhofer IESE in Kaiserslautern is one of the worldwide leading research institutes in the area of software and systems engineering methods. A major portion of the products offered by its customers is defined by software. These products range from automotive and transportation systems via automation and plant engineering, information systems, health care and medical systems to software systems for the public sector. The institute’s software and systems engineering approaches are scalable, which makes Fraunhofer IESE a competent technology partner for organizations of any size from small companies to major corporations.
Under the leadership of Prof. Dieter Rombach and Prof. Peter Liggesmeyer, the contributions of Fraunhofer IESE have been a major boost to the emerging IT hub Kaiserslautern for more than fifteen years. In the Fraunhofer Information and Communication Technology Group, the institute is cooperating with other Fraunhofer institutes to develop trend-setting key technologies for the future.
Fraunhofer IESE is one of 60 institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Together they have a major impact on shaping applied research in Europe and contribute to Germany’s competitiveness in international markets.