Study While You Work? Why Not?
Patrick Kohler felt that his studies at the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich were too focused on theory, so he decided to find a work placement. Patrick was put to work as a trainee in the Software team right from the start.
Before Patrick came to Hamilton as a trainee, he had been studying information technology at the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich for a few months. But this venture did not last. “I found it much too theoretical,” says Patrick, explaining why he left the college. One and a half years down the line, he is sure that he made the right decision. At Hamilton, Patrick was able to get to grips with the material in a practical way, which made him all the more certain about his career choice. “I got a great insight into the professional world and into how people work together. If I didn’t have to go to college, I would definitely keep working here.” And that is precisely what he is going to do. In September 2017, Patrick starts his studies at the NTB Interstaatliche Hochschule für Technik in Buchs (canton of St. Gallen) and will at the same time be working in the Hamilton Software Support team on a part-time, 60 percent basis. The timetable of his four-year undergraduate course is packed: four evenings and one whole day per week, as well as added time for self-study and work. Not a problem for Patrick. He really appreciates that he has the chance to study and work at the same time. Hamilton also benefits from giving practical training to talented people like Patrick.
As a trainee in the Medical Software team, Patrick was able to work independently on smaller projects relatively quickly. “First, there was an introductory phase so that I could get to know the system. But whatever I was given to do, it was always something I could do by myself. And if you have a question, there is always someone there to help.” Currently, he is working mostly in software testing. He performs automated and manual tests for the different ventilators, processes documents, keeps the database up to date, and performs updates.
Freedom on Four Wheels
“I have thought about learning to be a car mechanic.” He jokingly refers to himself as a “car freak” and loves to tinker with his cars. At just 20 years old, he already owns a 24-year-old VW Corrado and a 16-year-old Mercedes-Benz C 32, and he bought both cars with his own money. One of his favorite things to do is take his freshly polished car for a weekend drive on the mountain roads with his friends and enjoy freedom on four wheels. The fact that Patrick has not become a car mechanic is in part down to the father of one of his school friends, whose presentation about his work as a software engineer piqued Patrick’s interest. It would appear that Patrick has found his ideal path: he pursues his hobby in his free time, and his professional life is dedicated to his second passion – software development.
And his dream car? “A Corvette ZR1, but that’s a bit out of reach for a trainee,” he says with a grin. Well, there’s something to look forward to!