Student societies are the cradle of each university. They are bottom-up student initiatives focused on self-development. So, do IT firms view them as gold mines for talent?
At hero/dot we cherish all extracurricular activities undertaken by our workers during their time at the university. We believe that the hard work done in student societies cannot go unnoticed, whether during recruitment or while working for the company.
We spoke to some of our team members about their experiences participating in student societies and the impact it had on their careers. Let’s talk to Kacper Antos and Tetiana Borysiak of hero/dot!
Kacper Antos – Developer
Kacper is one of our brightest and most promising .NET Developers. Before his story with hero/dot began, Kacper (a student of Politechnika Wrocławska) was a member for 4 years and the head of the KREDEK science club for 3 years. It was in a circle of enthusiasts for programming web and mobile applications that he excelled at programming skills.
1. What does Kacper have to say about his participation in the science society?
The semester-long course for programmers included a lecture given by members as well as live-coding sessions. According to Kacper, this type of learning had a positive impact on the participants’ self-development, and the ability to work together on coding in one room allowed them to learn and evaluate their work as a group.
2. Was the society popular with participants?
Kacper says that before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of participants reached up to 100. Furthermore, people came with great enthusiasm, taking notes in notebooks or on laptops, and later using this knowledge in other classes or projects.
It even happened that during the general curriculum classes, I heard students sigh with relief from the back bench, who quietly said – phew, ok, we’ve already covered that in KREDEK classes.
3. How did this course affect Kacper’s skills?
Because the course was so extensive, the university curriculum posed no major challenges. Because of it, Kacper could easily approach learning more advanced topics like Python or artificial intelligence. During one of the team projects, the knowledge gained during KREDEK classes made it easier for him to switch from programming in C# to Java in a short time.
4. Did participation in the science society help you gain experience and a job?
“For me, personally, it’s 100% true,” says Kacper. In addition to the knowledge gained at the student society, the club project in cooperation with an external company helped him a lot. Thanks to his experience working in the company, Kacper gained experience working with clients. What’s more, Kacper mentions that after the first semester of activity in the science club and cooperation with an external company, he got a job offer from the company.
Thanks to my work at the club, the company knew what values and skills I represented, and colloquially speaking, I was a safe bet for them.
Tetiana Borysiak – HR
Tetiana is part of our HR team; she knows our team inside and out because no new employee will be hired without her participation! During her studies, Tetiana was also active in the Enactus student organisation (at the Wrocław University of Economics), so she knows best how much work in the student society affects the recruitment process and candidates’ chances of getting a job offer.
1. What exactly was Tetiana’s role in Enactus?
In her branch of Enactus, Tetiana was a project team member for almost 2.5 years. Tetiana participated in various projects at Enactus, contacted stakeholders, kept records, and reported all meetings — basically, she kept everything in neat order (exactly how she does it at Herodot).
2. What exactly is the purpose of the society?
Enactus Poland was created by people who believe that it is worth investing in the development of students. Their aim is to:
- strengthen the bonds between the best employers and the best students,
- create opportunities to exchange knowledge and experience,
- cultivate the power of creative creation through ethical projects and initiatives.
3. What did Tetiana’s participation in Enactus look like?
One of the biggest undertakings that Tetiana was part of, was the NeedleYouNeed project.
NeedleYouNeed concentrated on producing blankets from recycled clothes, but the final product was more than just a blanket — the project established an important cross-generational relationship between young entrepreneurial brains and experienced professionals.
In the end, our project was part of a competition, where we got a chance to speak to a jury made up of business people. It was a great experience to see our project viewed and talked about by business executives (almost like on Dragon’s Den).
4. How, in Tetiana’s opinion, do extra-curricular activities at the university impact the recruitment process?
From personal experience, Tetiana indicates that previous employers were always interested in her activities with Enactus — what’s more, it was always a topic during her first recruitment interviews.
Such extracurricular activity is always a good indicator of an employee’s prospects in the context of a job search. This means that the employee tries to go a step further and gain more experience by working harder and taking time for self-development.
Very often, young adults just starting their careers are afraid that, without solid work experience, they will not get a job. Nothing could be further from the truth, experience gained in student societies is a huge asset. I found out about it myself, and now I take it into account when reviewing candidates’ CVs.
Participation in the activities of the science club is a lifetime experience. It doesn’t just give extra points towards a student’s grade, but in the long term, it creates multiple job opportunities.
If you’re a young student looking for a job in IT, don’t let this chance slip away and sign up for a society of your choice. Maybe one day we’ll talk about your experience during a job interview. If you’re a business reading this, try and talk to your local student societies. There’s a lot of talent out there that, with a little help, can become solid employees for the future.
If you want to read more about the HR topic, check out our previous article here!