The first six months at an IT company can be quite challenging when you come directly from school. My biggest problem was that I could not have a conversation with my colleagues because I had absolutely no idea of what they were talking about. So here is my story of the start of my carrier as a Trainee at Affecto.

The first time it hit me that I have no clue about what Business Intelligence is was on my first interview at Affecto when I had applied for their trainee program. Of course we had a BI course at the University of Lund where I studied, we got an Excel sheet and by using Qlick View we could do some visualizations. It seemed fun and not that hard. Yes, the course included a bit about data warehouse and ETL flows, but since I didn’t think that that was information I was going to need, I didn’t fully learn what I was.

So when it was time for my first interview at Affecto I felt quite confident, I mean, I had studied a whole course about this! I realized I was wrong in the first couple of minutes, when my boss started to talk about stuff like Data Vault, modeling and mentioned Cognos and Informatica. I had absolutely no idea of what he talked about. I just sat in my chair and nodded and smiled. For some reason I don’t know, I was called to a second meeting, a more technical meeting. But at least I had the brains to understand that I needed to study a bit about BI before that meeting.

I think it helped a bit, but mostly I just smiled and nodded in that meting as well. I got the job as a trainee at Affecto so apparently I did something right. And when it was time to sign the papers I had prepared a few questions to ask, so that it actually looked like I knew a bit about the job. At the end of the meeting my boss asked me If I had any questions, and I had, so I gave him a firm YES. And then my brain went blank. I could not remember my questions. I started laughing a bit nervously and my boss looked at me in a funny way. I got a bit panicky and after a few seconds some awkwardness I thought to myself “Just say ANYTHING” So I did, and what came out of my mouth was “eeeeh… do you use MAC computers?” He said no. And I thought to myself, that it was a good thing that we already signed all the papers.

Smiling helps!
I found out that smiling is sometimes helpful!

That was my start at Affecto, after that followed six months of total confusion. My way to handle it was to nod and smile a lot. In some cases it has worked great in others, not so much. What really made my first six months manageable was the trainee program. We were fifteen trainees from different countries, and after working three weeks at our own offices, we all got to meet in Stockholm. This was to get to know each other and have a few courses together. And when we met I could see other people just as confused as me and we could talk, laugh and learn from each other.

Three generations from Affecto's trainee programs.
Three generations from Affecto’s trainee programs.

So how do you survive your first 6 months at a IT company? I did by my colleges in the trainee program. I could ask questions to them that I might not want to ask my other colleagues. And talking in general with my coworkers, the ones that have worked for a while, and learn from them. And now I’m at my second year at Affecto, and there is still a lot of things I don’t know, and a lot more to learn. But you learn as you go along and nobody knows everything. And hey I got a award for Rookie of the year in Sweden after my first year, so I have come a long way from a confused trainee to a actual consultant. And to all my colleagues, if you ever see me smile and nod when you are talking to me, it probably means that I have not got a clue of what you are talking about.

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