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Fresh graduates are afraid to take risks

I do not feel quite positive when pushing to make the study more practical. Theory is the foundation.


Petr Krontorád is one of the first employees of the Brno branch of the company NetSuite , which is one of the world's top financial system developers. The young graduate of the Faculty of Informatics leads an emerging IT office with nearly 300 employees. Together with the other twelve successful graduates of Masaryk University he won a gold medal at the beginning of May to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the foundation of MU.

What do you think companies like NetSuite are going to Brno?

When NetSuite reached a critical size, he started looking for a location for his second major development center. The victory of Brno has helped with incentives from the government and the European Union, but it was decisive that so many talented and motivated people in the IT field were in a relatively small town and a small country. I would say that the term Czech golden hands in our field is of new significance. People often want not only to have a well-paid job, but it also depends on the quality of the work they have done and to give them a sense of professional satisfaction. You do not have to stand behind your people and chase them to work. On the contrary, skilful employees often push employers to innovate and allow them to do their job best.

What labor cost?

This, of course, is another important parameter. An American engineer with the same experience will be five times more than the Czech one. In addition, NetSuite is based in Silicon Valley, where it is very difficult to recruit employees to compete with big companies such as Google, Apple or Facebook. They often do not have to be as attractive as we do, but people who are branded prefer to go there. This is not so obvious, although NetSuite, of course, is by no means the only good IT company to discover the magic of Brno.

How do you get to a relatively high position like you?

It was a bit of a risk, but nothing else so unusual. At some point I decided to change my job and learned that a new company is going to be in Brno, which will be building a branch from scratch. I found it interesting to be at it.

Why was it a risk?

NetSuite is not a well-known company, and moreover, at first, it was more or less cautious. It was not like we planned to pick the 300 people we have today in 2010. We have gradually become involved in the business and the respect that we have today has to be built. Growth to today's dimensions is therefore underpinned by successes from previous years. Even my position has gradually formed, and although today it may look tempting, at the time I started in the company, it was far from attractive.

Are you a manager nowadays? Is not that early in your age?

In our company, the manager's definition does not apply. We have a lot of technical culture here, and only a manager here is nobody. Managers or team leaders are technically involved in work with their subordinates, often they are even the best in the team. I spend at least half of the day programming. I think it's very effective in our industry. Problems are often solved and you need to be directly aware of what is going on and what is the problem. The complex phase, when developers need to translate into a managerial language, is often a complex problem, often at the cost of losing the information value. Being only a manager is a dangerous trap. Within a year or two of IT work, you will fall out completely and start to have unrealistic ideas. So I try to keep my feet on the ground.

What is the key to making a student once a good developer and not ending up as a pawn-programmer?

Graduates of the Faculty of Informatics have a fairly good advantage in having a solid theoretical basis. Therefore, I do not quite feel positive when pushing for making it more practical. So-called "practical" are often knowledgeable ones that one can learn quite well in their free time and change so quickly that before you get to practice, everything is completely different. The theoretical foundations, however, remain more or less the same for many years. I would encourage students to get the most outlook and not to miss lectures simply because they do not see added value. At the age of twenty, one has no idea what to do. Today I only regret what I did not learn during my studies; I certainly do not mind today a few hours spent on a lecture, which I did not consider necessary at the time.

From the point of view of length of working career, it makes no sense to settle down comfortably in the early years.

So graduates are providing you with a high-quality computer science department?

I can also compare with US developers who have Stanford, for example, and I can not say that they are much better than ours. They are definitely more focused and able to sell. Masaryk University is definitely a great school, I just feel backwards that she was very mild in some ways and did not force a person to be more active.

What do you mean?

In general, the Czech educational system of a person does not lead much to trying, risking, and mistaking. And I do not think you do not do the exam because you did not learn, that's your crap. I think the possibility of trying out A to Z, for example, to realize an idea, a student project and to know what it's like to fail. Undergraduates do not take this chance, and it's a pity. The result is that people are comfortable, they feel they can not fail, because the Czech society has a low tolerance for mistakes. For example, the founder of NetSuite has succeeded with its third business plan.

Is not it culturally conditioned?

We can not excuse it. Certainly we can change the fact that our fresh graduates often go to an established firm for a comfortable place with medium pay and light work, even though they have the possibility to start a career somewhere where convenience instead of having an opportunity to develop and learn. When to go to risk at other times just after school, when one does not yet have such claims and commitments. Even from the point of view of length of working career, it makes no sense to settle comfortably in the early years. Perhaps it would help if people were going to school and explained this to students. Then we can do something about it.

Gallery of graduates