This guest article has been contributed by Christian Bruckmayer, Web Development Engineer at the Build Solutions team at SUSE.
The last two weeks, the University of Applied Science in Nuremberg, in cooperation with Bavarian companies, organized the so-called student days. This initiative offers students the possibility to visit different companies and get in touch with IT specialists. While this program is a great opportunity for students to network and get in touch with possible future employers, it is also a great chance for companies to meet potential employees even before they graduate. With currently more than 50 open positions at SUSE, we didn’t hesitate to participate in the student days as we heard about it.
Ralf Flaxa, Head of Global Engineering, welcomed the students and explained how important hiring and educating the next generation of Software Engineers for SUSE is. Ralf started his introduction with talking about how he started with Linux during his Erasmus scholarship year in France. He even showed his seminar paper about serial debugging with the GNU debugger and Linux he wrote back then. After he returned to Germany, he was responsible for administrating the FTP server at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen. That was basically the start of the Linux Support Team (LST) which later became Caldera. After Caldera discontinued their Linux business, Ralf joined SUSE in the early 2000s. While talking about his experiences, Ralf showed several treasures like a group picture from the very first Linux Congress in Heidelberg 1994, or floppy disks of the LST distribution 1.4. It was visibly exciting for the students to learn about Linux history from first hand experience.
After welcoming the students and a short introduction round, it was time to show them how we work at SUSE. Thus we organized an office tour and visited several teams during their work. The first stop was at the SUSE Customer Center where Hernan Schmidt explained to the students Agile development and Scrum. Observably surprising for the students was that 70% of the tasks of the documentation team is not writing, but actually it is research! That SUSE is an international company with distributed teams all around the world, the Build Solutions team proved impressively. Bernhard Wiedemann demonstrated the SUSE Cloud before we visited SUSE’s meat and potatoes: openSUSE and openQA. Ludwig, the openSUSE Leap release manager, explained the work of a release manager and how SUSE creates a Linux distribution. The last stop was eventually openQA, where the openSUSE Chairman, Richard Brown, and his colleague Santiago Zarate presented how SUSE uses openQA to assure the distributions quality.
For a general company presentation, Thomas Schmidt organized a Jeopardy Quiz with questions about SUSE. The students successfully demonstrated their knowledge in questions like “What was the first version of S.u.S.E.?” (4.2) or “Who founded the Free Software Foundation?” (Richard Stallman). They were really ambitions in answering the questions as we handed out several prizes like a huge openSUSE plush chameleon.
Because we think it’s always interesting to hear former students talking about their career paths, we invited graduates of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen and the University of Applied Science in Nuremberg, who are now employed in the Research & Development department. Engineers like Markus Meissner, who works as Project Manager in the Security team, talked about their studies, how they joined SUSE and what tasks and responsibilities they have nowadays.
The last official presentation was held by the Human Resources team and they explained the hiring and recruiting process at SUSE. It was important to show how crucial on-boarding for SUSE is and that it already starts even before a new colleague joins the company. In addition, they explained the different ways of a career development path at SUSE and the qualifications desired by future employees.
Last but not least, we want to say THANK YOU to the University of Applied Science Nuremberg for organizing the student days and also to all the motivated students who joined us. We are already looking forward to the next students day!
Editors Note: A huge THANK YOU also to Christian and to Thomas for having organized the students day at SUSE! 👍 😃