By: Daria Dimchuk and Christy Yau
A Warm Welcome
As part of our co-op program, BCIT’s CST and CIT students had the opportunity to tour SAP’s Vancouver office on August 30th. Susanna Kan, our co-op coordinator, led us into the lobby where SAP employees Joseph Hou and Jessica Gutierrez welcomed us.
We filed into a conference room where Jessica, head of SAP’s Intern Experience Program (iXp), introduced the program and some of the events it offers, including a signature summit conference, Breakfast with the Bosses, hackathons, and final presentations where interns can showcase their projects.
The current iXP interns shared their personal experiences at SAP with us. While the learning curve is steep, they believe the skills they gain through meaningful work in a supportive environment are more than worth it.
Touring the Office
We then went on small tours with the same interns and took the chance to ask them plenty of questions. We received tips on SAP’s expectations and on how to practice for interviews effectively.
We were led throughout different departments and shown the various kitchens stocked with free fruit and beverages, subsidized vending machines, and patios with BBQ grills.
For relaxation, there were puzzle stations, a quiet art room, yoga, gym, massage, bike storage and rentals, as well as regular sports events. They also had a popular hangout with several ping pong, foosball, and pool tables.
But one of the coolest places was the d-shop, driven by a global SAP program with the goal of giving interns access to hardware technology such as Beaglebone, Arduino, Alexa, Raspberry Pi, LEDs, Google Cardboard, Samsung VR Gear, and even an Ultimaker 2+ 3D printer.
Interns are free to use this tech individually, or to join exploratory projects. LastBytes is one such project that makes waste disposal easy. We took a picture of some trash and LastBytes lit up the correct disposal bin. Another project was an Air Quality Analysis program, created because employees were concerned during office renovations.
Q&A with SAP Managers
After the tour, we returned to the conference room and sat at different tables. Several project managers, who graciously volunteered their time, joined us to speak about their departments. They were all very down-to-earth and happy to share their hiring process, daily work routines, challenges, and answered any questions we still had afterwards.
Rhea Santos, BI Analyst, and David Hilton, Product Support Manager, were some of the people we met.
Although Rhea’s degree is not tech-related, her work at a small company led her to manage databases. Now in her thirteenth year at SAP, she advised us to study SQL and database design to have a shot at the Technical Execution Team internship position.
David oversees employees who support customers experiencing trouble with SAP products. This could range from dealing with network issues, firewall settings, reading logs, or troubleshooting solutions. An internship here would focus on customer service, product knowledge, and problem solving, but applicants are also expected to be knowledgeable in various areas, including OO programming, different OSs, database management, TCP/IP, and security software.
During our visit, we got to network with hiring managers and interns, and saw firsthand the company’s various programs that promote diversity and encourage lifelong learning.
We want to extend a special thank you to Joseph Hou and Jessica Gutierrez who’ve made this event possible. Joseph is a CST graduate and BCITSA mentor, while Jessica was once one of Susanna Kan’s co-op students. While it may just seem like an interesting coincidence, it goes to show that wonderful things happen when people choose to pay it forward. We are all immensely grateful for their efforts and generosity.