Hitachi Solutions continues to invest in Portugal and the Microsoft community by partnering with local universities to attract the best talent to work with Microsoft Dynamics 365. The Hitachi Solutions Portugal internship programme, created in partnership with ISEP (Instituto Politécnico de Engenharia do Porto), finds and enrols the best local talent onto Hitachi Solutions’ comprehensive Learning & Development programme to “inspire the next” generation of consultants.
Today, João Bastos sits down with some of the team to hear their experience going through this journey. Join us!
João Bastos (JB): Welcome all! Great to have you with us Marta Silva (MS), Leandro Queirós (LQ), Guilherme Loureiro (GL) and João Pereira (JP). Let’s focus our conversation today around your experience through the first few months (curricular internship) and your first few weeks through our L&D programme.
JB: How did you find out about Hitachi Solution’s internship programme?
MS: There comes a time in one's life that we, as final year university students, choose a path to take that will change our lives forever and I believe that choosing the Hitachi Solutions Internship program was one of those moments.
Although the four of us attended the same university and even though we did not know each other, I think we all went through the same discovery journey during this program. Once the sixth semester started, the last one of my bachelor's degree the hunting for a curricular internship started as well.
Our university made available a list of possible internships that we had the opportunity to apply for and try our best to be admitted to. On this list, there were five different projects related to Hitachi Solutions which immediately caught my eye. I had never heard about this specific Business Applications segment within the Hitachi Group and I was even less aware that Hitachi had offices in my city, Porto. There were a couple of reasons that made me choose this company over all the other possibilities. First, the technologies that were offered were innovative and unlike anything I have ever heard. They would give us the chance to learn the most recent technology Microsoft released and that was an exceptional opportunity! Second, the team spirit and welcoming culture that I felt when I first visited the office.
Moreover, Hitachi Solutions is a global organization with a strong name in the market, with a diverse cultural background and amazing opportunities to grow personally and professionally all around the globe.
JB: What were some of the best lessons and main challenges encountered?
GL: The technology we had to use was Microsoft’s low-code platform – Microsoft Power Platform - which was entirely different from everything we had ever used in our university. This technology presented new challenges and a lot more to learn. In the beginning, everything seemed very simple and straightforward. However, as soon as we began solving more complex problems, we learned that despite this platform relying on low-to-no-code, we needed our knowledge in software engineering to achieve more customized and unique functionalities to extend some of the capabilities available.
JB: What were your first impressions during your internship?
LQ: As we were just about to graduate from university and most of us had no experience in the job market, we had the perception that, in Portugal, the open office concept was still some time away. We previously saw a lot of these open office examples in other countries, but we rarely saw it in Portugal. For us, this work environment gives a motivation to boost every morning to know that you are going to work right beside your colleagues and sharing ideas and brainstorming.
Since Hitachi Solutions is an international organization, we had an idea of a more “closed office” where you would easily be able to tell most of the hierarchical levels. However, once we arrived, we soon realized there was a friendly and warming environment in which people were at ease with one another without taking in account any sort of roles or positions.
Additionally, we thought we would only meet some of the people in the first day and would get in touch with others as we went along, but we actually had the opportunity to have lunch with most of the team, during a barbeque on the balcony of our offices in our very first day of the internship! Everyone we met was always willing to help us with any problem and that made our experience even better.
To be honest, we initially had no idea of what the Hitachi values meant as we joined the internship. We only had the impression of a Japanese organization that would have a good work ethic. Therefore, this experience was something new for us, including the Hitachi group values (Harmony, Integrity and Pioneering Spirit) and the importance given to them to promote and enhance our work environment.
JB: What were your first thoughts when considering Hitachi Solutions for a curricular internship and how do they compare with your current perspective?
GL: The internship was beyond the expectations that any of us had for it. This happened for many reasons, the most important being the culture we found at Hitachi Solutions. When comparing my experience with some of my university colleagues, I understood how the support and dedication into making us feel comfortable was critical for a successful internship. Even in a middle of a worldwide pandemic, we did not lack assistance in making this experience enjoyable.
On another note, the Microsoft Power Platform technology we used was right within our expectations, because as a developer and being enthusiastic of technological advancements, we are always searching to learn more about what is new and different.
JB: What about working with the team. Can you share some thoughts on what that looks like?
JP: The peer-to-peer relationship at Hitachi Solutions is pretty much awesome, the culture really shines on this point since everyone feels comfortable to talk to us and help us whenever we need. During our curricular internship we only had one week of work at the office since Portugal went into lockdown immediately after the first internship week because of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, that first week was pretty good, where we joined the team for a welcoming barbecue. We were able to form a few relationships with the people that were working in the office at the time and to see how the team interact with each other - a very friendly and helpful type of interaction.
Hitachi Solutions really focuses on an open mentality around the problems and dilemmas that a project has. Everyone is encouraged to share their opinions and vision on a given topic where the person feels they might contribute to help the project. Even today, we are sometimes working in the office and the same thoughts of sharing opinions and sharing ideas on how to solve a problem are highly encouraged. We are always changing places and sitting next to other colleagues to share those ideas and find the best solution to the problems we face.
JB: What is it like to work for a tech consulting firm within the current circumstances and limits we are facing as part of this pandemic?
JP: Working during a pandemic is not easy. There are plenty of rules Hitachi have implemented that we follow to be safe. The Hitachi Solutions office in Porto is open, and we can work from there whenever we want. The spacing between seats is, perhaps, the one that affects us the most since the culture at Hitachi Solutions really focus on connecting and sharing ideas with our peers. Sometimes, it is difficult to keep the distance between us because we all share ideas and talk to each other but we are willing to respect these guidelines and also continue to promote our ways of working to overcome the obstacles and find a balance that provides us with a great working experience.
During this time, we also have the option to work from home. Even though most of us are still coming to the office, some other colleagues are staying at home. Technology today, probably more than ever, provides us with great platforms that promote teamwork across our people and facilitate communication and collaboration through chats, video conferences and cloud-based work. Therefore, tools such as Microsoft Teams enable us to efficiently work as a team and stay digitally close whilst being physically apart.
JB: Would you recommend your journey to you peers?
MS: Overall, and considering my own experience at Hitachi Solutions – throughout my curricular and professional Internships – I would, without a doubt, recommend to other colleagues in the area that are looking for a different experience in the consulting industry. Despite my short path in the company and this being my very first working experience, I believe that the working environment and values promoted by Hitachi Solutions are very important in a way that motivates us and makes us want to reach our full potential.
JB: Thank you all!
Hitachi Solutions Portugal Team: Thank you João!