Doubtlessly, Israel is one of the leading countries in hi-tech industry and we, Israeli software and hardware engineers, have countless opportunities instantly available once we are qualified to enroll. Yet out of the nearly 150 thousand employed in the hi-tech sector less than one thousand are Arab citizens. This worrisome figure makes up only a fifth of the Arab graduates.
Continuing its active involvement in initiatives that seeks to enroll students of computer science from diverse backgrounds, SAP Labs Israel co-operated with Maantech and hosted an event for students from the Arab sector in its Ra'anana offices on December 17th which I was proud to take an active part in.
We put two goals for this event:
- Introducing SAP and its solutions, both local and global, to the students. This gives them a glimpse of large companies in the hi-tech industry and presents SAP as a good career choice.
- Telling the success stories of Arab-speaking employees in SAP through an open panel with the students to demonstrate the opportunities that are possible in SAP for pretty much anyone qualified.
The event was a success and the number of attendants was as expected. It was clear that the students were very anxious to learn a lot about SAP and large hi-tech companies in general. Given that they are still in college; most of them had no experience with software development and had a lot of questions. The atmosphere was optimistic and fun. I was happy to feel helpful.
The first part of the event included three sessions introducing SAP. Managing Director Mickey Steiner kicked off with a brief summary about SAP's history and fields of interest, and gave some figures that demonstrate the scale of the company. Then Mor Sagmon introduced SAP's technologies and the HANA platform. During Mor's sessions the students showed interest and asked several questions about HANA and its challenges as an in-memory system. It was theoretically interesting for the freshly taught engineers. In the last session, Moran Melamoud talked about subjects related to Human Resources and the process of interviewing and onboarding new employees in SAP.
During the break, the students were very anxious and asked a lot about the work flow and how we, employees at SAP Israel, work and interact with groups in so many countries. Many of them were surprised that they did not known enough about SAP, a workplace with countless opportunities.
The second part of the event was an open panel of Arab speaking employees in SAP Labs Israel. I told my story as a student who started working at SAP and upgraded to a full-time job after finishing my studies a year and a half ago. I dedicated a large part of the time to give numerous technical and personal tips to the students who participated in the panel actively as I am merely three years ahead of them in the career timeline and I can clearly understand many of their issues. I repeatedly stressed two points that are important for Arab students to step in the hi-tech industry: geographic tolerance and a bit of extra effort in studies. The former because it is impractical to ask for top work places outside the center of the country, and the latter because the current situation slightly raises the effective standard for Arab students.
In the second panel Afif Abu Much gave several tips based on his experience with organizations like Maantech. Further expanding on the points that I raised, Afif encouraged the students to do their maximum while looking for jobs and stressed on the importance of collaboration with organizations like Maantech.
All in all, the students came out very optimistic and many of them still had a lot to say after the end of the event and stayed in the place to talk with SAP employees. The representatives from Maantech and other similar organizations expressed satisfaction and considered the results a green light for a series of similar visits to other large companies, hoping to repeat the success from our event.