Find out what were the positive takeouts of such an unusual situation.
João Teixeira, Quality Assistant Intern @SISCOG | 5 min read
João performed tasks related to the Integrated Management System (IMS), in the Quality department, in the summer of 2020. SISCOG's IMS combines all aspects of the company's systems and processes into one unified system, including the Quality (ISO 9001), Research, Development & Innovation (NP EN 4457), Environment (ISO 14001) and Information Security (ISO 27001) standards.He dedicated himself to a transitioning process of a system and workflow of ideas and work to more agile, automated and user-friendly methods, using specialized software for collaborative work and project management.
How was your onboarding and initial training at SISCOG?
Before starting the internship, this was one of the questions that undoubtedly crossed my mind for two reasons. Firstly, because the fact that the internship was in a “working from home” regime would mean the absence of regular face-to-face contact with my co-workers, which could make adaptation and motivation difficult. Secondly, as this was my first professional experience, and being a first-year undergraduate student, there was always the desire to live up to expectations and ensure that my contribution was as useful as possible.
However, after my first contact with Ana, Carla and Liliana, with whom I worked mostly during my internship, I realized that I could not have asked for a better onboarding in the company. There was a continuous and total availability from everyone throughout the internship to help with any and all of my questions, and to integrate me in every possible learning moments – team gatherings, meetings, audits carried out during my internship period. And these made me feel extremely well integrated. Working in this collaborative, companionship, and complicity environment also allowed for the growth of the quality of my work and of my learning during the internship.
In what way do you think that your internship working from home influenced (positively or negatively) the experience you had at SISCOG?
There are certainly positive and negative aspects in the working from home experience. The lack of contact with my co-workers, the impossibility of experiencing the corporate work environment or the day-to-day life in a company were some of the disadvantages that had some impact, as this was my first professional internship.
On the other hand, the truth is that I ended up contacting a lot of colleagues from various departments and projects quite easily and for various tasks I worked on, which was even easier than it probably would have been in person due to the potential less flexibility of time. Since the work plan was presented to me, I had enough autonomy and freedom to perform my duties and fulfil the stipulated objectives, at the same time aligning the ideas I had and the work I developed with SISCOG's principles and priorities. To this end, I tried to contact colleagues from different projects, ask questions and explore tools I had not worked with before, in order to have as useful a contribution as possible. Flexibility in time and work management are particularly positive aspects of this new way of working.
What is it like to work in a company where you don't know most of the people in person?
Contrary to what one might think, the work experience is not so influenced by this aspect. In the department where I worked, we had meetings 3 times a week which helped not only to shorten the distance between colleagues, but also to provide moments for learning, collaboration, and very strong fellowship. Much can be learned also when working from a distance and needing to be in contact with people we do not yet know – individual growth arises in these contexts.
What is the most important thing you learned during the internship?
I feel that this internship was a great source of personal and professional development. In the technical component, I deepened the knowledge I had about agile work methodologies by working with the collaborative tools and assisting in the transition between the old and the new, more agile and modern work method. In addition, I had the opportunity to participate in very interesting and informative training sessions on various topics during my internship, which allowed me, for example, to learn more about SISCOG products (CREWS, ONTIME, FLEET, SISCOG Suite), their projection at a national and international level, and the functionality and science behind them.
Finally, I was able to have a first contact with the business world, which I consider to have been extremely positive. The contact with different people, different teams, multiple departments and different ways of working allowed me not only to acquire new organizational and management skills but also a different perception about the business world, the organization of a company or the coordination, distribution and organization of work between different departments.
How do you feel this internship experience could be useful in the future?
In every way possible. As a first-year student, I felt that I started my internship with a lot of curiosity, despite the little professional experience. Although I had already worked in groups and individually, as well as created some projects in academic or non-academic situations, I had never had any real professional experience. Looking back, I feel that there has been palpable growth during my time at SISCOG.
For the first time, I contacted directly with many processes and ideas that I had never had contact with in my life, such as accompanying the preparation of audits and subsequently attending them. On the other hand, I was also able to better understand how a company is managed and how projects are organized, tasks are distributed and how one collaborates in work between departments. The knowledge I gained about agile work methodologies will, in my view, also be very useful for my academic and professional experience, whatever this may be later on.
On a personal basis, it was a very complete experience in which I was able to create strong bonds with a team, but also understand how to prioritize my tasks, give and receive feedback, structure my ideas, and thus contribute to the goals of a company.