How to successfully work and study at the same time – interview

Michalina Piorun

As every year, November 17th is the International Student’s Day, which commemorates the sad events at the University of Prague in 1939. Today, the date is dedicated to focusing on the role of students in society and their importance, as well as discussing improving higher education, its availability and quality. 

More and more students are choosing to work during their university journey. This is a great opportunity to consider how the employers can facilitate this, give them space for comprehensive development and holistic support in this demanding but very exciting time. At BinarApps, we strive to make working and studying at the same time easily achievable. What’s more, we encourage students to get their first experience with us by organizing internships. Getting to know the functioning of the organization from the inside, gaining new knowledge, good practices, as well as working in a project team, is a good start to a fruitful career. Many members of the program very often stay with us for long as they want to join BinarApps for good. However, for students to know about this possibility, we appear at universities where we not only encourage them to get a job but first of all, organize workshops to share knowledge with them. We also invite them to numerous meetups and events that can broaden their horizons. Once they are on the BinarApps board, we make sure that they settle in properly. An important aspect is the ability to adjust working hours to classes at the university, which of course we offer to them. We also try to ensure that the amount of work is adjusted to their capabilities. If someone needs to work remotely, we are also open to this option. Supporting students is an important part of our activity, so building them a space for development and helping them during their higher education period has become a matter of course for us.

That’s why we also want to celebrate International Student’s Day. We spoke to our Developers Damian and Michał, who mastered studying and working at BinarApps at the same time. We wanted to learn more about their challenges, check how they cope with balancing these two big parts of their lives and ask for practical advice for companies. 

How did you get a job at BinarApps and how long have you been working here?

D: I met BinarApps’ team during educational fairs. This meeting inspired me to have a look at Ruby on Rails and React, then I joined the internship program. Eventually, I’ve become a Web Developer in BinarApps. I’ve been working here for about a year.

Read also: Why is a Ruby on Rails traineeship a good start?

M: I found out about BinarApps by accident. I decided to join the internship program they’ve offered. The practice lasted 4 weeks. Throughout the first week, each person worked individually with a mentor to learn some theory and good practices. Then I joined the team with other trainees, and we began working together on an app. Seeing the ins and outs of producing a web app and the organization of teamwork was great. After the traineeship, I’ve eventually become a Web Developer in BinarApps. 

Wow, so you’ve both finished BinarApps’ traineeship. What have you been studying back then?

Damian: I’m studying Computer Science at the Lodz University of Technology.

Michał: I’ve already finished my first-cycle studies, it was also Computer Science, at the Lodz University of Technology.

These are quite demanding fields of study, so how did you manage to combine work with studies? 

D: It takes a bit of motivation. Sometimes there is a shortage of time and it is obvious that it is not possible to focus on learning as much as without work, but I think I get just as much knowledge from my work and studies.

M: It was stressful and demanding. I didn’t have much free time, and I slept little. In the beginning, I worked 3/5 full time, and then gradually moved to full time. I had to adjust my working hours to the university classes, fortunately, thanks to BinarApps, it was possible.

What are your biggest challenges with this? 

D: Initially, I had a problem with time management, which was why I had a problem in college. In my case, there is such a dilemma that studies have taught me a bit, but doing more practical things at work or even on my own is more interesting for me and I can get more involved.

M: The worst part was the constant lack of time. I spent whole weekends catching up on my projects for classes because during the week studying was intertwined with work.

Do you think that BinarApps make it easier for you somehow?

D: Yes, mainly thanks to flexible working hours, but also for a smaller time at the beginning of studies. Remote work also helps, sometimes I prefer to start working from home, go to university, and then to the office. It helps you manage your time better.

M: I think so too. Without being able to work in the hours that I wanted, I wouldn’t be able to do these two things at once. Also, working a 3/5 of full time at BinarApps helped me a lot to reunite these two matters, at the beginning of my studies. Towards the end of them, I went full-time because I could already manage it. I like this flexibility, not only in terms of the forms of a job but also workload, it makes it much easier, and thanks to that I could even afford to start my career.

Do you have any advice for employers hiring students?

D: In my opinion, the time for self-development is important because it allows you to broaden your knowledge, which can be useful both at work and in studies.

M: I think choosing a buddy or mentor for a student who starts working in the company would be very helpful too. Thanks to this, you can better involve yourself in projects, but also the company life, and get to know people faster. It would also be good for gaining more knowledge and growing in oneself’s field. With so many new responsibilities in addition to the university ones, it’s easier to settle in and reduce that initial stress.

On the International Student’s Day, we wish all students an endless hunger for knowledge, curiosity about the world, lots of success, but also suitable conditions for learning and growth, also in the work you would like to undertake. Employers, on the other hand, are encouraged to read the suggestions of our developers, which may be important when hiring students. Offering flexible working hours and supporting their entire development path will result in great cooperation and wonderful people in the team.

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