17 July 2019Comments are off for this post.

Setapp Academy: How mentorship program boosts our soft skills

At Setapp, we care about learning and expanding our expertise. When we came up with an idea for an internship program, we didn’t only think about our future interns’ growth. What was of high importance to us, was that our current employees can work on their leadership skills.

Last time we interviewed Asenata, our intern in the development department. She shared her thoughts on her time at Setapp and what she gained from the Internship Program. This time we want to show you how the internship at Setapp looks from the other side - from the perspective of a mentor. Maciej, our software developer, took a very responsible role of being a mentor to Asenata. Let’s check what this internship meant to him!

Why did you decide to take part in the internship program?

I was looking for some challenges that would differ from my everyday programmer responsibilities and I felt the need to improve my soft skills. Moreover, working with people brings me joy, so when an opportunity presented itself, I was sure that’s the way I want to go. Our HR department suggested that we would be kicking off with the pilot internship program in our company and it coincided with me taking part in coaching sessions in order to guide me through my career path. I decided to give it a try and volunteered. 

Together with HR department, we decided that we would do something that could be beneficial for our intern Asenata and for the company. We didn’t want to develop application that wouldn’t be used and would be just easily forgotten. We decided to go with the absolutely interesting app I cannot share details right now (because it’s still in progress). I knew that joining internship program would allow to be part of the team of worthwhile project.

internphoto

How do you feel as a mentor? Did you find out something new about yourself?

It’s a great responsibility to be somebody’s first mentor. At first, I was concerned that I can’t pass knowledge in the right way. It’s tricky to find a balance between what you know and what novice programmer would need to learn. What is more, there is also a matter of what mentee actually expects they would learn and their involvement in whole internship process. 

Asenata is ambitious and she put a lot of pressure on me so she would learn as much as possible. But the fact that she was so much into improving her skills also motivated me more. We created a process that allowed me to divide time between my regular job and mentoring so it would be beneficial for both of us. My heart is filled with joy to see her making progress and becoming a better developer.

What I found out about myself is how much I can commit to whole project process that is not development. I was taking part in designing application, monitoring it’s development progress, delivering it. I felt responsible so Asenata would not only learn during the internship but also she would deliver meaningful, working application. I’ve also ensured that the better somebody’s understanding about the reasons behind the project, the easier it is to develop and be committed into it. I saw Asenata really putting a lot of effort into this and she was more willing to learn after she got to know the purpose of the application.  

I have also experienced how easy it is to get help from other departments, how easy everyone gets involved and wants to have an impact on the app functionalities and look and how all of this can bring more chaos than be helpful when it’s getting out of control. But we managed to work out a solution that was agile and satisfied everybody. 

intern2

What in your opinion can Setapp teach interns?

Many experienced developers work at Setapp and they are a huge knowledge base that could be shared. Many of these programmers could make a great mentor for interns. But that’s not only about programming. In Setapp we have experienced people in various areas for instance design, management, hr. You can come here and profit from people that kindly share their expertise.

When it comes to programming internship, you’ll learn the basics of development. In Setapp we don’t teach you specific programming language but we can guide you which one you could choose. We can show you the best practices of coding, show pros and cons of different solutions, help to find the balance between fast delivery and clean deliberate code. We can show you how to code efficiently in languages we are experts in and give you tips on others.

But we will also show you what modern developer should be aware of - that actual coding is only a part of this job. That it’s great if you not only know what you do but also why you do it. That you can and should have an impact on decisions about which way project is going by taking actively part in design meetings, being close to client. You will see all of it for yourself on the example of how we really work in Setapp.

Would you recommend participating in the program to others?

People think that being a mentor is probably not for everyone but I say you should give it a try. You shouldn't be forced, don't do this if you are not interested in putting effort to developing others. But if you're ready to share your knowledge, with a little help of HR guys you can become real mentor and you would get satisfaction out of helping young programmers.

Same goes about becoming an intern - I would totally recommend it.  Even if you are not experienced but you want to learn, Setapp is the place where you can actually shape your career path and improve a variety of skills from kind and supportive coworkers.

 

Are you ready to become a mentor?
Join Setapp and boost your soft skills!

21 February 2019Comments are off for this post.

How Setapp Academy creates space for young developers’ growth

If we really care about the future we need to focus on the present.  That’s why at Setapp we’ve decided to establish the Internship Program to support young talents interested in the IT area during their professional beginnings.  It’s inspiring to be surrounded by bold people constantly curious about everything around them. We believe that both sides can gain by exchanging experiences, ideas and energy.

Setapp has always been attracting extraordinary minds, continuously hungry for self-development.  Therefore, we are looking for people determined and passionate about what they do. Meet our first Intern - Asenata. Asenata is a student at Stanisław Staszic High School in Nowy Tomyśl. She became our intern through Poznan's University of Technology (Politechnika Poznanska) program aiming young talents. Asenata shared her thoughts with us about her internship at Setapp.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Asenata, I am 18 years old and I have recently started my adventure with Setapp. I have been passionate about computer programming since always. When I came across web development I decided to make my best efforts to become the most efficient web developer I can be. My biggest motivator is being able to make my own contribution to changing the world through projects that matter.

