Hello everyone! Today I would like to give you a little insight of what it means to be a working student in a start-up.
To start, I will tell you something about myself and my early days at acrontum. Afterwards I will describe how the company has changed with the increasing number of employees and what challenges this has brought for myself and my colleagues. To conclude, I will summarize the impressions and experiences I have collected over the past 2 years.
My name is Anton, I am 26 years old and have been working for acrontum for almost 2 years now. I started as working student and have been working part-time for half a year. At the same time, I began my distance study at the Wilhelm Büchner university in the direction of informatics, focusing on app development. The reason I started with acrontum was to apply my study learnings in practice.
The start of a little journey
When I started our team consisted of 2 developers, a designer, a consultant and myself – the working student. My job was to set up the IT-environment for new employees, plan a future-proof infrastructure and to manage the servers for it. Since I already had professional training as an IT-Administrator, I knew how to tackle these tasks.
I also participated in some pretty cool development projects back then. One of them was to create a Christmas browser game together with our designer Per which was presented to our customers afterwards. Of course, this project had to be planned and organized from the beginning which gave me a good first impression of our companies’ processes. Supported by an engine called “Construct 2” (that already provided most of the important functionalities such as object and collision handling) we were able to develop the game within only 3 weeks. The finished game was a simple 2D-platformer in which a Santa Claus had to silence employees with gifts – a very good company policy in my eyes. Another project was to setup a vHost generator, that creates a backend environment for our devs in just one command. This allowed me to work with Laravel for the first time. In short, I had a lot of varied and challenging activities right from the start.
After my first projects slowly leveled off, the starting signal for the big change came a few months later. We managed to acquire a really huge project, which lead to more tasks, more employees and new challenges. While there were only five of us, every employee could simply send the tasks directly to me: there was no defined process. However, while the company grew, these processes became more and more necessary in order not to lose track of the tasks and to be able to manage them efficiently.
The server structures I implemented were also put to a test and had to be adjusted here and there - mainly because some things turned out to be not as optimal as planned.
Due to the fact that we were managing several parallel projects, we had difficulties in the beginning, because us developers were always jumping back and forth between them, which made it really hard to focus on a specific topic. The internal restructuring of our company into project teams helped us to solve this challenge. In this process, fixed resources (employees) were allocated to the individual projects and, if necessary, a jumper was designated to a shared resource. A clear distribution of roles means that everyone now has a contact person and challenges can be solved quickly as a team.
Working in these teams allowed me to learn a lot about the entire web development process. With this knowledge I was ready to take on more responsibility and was even allowed to develop a large part of the backend on my own for an important customer project.
Freedom to create smart processes, flat hierarchies and fantastic colleagues are the factors that make acrontum a great company.
Our steady but organic growth turned out to be a great blessing for me as I could build up my knowledge continuously. This knowledge built-up came hand in hand with increasing trust from my colleagues in my abilities, so that I developed into a respected member of my project teams. If I were faced with the choice to start my career in a start-up again, I would certainly make the same decision due to my time here.