If you’re convinced that you have to work hard for years before achieving your dream job position, let us refute this view for you! We’ve interviewed our colleagues Miloš and Paťo to demonstrate it only takes will, stamina and, we won’t lie, a little bit of extra time management skills. Miloš is our Software Engineer in QA Automation, Paťo is our Data Engineer, and they have one thing in common — both of them joined GoHealth Slovakia while they were still university students. If you’re curious about how they balanced school and work and what benefits it has brought them in their future working lives, keep on reading!
If you want to know more about the roles of Software Engineer in QA Automation and Data Engineer, we’re currently looking for people for (not only) these very positions! Check out our Career page here.
What’s your current job position at GoHealth, and what exactly are your duties?
Miloš: I’m a Software Engineer in QA Automation. My main responsibility is to check and evaluate tests within my team, report bugs if they occur and, of course, I take ownership of the automation development. Automated tests simulate manual testing, where for example testers click on the content of pages, forms are being filled out in and installed, and the content of the pages is checked — for example, whether the form was sent correctly, etc.
Paťo: As a Data Engineer I’m constantly dealing with different types of tasks. It involves creating various reports, processing data from external services in various formats, ETL, migration of existing solutions to other technologies, solving production problems, or implementing other requirements for business people.
What are your current job challenges?
Miloš: As part of my work, I encounter multiple technologies, for example, Kotlin, Selenium, Spring framework, databases, React, Typescript, and others. Since they’re changing gradually, there is a lot to learn every day. Oftentimes new tasks are very challenging because you need to study and learn a lot. However, I really enjoy the work, mostly because of the team of people that has been built over the years.
Paťo: I encounter requirements from various areas and therefore face a challenge on how to orient myself in each system/technology, and how to be effective in each. What’s great is the fact that we have regular knowledge-sharing sessions where I can debate and ask questions regarding different aspects of my work and get multiple perspectives and opinions from my colleagues.
How long have you been working here and when did you start?
Miloš: I joined the company 7 years ago — when there were only 10 people working. Since then we have not only become a part of the GoHealth family, our team has also grown by a number of new team members. I started as a part-timer while I was studying at the University of Economics in Bratislava, and I had worked here throughout my studies. After university, I went to the United States for 5 months. I took a little break from the IT world and I worked at the amusement park, then I traveled for more than a month. The trip mainly helped me to improve my language skills. When I returned I started working here full time.
Paťo: I started working at GoHealth in August 2018, when I started to work on my Master’s degree in Engineering at the Technical University of Košice. I did my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Pavol Jozef Šafárik, but it was really time-consuming. Before working at GoHealth, while working on my bachelor’s degree, I worked as a Game Developer for 3 years. I gained a lot of experience and knowledge useful also for my studies.
It’s often a common misconception that people working and studying at the same time won’t do either one 100%. However, there are two sides to every story — while some of us may struggle, other ones are perfectly capable of seizing every minute of the day, and thanks to their time management they still even have time for their hobbies.
Was it difficult to study and work at the same time?
Miloš: Thanks to GoHealth’s flexible working hours it wasn’t a problem for me. Since we work closely with our US colleagues and there’s a time shift between us and America, I was able to work for example from noon until the evening.
Paťo: I transferred from one university to another because of the lack of free time. I wanted to focus mainly on work, so I decided to change school for one that does not require so much attention and especially so many hours of attendance. It has certainly been more difficult to work and study at the same time, but I think it only makes sense and brings advantages in gaining knowledge and experience.
Did work make your studies easier? Did the real-life practical experience help you with not always easy theoretical subjects?
Miloš: It certainly did. I’ve learned most of the things I currently know thanks to my job. Some of my colleagues even gave lectures at my university — it was especially nice when we met there from time to time.
Paťo: Even though working at GoHealth as a Data Engineer and studying at the Technical University of Košice do not exactly overlap, I was definitely able to get a bigger picture and understand the lectured topics from a broader perspective.
What are the benefits of working besides university studies?
Miloš: From my own experience, students that had been working while studying at the university had a much better start after graduation. And not only that. Usually, they even had even better grades. I think it was mostly because they had better time management and were able to work under pressure. They were just used to having more assignments and they learned to solve them effectively. Those who were already working in their field during their studies even had the opportunity to get advice from their colleagues. And I probably don’t need to explain the advantages of having some extra cash. :)
Paťo: For me, the greatest advantage is the simultaneous gaining of both practical and theoretical knowledge.
Many students are afraid they won’t be able to manage both university and work. Miloš and Paťo will tell you why you shouldn’t be scared and also, why it’s probably the best choice you can make.
What advice would you give to students who are worried about managing both work and school?
Miloš: Go for it! As I mentioned before, I knew many cases of students, who had been working during their studies and because of that, they were more flexible and nifty at school too. They were able to get out of tricky situations too (alternative exam dates, consultation hours, etc.).
Paťo: Don’t be afraid to try it as soon as possible. If the employer allows flexible working hours, it is easy to study and for the rest of your free time, you are dedicated to practical education.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Paťo: I like to spend my free time playing sports. Apparently, my secondary school (focused on sports) and my seven-year football “career” in the local football club have to do a lot with it. I try to include sports activities at least 2–3 during the week: football, running, motocross, cycling, swimming, climbing, hiking, badminton.
What do you prefer? Home office or office?
Miloš: I always thought that working from home must be a dream come true. Well, it’s exactly the opposite. After some time of working solely from home due to the pandemic, I started to miss the office a lot and I returned as soon as it was possible. The environment our company has created for us is difficult to describe in words. You need to experience it. So, definitely office for me!
Paťo: I prefer working from home with occasional visits to the office (1–2 a week) just for the purpose of social interaction with my colleagues.
We’re planning to re-launch an internship program for students next year! You’ll have the opportunity to gain valuable experience and knowledge, get a chance to learn from the best people in the field, and work for one of the biggest health tech companies. Make the most out of your university studies and join our team just as Miloš and Paťo did. If you’re interested in learning more, follow us on our social media, and don’t forget to check our website, more info coming soon!
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