Hoxhunt Summer Hunters junior program
In 2019, Hoxhunt started the Summer Hunters program for aspiring junior software developers and data scientists. We wanted to see how we can support new talent development and introduce them to the world of coding. We also wanted to see what we could learn along the way.
How it began
The first job in tech can be crucial for your career. It teaches you the basics of working in a team, working with other people’s code, and contributing your own. We all remember the people who helped us in the early stages of our career, who believed in us and saw our potential – and we know we wouldn’t be the same today without their support. Therefore, we wanted to be able to teach as much as possible to our Summer Hunters during a short period of time. In the end, the program turned out to be a huge learning experience for us, too.
When we started to search for our Summer Hunters, we wanted to clearly communicate what it means to be a developer at Hoxhunt: all the communication about the program and the tasks from the coding test to the actual work plan had to reflect on who we are as a company.
“The experience was extremely positive, the best summer job I have ever had. From now on, I want to keep growing and deepen my machine learning skills while I work on my software development, data science, and soft skills.”
– Robin, Data Science Summer Hunter Alumni 2019
Our other goal was to give a framed task to each Summer Hunter for a summer that challenges and motivates but at the same time doesn’t feel overwhelming. The task had to be related to our core product to maximize the impact of the work while offering our Summer Hunters a chance to strengthen those exact skills they were motivated about.
Having juniors in the team was also a great possibility for us to challenge pre-existing patterns of working together. When a new set of eyes joined and challenged the existing solutions, it will cause us to look at our code differently. Is this universally readable? Is there something wrong with our processes? Could we simplify our code a bit more? This provides valuable feedback even to the most senior members of the team. “We have always done it this way” shouldn’t be a reason to continue unproductive development habits.
“Summer at Hoxhunt was a fun experience. We started on a completely fresh project with the goal to leave an impact on the Hoxhunt product, but also develop my skills. The objectives were ambitious, yet the summer was full of learning as we worked with multiple new tools and frameworks. There’s still much to learn, but the supportive colleagues and the great atmosphere motivate us to work towards the shared goals.”
– Joni, Data Science Summer Hunter Alumni 2019
When you have team members in the early stages of their career joining engineering teams, it also demands quite a lot of mentorship from those who’ve been in the house the longest. This can be surprisingly challenging when complex concepts suddenly need to be sliced and explained to someone who is completely new to the topic. Sometimes, this challenges even the seniors to face the gaps within their own skills and allows the team as a whole to benefit from a bit of introspection spurred on by a new member. You know what they say: unless you can explain a concept to someone fully new to it, you don’t know it well enough yourself.
The program turned out to be a huge success. And the best thing: all the Summer Hunters stayed at Hoxhunt! Now, they are developing their skills at an exponential speed. The hope is that one day, they will also be able to mentor new Summer Hunters at Hoxhunt.
And, as Max, Senior Software Engineer, put it:
“Even the most senior coder talent can only produce a certain amount of code in 8 hours. But if they learn to share that knowledge, that’s when the productivity and the output of the team really can scale up.”
“I think I have integrated into the team and the company very well. I get along amazingly with everyone, and the team is great to work with. You also always get support from the more senior coders. The atmosphere is relaxed, but everyone works hard. That is so great about it.”
– Samuli, Software Development Summer Hunter Alumni of 2019
At Hoxhunt, we love learning continuously. We also feel responsible for helping new coders to develop into future superstars as no one is a senior before first taking those first crucial steps. That’s why we are so excited to repeat this program in 2020 (and in many years to come!). There’s nothing quite like the reward of seeing a passionate programmer grow into their best self after having had the opportunity to mentor them all the way from the very beginning.
This year, we decided to take the program even further – on top of last year’s data science and software development tracks, we have now added options for aspiring product managers and UX designers as well. Stay tuned for more information about our Summer Hunter program of 2021 coming very soon!
“Altogether, the summer as a Summer Hunter was very successful. I especially liked the atmosphere and the spirit of getting things done. These are the main reasons why I am still working at Hoxhunt.”
– Noah, Software Development Summer Hunter Alumni of 2019