Why Setapp?

When you are at the beginning of your journey you do not really know what to expect 'in real life' from development environment. You are quite unsure about how to bring your dreams into specific actions, so what you are looking for is a friendly community of open-minded, experienced people, passionate about what they do, able to show you the way to achieve your goals. That is what I found at Setapp. Not only I can receive an in-depth technical training, including best programming practices, but what is more I am surrounded by people willing to help me to find my own path through web development, making it more significant.

What did you learn?

During only first two weeks of Internship I have learnt many lessons in relation to working as a web developer. From used technologies to dealing with clients. My mentor pointed me specific technical issues, needed to create useful product from scratch. Working on my own project I could implement most of them. I could take a closer look at teamwork, understanding the main assumptions about scrum. While spending time with HR's crew I have been taught what qualities a perfect employee should have, how to deal with job interviews and how software industry works in general. However the most important lesson for me is about the positive attitude and constant growth mindshift regardless small or bigger obstacles.

Asenata

What makes a good mentor?

Obviously, a good mentor should be an embodiment of patience and be approachable to new ones. My mentor at Setapp, Maciej, has both.  He has spent time with me getting to know my possibilities, to assign me well thought out tasks which let me grow my coding skills. I have always felt free to ask him for help or further instructions. Thanks to his skills and experience as a developer, which is another vital quality a good mentor should have, I could gain a good understanding of used  technologies, getting to know what is 'under the hood'.

What was the most interesting part of your Internship?

The most interesting part of my Internship was participating at team meetings and following plenty of actions, made to create a perfect product. Seeing how everyone's effort turns into specific software features is really motivating.

Did the Internship meet your expectations?

Internship at Setapp exceeded my expectations so far and it does not refer only to coding training. I feel fully supported by experienced people, who care about my future career and share with me their experience.

Do you think the Internship was beneficial to your future career?

Dealing with actual web development issues and being around highly skilled developers gave me many opportunities to improve, preparing myself to entering the job market. Gaining such experiences so early will definitely have a positive influence on my future career.

If you were to name 5 reasons why this Internship will benefit you, these would be…

This Internship is a perfect way to learn about what I am passionate about and put it into practice, achieving my goals. Pointing out what I think is most beneficial for me at Setapp I would say:

  • In-depth programming training
  • Team experiences
  • Company of professionals
  • Support when it comes to planning my career path
  • Friendly environment of people passionate about solving problems through technology

Note: Asenata's answers are original and have not been changed in any aspect

 

Stay tuned for our next articles on Setapp Academy!

7 November 2017Comments are off for this post.

The rise of the EdTech revolution – an interview with Olli Vallo

2017 will be remembered as the year of the 'EdTech rebound'. After a sluggish 2016 in terms of investments, the global EdTech market has fought back with more than 500 deals expected by the end of the year. One region which is performing exceptionally well is the Nordics. The region is flourishing with many promising EdTech startups making their way up the ladder.

So, who better to get a further insight into the Nordic EdTech scene (in particular Finland) than Olli Vallo from Kokoa Agency. We recently caught up with him at Setapp's inaugural Significant Hackathon, where he was invited to speak and mentor.

How did you start your journey with EdTech?

When I was a primary school teacher, I felt that there wasn't enough content in the teacher's manual and student exercise books to cover an entire lesson. This prompted me to come up with the idea of 'active assignments' which would keep the kids more active and motivated during lessons.

However, planning these assignments required a lot of time and effort from my side. I was spending over two hours on just lesson planning, while the class lasted only forty-five minutes. As I wasn't ready to use my personal time to plan the lessons, I just went with the flow during the classes!

The 'going with the flow' approach didn't really create anything special. The kids were getting frustrated and anxious, and started bullying each other. This made me very nervous as it was a challenge to keep the kids together and motivated to learn.

Eureka Moment!

Then I thought maybe technology could help me. I could use it to give meaningful and activating tasks to the students, as well as track their progress and have them create things using technology.

Since I was a musician, I had the idea for a music app which students can use during their lessons to compose music. I pitched it to some government organisations with my friend and found out that a similar solution already existed. I contacted the company and started to do my PhD research on composing music with computers by using their app to collect data from students.

After publishing my first research article, the company offered me a job and that's how I ended up working in the field of EdTech.

How has EdTech changed education in Finland in the last 5 years?

EdTech hasn't really changed education or the school system in Finland. In fact, we are still waiting for the 'big education revolution'. Apps like Shapes is changing the way students understand geometry. It has the potential to take mathematics learning to the next level.

shapes EdTech app Setapp

Shapes by Setapp

 

Like the Stanford professor of maths once said: " The invention of numbers caused a big revolution in maths."  The invention and use of tablets should be causing a similar revolution in learning maths. Having said that I'm optimistic that the big change is coming soon!

