The Life of a Working Student For App Development at K15t
Ever wondered what it's like to work at K15t? One of our working students, Ericka, shares how the company culture optimizes her experience while working in app development at K15t.
First of all, please tell us a bit about yourself and about your role at K15t.
Hello! My name is Ericka, and I’m a working student at K15t in the area of front-end development, more specifically in the amazing team that makes the magic behind Scroll Viewport for Confluence. ‘Scroll Viewport?’ you may wonder. When I first started at K15t, I wasn’t so sure what that exactly meant either. Well, Scroll Viewport is an app that helps you publish your Confluence documentation in the form of a help center with just a few clicks. Cool, right?
I joined the K15t team at the end of 2021, shortly after moving all the way from Honduras to Germany in order to pursue my master studies in Human-Computer Interaction. As a front-end developer, I collaborate with our other developers to make our web app and the Viewport help center theme as usable, accessible, and effective as possible. Aside from developing, I’m also constantly contributing and learning from the UX team. This way I can apply what I’m learning in my masters program, and I get a better perspective of how things work in the industry.
How did you hear about the open position at K15t and what made you apply?
As soon as I moved to Germany, I knew that I wanted to continue working while studying, not only to keep my skills up to date, but also to learn about how the work environment in Germany is like. I started looking into different companies, and even had a couple of other interviews, however, I didn’t feel that they were the right fit.
After a month or so, I found the K15t career page and it was (seriously) love at first sight. I went through the entire company website, read several blog posts, and watched a couple of their videos… So yes, you could totally say that I stalked the company, but it was so easy to do because it was so much fun! I think that the first thing that caught my attention was that they worked with Confluence and Jira, both of which I had used before in my previous job. But, the cherry on top was reading a blog post from another working student, because it had me thinking ‘I also want that!’ And luckily, it happened!
What makes working at K15t special for you?
I would say that working at K15t has been - get ready, this might sound like a cliché - a whole learning experience. Not only am I working with great developers from whom I constantly learn from in regard to code reviews, open feedback, and weekly syncs, but it goes far beyond just that.
The way of working and co-existing in the company is very transparent and involves a lot of knowledge sharing. For instance, we hold weekly discussions on how to evolve our technical skills, had a seminar about personal finance, and there are even internal blog posts about which vegetables are in season with great recipes that incorporate them. When I’m at the office, this learning culture amplifies itself even more.
Of course, there’s the usual coworker chit-chat, but there’ve also been countless times where my mind gets blown from things that I learn while talking with my coworkers, whether it’s during lunch at Kulturwerk (the restaurant around the corner where we have the opportunity to eat free lunch thrice a week), or even during a quick chat by the coffee machine. Everyone here brings something to the table and each one is willing to share it. So, really, it has been a lot of learning and I’m enjoying it every step of the way!
What impact does K15t's culture have on your work?
When I initially started planning on working while completing my master's program, I was excited, yet a bit afraid of how overwhelming it could be. Luckily, K15t’s work culture is very flexible and my team has been supportive along the way, which has allowed me to do both and keep sane while doing so.
Not only can I work remotely from my home in Cologne, but I also have flexibility in other daily tasks. For example, my university supervisor needs to meet with me during work hours? No problem, I know I can communicate this with my team and they’ll be fine with me adjusting my schedule. Maybe I’m having a tough day during finals week and need to take a nap or walk my dog on the Rhine before getting back to work? Sure thing, I just let my team know when I can be back on my A game. I would say it is a great balance of commitment, transparency, and trust.
Aside from this, I also discuss openly every semester about how I will need to adjust my working hours due to my courses in university. So, instead of picking classes that work around my job, my job adjusts to my university schedule, which means I can pick the courses that interest me the most. All of this has made a huge impact not only on my work here, but also on my mental health and performance at university!
What's your favorite memory of working at K15t so far?
I think my favorite memory is my first Team Week in Stuttgart. But before I tell you about the whole experience, let me tell you a bit about Team Week itself! It is the quarterly event where all team members across Germany, and the world, travel to the office in Stuttgart. We spend this time together not only to plan for the next quarter, but also to grow and bond as a team.
Team Week of summer 2022 was the first one that I attended and I can only describe it as “WOW!“ The whole office buzzes with energy, and everyone is excited to see each other and have some in-person time. After eight months of remote collaboration, this was my first time seeing the whole Viewport team together and a chance to meet other colleagues in real life.
I really love the opportunity of working from anywhere, and this is what allowed me to join K15t while studying in another city. But, the chance to be in the office for a whole week with all of the K15t team is a perfect way to re-connect and sync ideas for the upcoming months. So now, four times a year I have something great to look forward to, and I’m more than ready to pack my bag and take the train to Stuttgart.
Have you developed other skills that are not strictly work-related?
As someone who has always been interested in research, user experience, and art, I get the chance to experiment and and learn about these fields, even if my email signs off as “Software Developer.” I end every Tuesday by joining the UX Design Circle meeting where I participate in conversations about UX best practices, feedback sessions, or a chat about the latest Figma plugin.
During past Team Weeks, I have had the chance to host small creative evenings with people in the office. So far we’ve tried blindfolded painting, and also a collaborative painting by passing the canvas among the participants. Oh, that was so much fun! So my point is, that at K15t I have the chance to experiment and share my different interests with others. It’s not all strictly business related, but also about growth, sharing, and learning.
In conclusion, I would say K15t has been a great complement to my experience as an international working student in Germany. Not only have I found a multicultural workplace that makes me feel like I belong, (even when mein Deutsch noch nicht gut ist) but it has also offered me countless learning opportunities and supported my needs while balancing work and studies.