Tips for non-technical students working in a technical company

Tips for non-technical students working in a technical company

By: Brittany Kilpatrick | Communication Co-op Student
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Within the rise of the digital age, the tech industry has become the hub of all industries. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since a huge portion of the top annual revenue companies are businesses that are related to digital technology. Among these top companies is SAP Inc.

In my communications studies, technology and media are frequent topics of discussion. Though I learned about technology within my classes, I was rarely given the opportunity to gain technical, hands-on experience in relation to technology. Due to this, when I began my internship as a Communications Specialist for one of the most popular tech companies in the world, I was very intimidated.

Many of the interns I talked to had some sort of computer science background. I struggled to understand their conversations that legitimately revolved around other languages: coding languages. However, I was determined to learn more about the technology as well as gain technical skills along the way.

Luckily, my newfound goal was not too difficult to start working towards due to SAP’s excellent mentorship program. When I approached my mentor to explain my newfound goal, she provided me with some great tips that she used to familiarize herself with SAP’s tech.

Are you ready to transform yourself from a basic non-technical student to a super savvy technical Communications Specialist? Well then, keep reading!

Tip 1: Talk to people!

When you are working in a company full of technical experts, the best way to learn is to simply talk to others. Setting up informational interviews was super beneficial for both my own knowledge and building my network. I set up at least two informational interviews per week with a variety of experts from different teams.

You may be wondering; how should I set up an informational interview?

1. First, identify your topics of interest.

2. Next, ask people in your existing network, such as a supervisor or mentor, if they can connect you to any experts knowledgeable in your specific topic of interest. You can also use LinkedIn or your company directory to search and contact specific people.

3. Lastly, at the end of your informational interview, make sure you ask the expert if they have any recommendations of other people you can contact. This will provide you with a cycle of informational interviews in which you will continuously grow your network and your overall understanding of the tech industry.

 

Tip 2: Take Advantage of SAP’s Training Resources

SAP provides many free online training resources covering a variety of topics such as leadership, marketing, coding, etc. Take advantage of these resources to expand your knowledge and skillset. If your company does not offer free training courses, SFU offers students free access to Lynda.com, which is a library of training videos on software, design skills, and business practices.

Tip 3: Take Advantage of Training Resources

Now that you have utilized both technical experts and free online training resources, try gaining hands-on experience with different software and technology. Download different programs and start playing around with its features. Try creating a new website. Participate in a hackathon and different technical workshops. Have fun with technology and utilize it as a site of play and discovery!

At SAP, D-Shop is the go-to place for gaining hands-on experience with technology. D-Shop is short for “The Developer’s Workshop” and is a global program that allows SAP employees to experiment and play with hardware technologies. The pictures below show some exciting D-Shop creations.

     

Overall, these three steps have tremendously helped me gain a better understanding of what SAP offers as a tech company and how I can use my skills to assist the business needs. I wouldn’t say I am a technical communications student yet, but I am on my way to becoming one and hopefully these tips will guide through your technical career path as well! 


Beyond the Article

Posted on April 05, 2018