Getting a job during your studies

Do we really need to have work experience when we finish university? And is this good for our studies? And what about being trained by a company and then working 2-3 years for it during/after finishing school? I’ll try to address the above from a student’s point of view.

If I were the employer, I wouldn’t care very much about work experience (of course, unless there are a lot of experienced people applying for my job add). Instead, I would want to know what my future employee knows in terms of concepts, and how serious he/she is about his/her responsibilities. Once they have the concepts, it’s easy to teach them what my (fictional) company does and help them integrate in a few weeks.
However, I have colleagues who work. And they have a difficult schedule. Our school hours aren’t ‘packed together’ in the morning (or the afternoon/evening). We have 8-hour days and we have days with just a few hours around noon. Having 3 free hours in the morning doesn’t help much, so going to both school and work isn’t easy. And then, you have to spend a good amount of time learning, otherwise you are a student but you don’t learn much.

Some employers think it’s normal for students to work, and think that you only need to go to some school labs, and you should work for them in the rest of the time. This is a very limited (and I think stupid) point of view. If you are a student, you should do your best to study. Otherwise, you could just work work work (but the employer doesn’t like you if you don’t have any studies). So this bad employer attitude creates a vicious circle. I just hope there are enough companies out there who understand the need for good education, and don’t require experience when hiring graduates.

As far as receiving a sum of money while you are being trained for some months by a company, and then working (part time or full time) for 2-3 years for them I think you should have a pretty good idea about what that company is like. If you know from friends/colleagues that the work environment is good, the salaries are good and you find out what your career development could be, this might be a good choice. However, if it involves part-time work during school, you should carefully consider if you can afford to spend those hours working. If you don’t know much about the company and you can’t find out much from them (or if you aren’t convinced) I think it’s better not to sign such a contract. Deciding what to do with your next 2-3 years isn’t a good idea if you don’t really know what you’re doing.

After all, you go to university once, and you work for the rest of your life. Many teachers consider that going to work during school is a bad idea, and at least some of them know what they’re talking about – they’re not from another planet. My conclusion would be to study as much as you can (and go in the park, learn to play music, and watch movies in your free time) and only work after you finish school. You should study hard (and develop professionally as well as you can on your own, using the Internet among other things) otherwise going to school won’t serve you much.

As always, feel free to have your say about the post by leaving comments.

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