In April/May I was a part of a project called “Externship” at itslearning. This University of Bergen project is aimed at allowing students to get a closer look at how the real world handles the topics that they are studying. We discussed what we wanted to get out of the project and talked about different companies that could interest us – one of these was itslearning.
I chose itslearning because of my background in system development, plus it fit right in with my Master’s degree studies on digital culture. My hope was that by getting a deeper look into how itslearning works, I could learn more about the cultural shift in system development. I also have an interest in project management and thought it would be a great learning opportunity to see how they employ this in their everyday work life.
What surprised me quite a bit was how much information gets sent by mail and other chat functions by the people at itslearning. There were so many different threads covering their product updates, projects and engineering, and it was very interesting to see how everyone handled it.
It was also interesting to see the difference between the Norwegian scrum meeting and the ones conducted remotely with teams outside Norway. Meetings with Eastern Europeans were structured and seemed in my view “stiff” compared with the more open and flowing meetings among the team in Norway.
There were two things that I was particularly happy with.
Firstly, how much I was allowed to be a part of the workflow and discussions. I got to see how all the different meetings were conducted and how important communication is in this world. The other thing that helped me a lot was how interested people were in talking to me about my thesis. I received a lot of feedback that will be very helpful when I start writing it.
Things work differently in the real world
Before coming to itslearning, I had the impression that things worked a little differently at a company compared to what’s written in textbooks, and I was happy to have this confirmed. At school we are taught to follow principles and theories without changing anything, but this doesn’t always work in the real world. It was a great experience to see how companies try to tweak and change processes to work in a team environment, across different cultures and different work philosophies.
It was only a short stint at itslearning, but I feel that I have a much better understanding of what it might be like to go from a school environment to a professional one. There is a lot less focus on theory and more focus on communication and learning from each other. This is something we haven’t had to deal with that much at university. It was also interesting to see the contrast in ideas and synergy between management and developers in meetings, and their perspectives on different topics.
Being a part of this project has helped me quite a lot. I gained quite a bit of experience that will help me see different topics in a new way when I encounter them in my ongoing studies. I would like to thank itslearning for this opportunity to learn from them and hopefully, I can come back again to learn more or contribute to the company someday.
Jostein Enes is pursuing his Master’s degree in digital culture at the University of Bergen. If you are interested in an internship at itslearning, ask your university or contact us.