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Interview with the apprentice: Dinh Ha Nguyen about the training at *um

Interview with the apprentice: Dinh Ha Nguyen about the training at *um

Unbelievable Machine (*um) has been on a steady growth course for the past eight years and has been relying for six of them completely on experienced employees. Preliminary, lateral and solution thinkers. Since 2016 *um itself has also been training – and opens the doors for people with the right spirit. One of these is Dinh Ha Nguyen (24), who is in apprenticeship training as an IT Specialist for Systems Integration since February 2017. We talked about what drives him and where the journey is going.

Hello, Ha. What did you want to be when you were a little boy?

Rich (laughs). My parents always had great expectations of me. If it was up to them, I'd be a lawyer or a doctor by now. I never wanted to be a craftsman or anything.


I've always been the IT technician for family and friends, took care of hardware and software where necessary. I have always assembled my PCs from individual components and built them myself.

These are good prerequisites for starting your career in IT.

That’s actually true. I’ve always wanted to work in IT, but thought I wasn't good enough.

Why is that?

Because I was rather substandard in computer science at school. That's why I started my studies in corporate law to go the way my parents expected. But then I quickly realized that it was too dry and too theoretical – and that I should approach it with IT.

And what did happen next?

Then I tried to find a training place. I wanted to do a dual apprenticeship with as much practice as possible. In September 2016, however, I found only one apprenticeship training place for the time being...

... to the IT Specialist for System Integration?

Exactly. So I accepted this offer, but at the same time I looked around and researched online to find out which companies were offering a real training place at the earliest possible point in time. So I became aware of *um.

Why *um?

Even their website was different from others, and it was informative. Most of them are filled with phrases. Shortly afterwards I had an introductory interview and there was a great atmosphere. The people were surprisingly young and very open-minded.

Will your half year of schooling be counted?

Yes. I'm bringing some theoretical knowledge. Thus, the training period runs until September 2019.


What's going on in the meantime? Is it what you expected?

Oh, yeah. There is a special working atmosphere here. Many young people who have ideas and a desire for innovation and new technologies. You can feel this everywhere, and that makes working for me as an apprentice a lot of fun.

There is a respectful, but relaxed attitude. We all have names, including the bosses, but we respect that they have a lot of experience.

What's it like as an apprentice?

Apprentices are treated with the same amount of respect. No one forces us to do typical tasks such as making coffee or getting sandwiches. It is purposeful here. At *um trainees and apprentices are integrated as well as possible into the daily work and projects.

*um has many different departments and people who work in different areas, with many backgrounds and cultures. This is noticeable in the working atmosphere as well, here there are not only typical IT folks, it is a lot of fun.

Do you also get to know other departments in your training?

Yeah, sure. As an apprentice I go through all departments of *um. Originally placed in the IT, I also spend a few weeks in the finance, helpdesk or data Ccenter departments. Currently I'm in the finance department.

Do you think that's good?

It is very good to get an insight into the other areas. I don't think any department is unimportant to the company as a whole. That's why it is interesting for me to have at least sniffed into all of them and to work together for a few weeks.

Where do you sniff next?

Soon I'll go to the helpdesk. But most of the time I am in the operations department, which is where I do my training.

What do you like about it?

Well, first of all the broad education with many development possibilities. Then that I get to know and apply all kinds of current and future technologies. And I always have an instructor at my side.

It's incredibly varied, even within my own team. We have very different exciting projects, which is great fun. Moreover, commitment is rewarded.

Like what, for instance?

The vocational school offered me a two-week Erasmus language course in Belfast, with certificate for Business English. But I am dependent on summer holidays and have to take four weeks at a time to visit my relatives in Vietnam. This means that there is actually no vacation time left for the language course. However, the company is very interested in the further training of its apprentices and has given me two more weeks of special leave!

That's extraordinary.

Yeah, but it's always like that around here. There are many events and training courses. Once a month, for example, is "Brainfood", then the company invites us to lunch and we hear a good technological talk.

There are also plenty of opportunities to do something private and go to the cinema or something like that. The company has even rented an entire cinema for this purpose.

Does all your free time consist of *um?

Nah, certainly not (laughs). In my spare time I meet with friends. We do quite normal things, go to the cinema more often or even play classic board games together. Oh, and I also sing Karaoke in my spare time. Even at *um, where I broke all Singstar records.

How could that be?

Well, we have a recreation room with a Playstation in it. We can go there when we're stressed out or after work, to gamble or to play Singstar. And I broke the records with every song I sang!

We also have a kicker, where colleagues meet up when they need a change from their daily work. But most fun is the daily work.

Sounds like you're a perfect match for *um. Do you want to stay after your training?

If the company wants me, gladly. I would be very happy.

And what will happen afterwards?

After my apprenticeship I am a System Engineer, with two and a half years of practical experience. And then it goes on step by step.


Then we wish you lots of fun with the rest of your training.

Thank you. Now I have to pass my intermediate examination. It's coming up.

So good luck and success with it!

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