5Th February 2019

Trainee from Russia: who says that IT and cars are just for men?

As many young people do after high school graduation, I decided to enroll in the Faculty of Economics at Saint-Petersburg State University, in my hometown. The course I chose was Business Informatics, even though I was not entirely sure what to expect from it. I told myself: “Ok, you don’t know what it really is, but at least you’re in, so let’s take a risk” – and so, my path in IT began.

I remember sitting at my first programming class, thinking how I could pass my first exams quickly and then transfer to a “normal” Economics course. There was a lot of math, statistics and other subjects which names I could not even pronounce. One time I had to make a programmable calculator, which meant I suffered 3 days with a YouTube video called “How to make a calculator on Java in 15 minutes.”  It took me 3 days instead of 15 minutes: this profession definitely seemed to suit me.

I barely passed the first exams, but during the first 6 months, I really started to get interested in the topic. Hereinafter, we began to attend classes with a higher degree of specialization, started to have internships in IT-companies, and designed prototypes of our own IT systems. After some time, I got myself closer to Business Analytics, which was one of the foundations of my graduate thesis.  After graduating, I applied for a Double Degree program within the Technical University of Ilmenau in Germany.             

Together with two of my friends, we went to Germany for the second year of our Master’s. Apart from studying, we travelled a lot across Europe and met heaps of great new people. The stories from our studying experience were so good, they were even published in local newspapers!

We also became friends with a few Russian folks from the Faculty of Automotive Engineering, and on one occasion, they invited us to go to the VW GROUP Autostadt, in Wolfsburg. The day we spent there, was super interesting to me: who says the automotive industry is just for men? From that moment on, I kept in mind how promising and innovative the car industry was getting.

I came back to Russia and started working as an IT-analyst in one of the largest companies in Saint-Petersburg. For one year and a half, I worked on many interesting projects, gained experience, participated in conferences and professional events – but I’m an explorer and I love the idea of discovering new and different things.

As a result, in the spring of 2018, I started to look for graduate programmes in European companies. ŠKODA’s Trainee Programme really caught my eye, thanks to its variety: different departments to work in and the possibility to meet loads of new people, a rotation abroad, Trainee rounds and breakfasts with managers, not to mention outdoor activities.

I passed the first stages of the application process and was invited to the Assessment Centre. It was my first experience with a group interview format: I was madly worried, but a meeting in the Pub before the AC with current Trainees helped me calm down. The next day, I passed the AC! I remember thinking: “Wow, this is the beginning of a new stage of my life”.

I am just at the beginning of my journey at ŠKODA AUTO, and I am in a team responsible for supporting SAP applications for the HR department. Since ŠKODA’s IT department is massive, my manager and I are planning for me to do several rotations, so I can gain knowledge and skills through the whole process: from the design and development to production, logistics and marketing. IT supports the entire development: when you think about it, without IT, not even one car could be produced today

If you can learn something from my experience, it is that if you are really enthusiastic, you’re looking for something new or just want to find the right path for starting your career – go for it! Be it the Trainee Programme or something else, don’t be afraid of difficulties and obstacles: they can help you find yourself and bring you to success.

Anna Shumskaia, Trainee – IT for Steering and Support Processes

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