Reflections on the Day with industrial partners, autumn 2021

Dorota Jůvová, Barbora Bühnová 19. 11. 2021

Den SPP podzim 2021 On Thursday, November 11, 2021, Faculty of Informatics at Masaryk University (FI MU) hosted the Day with Industrial Partners (SPP Day), online for the third time in a row - a traditional all-day event that offers students and other interested parties at FI MU the opportunity to meet to learn how FI MU cooperates with companies within the Association of Industrial Partners (SPP) FI and thus learn more about the possibilities of how to actively participate in connecting the university with the world of practice, and how to benefit from the cooperation.

Although there was a great effort on the part of the faculty and companies for an in-person form of the event, the event in the end took place online again due to the covid-19 pandemic situation.

More than 150 students from the Faculty of Informatics and another 50 guests and those interested in learning more about the activities at FI MU from the public registered for the event.

The program was divided into 4 main thematic blocks, organized via the Zoom platform. Furthermore, students and visitors had the opportunity to meet with company representatives through online booths on the Discord platform. Once again, thematic workshops of the companies were represented.

Den SPP podzim 2021 Based on the suggestion from the last year, we included a block in English, which was the first block within the program. Barbora Bühnová, Vice-Dean for Industrial Relations at the Faculty of Informatics, was the moderator of Block 1 entitled Innovation and R&D in partner companies - lessons and future directions. The speakers in this block were Ondřej Krajíček, Chief Technology Strategist at Y Soft, Tomáš Szaszi, Director of Business Development - Innovation Leader at Honeywell, Pavel Minařík, Chief Technology Officer at Flowmon Networks / Kemp, Tibor Szabó, Chairman of the Board at inQool and Libor Michalčík, Kyndryl CIC Brno Operations and Transformation Leader, Statutory representative from Kyndryl. This discussion touched topics such as where R&D and innovation are done, whether companies have special R&D teams or these activities are integrated into development, what are the differences between R&D and development, what R&D technologies they work in and whether the technologies are the same or different than in development. You could learn what it takes to be qualified for R&D. Of interest was the explanation of the difference in the mindset of entrepreneur vs intrapreneur, and the topic of the product roadmap. It was also stimulating to share how customers are involved in R&D, connections of R&D with the university, and especially the involvement of students in R&D. You can watch video from blok 1 here.

Den SPP podzim 2021 Block 2 was devoted to presentations on the topic Insight into the background of successful projects from the practice and cooperation of FI and companies, moderated by Václav Matyáš, Vice-Dean for Alumni Relations and Lifelong Learning, FI MU. Vít Suchomel from Lexical Computing presented their student (doctoral) project Better web corpora for corpus linguistics and NLP, Hana Rudová for FI MU and Wereldo project Freight transport planning in cooperation with Wereldo, Jaroslav Ráček for FI MU and TECHNISERV project Tevogs and Kamil Dudka from Red Hat projekt AUFOVER. The second block began with a short presentation, where all participants and their projects introduced themselves. After that, each of the performers was introduced to an interesting project in cooperation with FI and the company. There was also a debate on the possibility of involving students in final theses in cooperation with companies, and in the end they were given an opportunity to talk about examples of failure that led to lessons to be avoided when implementing projects on the border between company and university. You can watch video from blok 2 here.

Den SPP podzim 2021 Another block, Block 3 entitled Short presentations of interesting student projects and final theses, was entirely devoted to students and graduates (not only the Faculty of Informatics) and their projects and final theses. Michal Starý, who presented a project with Konica Minolta, Adrian Hrinko with a presentation of his diploma thesis in connection with Safetica, Adam Chovanec and Eva Krajníková presented their projects in cooperation with Trusted Network Solutions, Daniel Filakovský with a project for Kentico Software. Then Vlasta Ohlídalová, a student of the Faculty of Arts with a bachelor's thesis for Lexical Computing, Jan Lorenc, a student of the Faculty of Information Technology at VUT, who presented a bachelor's thesis in conjunction with Y Soft Tomáš Soukal, a graduate of FI MU with a project for Ahead iTec. This block was an example of how very clever students are and especially how well cooperation with companies can work and what excellent results it can result in. You can watch video from blok 3 here.

Den SPP podzim 2021 The last block in was a panel discussion with experts from practice on "Best practices in SW development". Barbora Bühnová took on the role of moderator and invited Pavla Rychlého from FI MU and Lexical Computing, Jakuba Jeřábka from Monet+, Daniela Doktora from GoodData, Tomáše Svobodu from Safetica a Vojtěcha Filipa from Tescan to the panel discussion. The questions concerned the topics of key activities in software development with an impact on the quality of the result, the sustainability of the code, how difficult it is for someone to take over the code. Interesting terms that were mentioned in this block were simplicity rules, continuous integration, automation, testing, code sharing, mobile applications, development economics, human centered design, user involvement, request prioritization, bug fixing. The problem of how to work with the fact that it is often not possible to implement everything, or the need to choose where to start, was addressed, and the importance of error monitoring was emphasized. In addition to communication and customer needs, the role of automation in supporting the long-term sustainability and sustainability of the project, quality control during development, its testability and risk management was certainly an interesting topic. You can watch video from blok 4 here.

This time, the companies were able to use their presentation on the online booths of the Discord platform in two time slots. In addition to the companies, the internship coordinator Alena Hooperová was also available, and the National Office for Cyber and Information Security also had representatives here. Students had the opportunity to find out what specific final theses in cooperation with FI companies offer, whether they could complete internships or part-time internships.

Finally, it was possible to visit Kentico Software's online workshops on Technical Writing - a little-known, even more interesting IT profession, and Kyndryl on To Each Their Own - How to Create a CV Tailored for Each Application. Both workshops received very positive feedback.

In conclusion, we would like to present a few feedbacks that are more than positive:
“"I would like to thank you for organizing the event. It was amazing, that's exactly what I was wishing for from Masaryk University, and it gave me a lot for the future, it met my expectations”
“It is valuable to find out how students got to work with companies, to the positions where they are, to the projects they work on. Many addressed this aspect, which is great.”
“Overall, the event was great, I learned a lot of new information.”

We are also very happy about the response from the speakers on their channels:
Tomáš Szaszi (LinkedIn)
Thank you for inviting I really enjoyed speaking to students along with the other four industry leaders. Just to remember – getting successful (commercially viable) innovation is a difficult but rewarding job. Before anything else, find a problem worth solving. Having a great idea is just the beginning of the whole journey…