I work as a project assistant at Graz University of Technology as part of an EU project. We are developing an app which teaches young people how to program through play – the app is called Pocket Code. I am primarily concerned with planning studies and I work closely with our international partner institutions and the participating schools in Graz.
Why I love my job:
I love working with the young people at the schools as well as the international focus of our project and the possibility of travel – either to meetings or conferences.
Important skills in my job:
Fluent English because we collaborate closely with our partners in England and Spain and write scientific contributions and papers together for conferences.
Secondly, I would say that a certain degree of empathy is important. We work closely with teenagers and sometimes you have to put yourself in their position which I must say is not always easy :)
And team skills are also important. I am happy to have such nice colleagues around me who make work fun and who I can rely on.
My biggest accomplishment so far:
Last year, I attended the Human-Computer Interaction International 2015 in Los Angeles – one of the biggest conferences in my field – and presented our paper to a panel on the topic of design, user experience and usability. That was a really special experience.
How I found my current job:
I have taken part in various projects at Graz University of Technology since October 2012. I worked there as a designer on the Pocket Code app and wrote my Master’s thesis as part of a project in which I evaluated various participatory design methods and derived specific design suggestions. After obtaining approval for the research project No One Left Behind, I was asked by our head of institute Wolfgang Slany whether I might like to start work as a project assistant.
What I learned for this job during my studies:
At FH JOANNEUM, the numerous projects enabled us to gain extensive practical experience and I found that very useful. We also did lots of prototyping and worked with Arduino. At the time, I could never have imagined using it again but in December 2015, I led a short Arduino/Pocket Code workshop here at FH JOANNEUM. That was really funny.
Job prospects in my field:
I think the prospects are really good and there are always jobs being advertised. Even if you want to study for a PhD at university after completing your degree at FH JOANNEUM. Perhaps there is a particular field which interests you – you can consult the blackboards or the pages of the Graz University of Technology, University of Graz or University of Music and Performing Arts Graz. Working at a university is different from working for a company, you need to be aware of that. I think there are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Very communicative, curious and target-driven.
About my job:
If you had asked me two years ago where I see my career going, I would never have said at a University of Technology. But sometimes everything just fits and I am really happy to have taken up this opportunity and be able to work as part of this exciting project. I would also not otherwise have had the chance to work so closely with the target group, to run workshops at schools or to undertake and scientifically analyse studies.
Perhaps everything might look different in two or three years. Perhaps I might then be working for a company as a user experience or interaction designer but I think that all the experiences I have acquired will enrich my personal development.
I would advise those interested in the course to take on any opportunities which arise and to do what they enjoy. A job should not just be a means to an end; it should be enjoyable.