Do you think exposing kids to too much tech at an early age is good for their development?

I'd say too much of anything is bad. Even too much sport isn't good for kids. It's all about finding the right balance between using technology and doing other things.

I used to spend a lot of time in front of the computer, making music when I was a kid. For me 'my computer' was my instrument instead of a guitar or a piano!

kids tech

You can't artificially limit kids 'screen-time' and force them to go outside. You need to make them understand why it's essential to go and play outside and engage in “offline activities”.  They need to understand why it's not good to spend too much time in front of the screen.

What are the most significant changes you've witnessed in the EdTech community in the Nordics?

I'm happy to see the progress made in EdTech in the last five years. Companies have started to realise the true potential of their business by focusing on 'the value' their product will give to the customer rather than just aiming to maximise profits.

They are thinking along the lines of "maybe this could be used in schools" rather than solely planning the product on the thinking "I want to make $'XYZ' money". When you base your product on these values then the quality of the product increases.

Also, I've noticed increased cooperation among the Nordic countries. Initiatives like xEdu, the Nordic EdTech Awards and the Nordic Edtech Network are playing a pivotal role to strengthen this bond further.

How does Kokoa Agency verify EdTech products?

We compare the product against the 'learning sciences'. I've been using this analogy to describe what we do:

"If you are building an aeroplane you will probably look at the laws of aerodynamics and laws of physics to design it, so that it will stay in the air."

Similarly, if you build a learning app, you should be looking at the laws of learning and the learning theories to make learning applications efficient.

Olli Kokoa Agency

Olli Valli examining Mehackit, an EdTech solution

Is it crucial for an EdTech company to verify their product in the Nordics through Kokoa Agency?

I’d say that having a Kokoa Agency certificate is not that crucial. What's important is to provide the evidence that your product offers tangible outcomes in learning.

One way or another you can get the evidence. For instance, you can run long pilots and write a solid case study. This approach works just as well as our certification.

What are some of the most common mistakes made by EdTech startups?

  • Niche offering - The app is too niche! It's nice to have it, but it doesn't change the situation that much.
  • Value for money - If you want to introduce an app to replace books at schools, then it has to as comprehensive as the books (if not more). Why would a school pay 5 euros extra for your app if the books do as good a job as the app?
  • Quality of the application - The learning goals and the purpose for the users are unclear. Often what happens is that startups focus too much on the 'mechanics' of the app rather than focusing on its learning objectives. This is very much evident in the language learning apps where sometimes the emphasis is put too much on 'gamifying' the experience rather than creating content which will actually improve their vocabulary.

What are your thoughts on VR/AR in EdTech?

Immersive technologies like VR and AR bring additional value to the learning experience. You have a whole new dimension on how you can present your content and make learning an exciting experience.

ar vr edtech

Emotions are essential too! We know that emotional engagement can be a useful way of teaching. You learn a lot while watching a movie as it engages your emotions. So, if the emotional engagement is high in VR/AR, you can definitely use them to enhance learning.

Where is EdTech heading in the next five years?

Here are my top 3 predictions for the next five years:

  • Publishers will start producing good quality EdTech solutions for schools.
  • We will see an increase in Startup - Publisher cooperation.
  • The level of digitalisation in the Education sector is expected to rise from the current 2% to 5% during the next five years.

Finally, How was your experience at the Significant Hackathon?

It was awesome! The atmosphere was great and I really liked how Setapp focused on making the event fun for everyone. You often see a super serious competition where no one sleeps and everybody is stressed to win the contest. Which was not the case at the Significant Hackathon.

Many of the participating teams had a good understanding of the learning process. I believe you’ll see the teams producing high-quality pedagogical products in the near future.

 

shapes setapp edtech

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OUR OFFICES

PL: Wojskowa 6, 60-792 Poznań, Poland
+48 506 798 998
office@setapp.pl

ISR: 220 Hertzel Street, 7630003 Israel

COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.

VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

OUR OFFICE

Wojskowa 6, 60-792 Poznań, Poland
+48 506 798 998
office@setapp.pl

COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.

VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

 COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.
VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

OUR OFFICES

POL: Wojskowa 6, 60-792 Poznań, Poland
+48 506 798 998
office@setapp.pl

ISR: 220 Hertzel Street, 7630003 Israel

COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.
VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

OUR OFFICES

PL: Wojskowa 6, 60-792 Poznań, Poland
+48 506 798 998
office@setapp.pl

ISR: 220 Hertzel Street, 7630003 Israel

COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.

VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

OUR OFFICE

Wojskowa 6, 60-792 Poznań, Poland
+48 506 798 998
office@setapp.pl

COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.

VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

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