Girls' Day at IVU
Finding out about working as a software engineer
For the thirteenth time, Girls’ Day was held throughout Germany on 25 April. More than 100,000 interested schoolgirls between the ages of ten and sixteen had the opportunity to see what it was like working in scientific and engineering occupations. The background is that there are still relatively few women employed in the fields of mathematics, computer sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. The hope is that Girls’ Day will increase the interest of schoolgirls in these fields. Once again this year, IVU Traffic Technologies AG offered ten interested schoolgirls the opportunity to spend a whole day looking over the shoulders of software engineers and even to try working with a real software program.
The event at IVU was organised by the software developers Nadine Frick and Jonathan Hellwig with the undergraduate computer scientist Alexandra Beigelbeck and mathematician Dr Cornelia Dangelmayr. They put together a varied programme intended to interest the girls in a career in computer science or mathematics. The day started at 10 a.m. with a guided tour through the company building. The schoolgirls were shown the many different challenges which have to be tackled when organising public transport operations, and they came across various pieces of equipment that they encountered in their daily lives. The girls learned more about the principles behind Berlin’s passenger information displays, and could also test all the functions of a ticket vending machine. The morning continued with a presentation of IVU’s numerous international projects and this left the schoolgirls “really impressed by the range of countries and all the different applications”.
By means of a simple exercise, Nadine Frick showed just how important communications are for software engineers. While 13-year-old Katharina described an image using only words, the other participants had to try to draw what was being described to them. It soon became clear that it is not so easy to register and implement requirements solely on the basis of a description. Listening, understanding and asking the right questions are fundamental elements of software development, and in some cases they matter just as much as technical knowledge. “This is an important insight, which is intended to take away some of the girls’ inhibitions when it comes to technical occupations”, adds Nadine Frick.
The informative day was rounded off with a practical exercise with the IVU.locate geoinformation system. Here the girls could feel like proper software developers. A final visit to the server room of IVU left them amazed at the vast array of hard drives, cables and controls. IVU will be opening its doors for schoolgirls once more in the coming year in the hope that the fun and the variety will motivate one or the other participant to pursue a career in science and engineering.
IVU Traffic Technologies AG has been working for more than thirty-five years with some 350 software engineers to ensure that transport in the world’s major cities operates reliably and on time. People and vehicles in expanding cities are continually on the move – a logistical challenge which calls for intelligent and reliable software systems. The standardised software products of the IVU.suite and tailor-made IT solutions are used to plan, optimise and control the scheduling of vehicle fleets and personnel. Other systems support the choice of branch locations or ensure that election results are determined correctly.
IVU. Systems for vibrant cities.