Creating a positive and engaging working environment, that attracts and keeps employees, is an important ambition for MicroDoc. Our employees are our most important resources and as employer, we see it as our responsibility to continuously attract new talents and enable a great start into their careers. Our aim is to provide students with the opportunity to gain experience from working within ICT and explore what alternative specializations there are to pursue. The advantage of our internship is that they can do it in a safe environment and rely on a mentor that can guide them with their challenges.
By: Isabelle Borchsenius
Marketing, Communication and Sustainability Manager | Data Respons
Scholarship programs during bachelor or master studies
Here at MicroDoc (a leading supplier of Java™ technology), we are always seeking for specialists and full-stack developers, so if you are interested in an exciting challenge, you can read more about how MicroDoc uses scholarly programs to help students gather working experience and build a professional network.
We have asked two of our interns, Rahel and Anton, and their mentor, Regine, to share their experience from working at MicroDoc.
Three employees share their experience from internships at Microdoc
Rahel Kleineichholzer, 21 years old, studies Computer Science.
What is the most important aspect for you to choose MicroDoc as employer?
When I was looking for an internship, I mainly focused on diversity in things they do. I wanted to have the possibility to try out many things and have the choice to switch competence-field if I wanted to. In the beginning, I worked with web development, now I focus on hardware. I think it’s outstanding to find this kind of freedom in an internship. MicroDoc has shown a flexible mindset, plenty of possibilities and flat hierarchies. I really feel like every employee is on the same level. This creates a relaxed atmosphere and makes problem-solving easy.
What do you do at MicroDoc?
Currently, I am working on an embedded systems project for my research paper for university. My task is to develop a software bridge for automatization regarding different CAN (Control Area Network) interfaces for Linux systems.
Through these practical tasks, I gain insight in software development and get the chance to explore what kind of field in software development I like. It’s really hard to find out what you like and which way you want to go in future, without having some hands-on working experience.
What is the most important lesson you have learned during the internship?
I learned that when I have a question, I should always ask. This mindset is heavily promoted by MicroDoc. My colleagues always encourage me to ask questions. This teamwork aspect is also something I learned through the internship. When you’re stuck with a problem, someone else can help you.
What do you want to do in future?
In the next years, I plan on getting my master’s degree and eventually get into software development. I really like embedded systems, so maybe I will continue there.
Regine Rudeck, Senior Software Engineer at Microdoc, mentor.
How do you support the students?
Most of the time, I support the students on an organizational level, wherever help is needed. I arrange weekly meetings with the interns and ensure cooperation with their mentors runs smooth. The interns have a mentor on the technical level and me – to make sure they are being taken care of.
We try to keep them in the same project if that’s what they want. From our experience it’s good to focus on one project and gain practical experience as a part of the student’s bachelor or master thesis.
Due to Covid-19, everyone is working from home. This can from time to time lead to that the interns having doubts and wait long to reach out out for help. As their mentor, I try to make this situation easier by arranging weekly calls where they present what they do and how they’re holding up to, without having to present results. This creates a relaxed environment where it’s easy to get feedback.
In which way do both sides benefit from the internship arrangement?
The students benefit because they get practical experience while studying what they will be confronted with later. But unlike starting a fulltime job, the internship give the students a soft environment to discover the range of software development fields and get realistic impressions. They are involved in projects with customers, but not in contact with the customers directly. We shield them from this in the beginning, to remove unnecessary pressure.
MicroDoc benefits from the arrangement by getting new talents straight from University. Students often bring fresh ideas and force us to reflect if things still make sense the way we do it. Sometimes, when students question why we do things in a certain way, they get us to reflect, think in new ways and innovate.
Anton Hofer, 24 years, studies Computer Science.
What do you do at MicroDoc?
When I first started at MicroDoc, I did a 6-months internship where my task was to develop an internal test environment and improving the internal infrastructure. Now I am writing my bachelor’s thesis (about internal compiler for java) guided by the experts at MicroDoc.
How do you benefit from the internship?
The biggest benefit must be that I get to exercise what I learned at university. I get real-life experience from setting up a project and follow it up for a longer time. The scope and size of projects is way bigger and more interesting than at school, so the internship broadens my knowledge. Another advantage of doing an internship is that you have a lot of experts around, that you can ask absolutely anything.
What is the most important lesson you have learned during the internship?
I’ve experienced that clear and precise communication is harder than I thought it would be. One of my key learnings was to give the right people the right information. In this way, an internship also helps to increase soft skills, not only software development.
Further, I have learned more about myself and what I want in my career. For instance, that I like challenges and specific problems. The difficulty of problems is appealing to me. You get to know so many experts and lots of different systems. It’s very fulfilling to work on expert level with detailed, vast knowledge, challenge and great support.
How do you see the role of software engineers going forward in future?
Regine says she can imagine two key directions:
“You can either become a programmer (solving a technical task) or software developer (a generalist that sees the context, more of a consultant role). An excellent programmer is not worth anything when they can’t cooperate. Being a technical expert is not good enough anymore, but just a requirement.” Regine explains.
Rahel emphazies the need for software developers in future.
“I think they’re going to be really important. We use more and more software every day. Software plays a big role in future. Data is getting more and more valuable. This creates new challenges and tasks, for instance with data security and surveillance.” Rahel explains.
Anton adds that in future, it will demand more knowledge of recruiters to find good hires when they are looking to employ a software developer.
“Software development is a broad and diverse field. Consequently, every job description is unique. In future, computer science students will need to find out early what they want to do and then specialize. Further, I think we will see a separation between highly specified experts and software generalists/project managers.
This separation makes it challenging to recruit software engineers. As the field grows broader, recruiters need to have good understandings of requirements. As a recruiter you have to understand the ability required for the job description and match it with relevant candidates.”
What differentiates MicroDoc from other technology companies and how would you summarize the working culture?
“My experience is that everyone at MicroDoc is open-minded and relaxed. Also, we have an international and relaxed atmosphere. There are many possibilities to learn for young people. You can tell which direction you want to go, and MicroDoc will create a possibility for you. This is very motivating because you can actively influence which direction you will specialize in.” Rahel comments.
Her supervisor, Regine, ads that MicroDoc’s competitive advantage lies in massive experience and in-depth knowledge.
Regine explains: “We often know our customers’ challenges better than they know themselves. We are not only software developers, but also consultants. What is special about us is that we have both the technical expertise but also business know-how.
We have the in-depth knowledge about the products. In this way, we can challenge our customers, so they eventually get what they really need. This business angle might lead to something better, more future-oriented, thus create the desired positive long-term effects.
Usually, we follow our customers from the beginning. But the challenge is that employees at the customer side, often come and go. So, we are often the ones that stay, and we keep the knowledge. We can help customers with position in which direction to develop a product. We see the product and the environment where the product is placed.”
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Everything On Graal VM
We illustrate how to build and debug the native image of a Java application, produced by MicroDoc GraalVM Embedded, and running on a remote embedded device. The debugging experience is illustrated inside the VSCode IDE. The embedded device runs Linux on an ARMv8-A processor (running in AArch64 mode), like a RaspberryPi 4 or 5.
For devices that are not powerful enough to run a full feature browser or Android system, MicroDoc is developing a user interface framework directly integrated with the Graal virtual machine. Why? Because the number of small devices is increasing dramatically, and although they may be small and low powered they still deserve an up-to-date user interface.
Would it be fair to say that the GraalVM is a step closer to the holy grail of polyglot programming? Yes, according to the virtual machine experts from MicroDoc. Here’s an overview of what the GraalVM can do for software developers.