High school graduates Siiri, Erika and Marilla shared their story about their summer job experience at Eficode.

How did we end up at Eficode?

The three of us have known each other through high school. Because we have similar interests, we have spent many science and math classes together at our school in Helsinki, Viikin normaalikoulu.

The first time we heard about Super-Ada, an event encouraging young women to the IT industry, was through a message from our guidance counsellor. We were all quite excited about it, so we joined the event as a team of three. We registered for Super-Ada just before an exam, so the team name was a split-second decision. The students at our school like to joke about it being in the countryside, as there are fields next to our school despite it being located in the Finnish capital. Our team name “PeltoGäng” was inspired by this: it roughly translates to FieldGang.

Super-Ada 2020 was held on February 7th at the Helsinki City Hall. We spent the afternoon doing different tasks at a competition track, listening to career stories and chatting with women who work in the IT industry. The tasks of the competition track were organized by companies and schools from the tech industry, such as Eficode and the University of Helsinki. The tasks ranged from correcting simple code to identifying computer parts and designing the layout of a mobile application. We had a lot of fun at the event, especially as we all like problem solving and are interested in the IT branch. 

We were awarded points from each task based on our performance and teamwork. At the end of the event, there was an award ceremony, and we were happy to learn that we had won the competition. The first prize was excellent: a summer job at Eficode. And that’s how we ended up here.

Our project

Our first mission was to define our challenge. We were given a fairly free task: interview employees and find something worth improving in the office. At first, we hesitated. Just go up and interrupt the employees at work? How would they react? But despite our initial shyness, the interviews turned out to be a great success and – as a bonus – incredibly fun. The Eficodeans were all extremely nice and willing to answer our random questions. Finally, we settled on developing a new and improved booking system for the meeting rooms.

After the interviews, we headed straight into brainstorming. We got to try out many strategies commonly used in professional creative processes, such as slapping Post-it notes onto a whiteboard and voting with smiley stickers. After bouncing ideas back and forth, we had engineered our final concept, the EfiRooms. Next up was prototype building.

Our aim was to build a draft website on a programme called Figma. We divided the project into individual tasks, began working and imagined that we’d be done in 2-3 hours. It seemed simple enough. However, building a website from scratch proved way more challenging than we had initially thought. Not that Figma was too difficult to use, or that we hadn’t planned the concept well enough. But because of our varying visions, especially when it came to colour, clashed constantly. After discussing what felt like a hundred different colour schemes, we agreed on a palette we found both aesthetically appealing and user-friendly. Some adjustments later, our prototype 1.0 was ready for usability tests.

Proud of our prototype, we stepped into one of the Eficode labs and started the tests. The three test subjects had different roles in the company, so we hoped for diverse feedback. After getting similar-ish comments from certain parts of the prototype we realized, it was in dire need of some refining. Additional features, requested by our subjects, also needed to be added. 

We stepped back into our project room, gathered and reviewed the feedback and reexamined our prototype. Inconsistencies in color and shape were removed, date and time features were expanded and the layout was improved. And then, finally, the EfiRooms prototype was completed and ready to be presented.

THE presentation

On our 7th day at Eficode, we got an interesting message. Our team leader asked us if we were willing to participate in a meeting to present our creation to a whole bunch of people. We agreed, obviously, and set to work. It was a first for all of us. Our first presentation in a company meeting and in English, too. Were we nervous? Yes, but it still ended up being a positive experience. And on a practical note, stuff like this is the best practice for the future.

Interesting, challenging, exciting

Our summer job here at Eficode was all of the above and more. The best part was that we got to learn a lot. Since we came here without any background in UX design, it would have been easy for the company to have us do menial tasks. (I know my family thought I’d be getting other people coffee for two weeks). But that didn’t happen. We got to learn about UX/UI design and the IT world in general. We got an introduction to service design. We got to explore Figma as a tool. We even learned how to make a fantastic cup of coffee with a fancy espresso machine. 

Next, I have to mention the warm welcome we got. There are many jokes about the Finns avoiding human interaction, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. The office wasn’t very crowded (because of COVID-19), but we still chatted with new people every day. It was inspiring to hear about their varying backgrounds and paths to the world of tech. Our mentors were really kind and relaxed. Someone popping by our room to check how we were doing was a daily occurrence. It was especially appreciated in the beginning when even entering the internal spaces made us nervous.

Last but not least, we have to fangirl a little about the office itself. The building was great (I mean, who has a sauna with a rooftop deck?!), the location was even better and the free drinks and snacks didn’t hurt. At the Super-Ada event, a speaker mentioned that IT companies spoil their employees. After our time here, we can’t help but agree with her. Free coffee? Yes, please!

Thank you!

All in all, this was a wonderful experience to all of us. We all agree that our time here exceeded our expectations: We really learned a lot and had a great time. You don’t come across an opportunity like this often. Thank you, Eficode! 

<3 Siiri, Marilla and Erika

Published: Aug 27, 2020