Duality, Diversity and Digital Days for Girls: Life as a working student at Porsche

Porsche’s history is infused with dualities: Like almost no other brand, the brand represents tradition — a tradition of excellent sports cars, timeless design and premium engineering. On the other hand, the company’s path has always been marked by innovation. It all began with Ferry Porsche’s vision of a sports car and many more followed.

Dualities are not only characterizing the company at large but also my day-to-day job as a working student at Porsche Digital Lab. It is all about trial and error, creativity and teamwork. My most personal duality is women and tech — and it makes me very happy that my job allows me to combine both aspects harmoniously. They do not stand in contrast, but rather reinforce each other. So, today, I’d like to share with you what I have learned about dealing with challenging dualities during my time at Porsche Digital Lab.

1. Having fun is important, but not having fun will teach you about yourself

We all know the saying “If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work again” — work becomes much easier when you’re having fun. Especially as a working student, at the beginning of your career, it is important to get involved in different projects to find out what intrigues you and what doesn’t. To find out the latter, you also have to commit to some things you don’t want to do. These projects often teach you skills that would otherwise remain underdeveloped because you don’t advance them voluntarily. This way, you broaden your skill-set, which is always a plus — especially as a young professional.

2. Realize your own ideas and help others realize theirs

Speaking of projects and developing new skills: In my work at the Porsche Digital Lab, I realized that there’s always room for individual development. In an earlier blog post, I wrote about the importance of corporate culture when deciding which new ideas become reality. At Porsche Digital Lab, I have the freedom and space to unfold my own innovative potential. We have many different working spaces to facilitate creativity. And, of course, a very diverse, international and skilled team that’s able to answer almost all of my questions and supports me with knowledge and experience. That leads me to the second aspect of this learning: It doesn’t matter if it is my idea or someone else’s — the result will always be better with many people working on the same problem. Combining different perspectives, ideas and experiences, we’ll always be able to build a better version.

Alissa Wilms, re:pulica 2019, Porsche AG
Alissa Wilms at re:publica 2019

3. First: Trial and error, then calibration of perfectionism

Working in Quantum Computing and Artificial Intelligence while studying physics, complexity best describes my everyday working (and student) life. As a result, speed is mostly a risk in the projects I’m working in because it makes mistakes more likely. Still, everyone wants to see progress. This is why, at Porsche Digital Lab, we work with agile methods and often try new things. For example, in a sprint, we try out new ideas fastly, discard them if necessary and start over quickly. If we have successfully managed trial and error, we go on in calibrating perfection — optimizing statistics or formulas.

4. Digital dualities: Depth and width

Knowledge can be divided into two categories: knowledge depth and width. Take, for example, the fields of ethics and quantum computing. To talk meaningfully about ethics, it helps to have a broad education in several subject areas. To research and develop quantum computing, one needs to possess highly specialized, deep knowledge. At Porsche Digital Lab, we are committed to combining knowledge depth and width, which is not always as easy as it seems — it is simply not possible to cover all topics both in depth and width. The important point is to know the differences between the two categories. To be clear about which one you are focusing on, and to tackle one at a time.

Digital Day for Girls at Porsche: Empowering girls

There are manifold dualities at Porsche — science and economics, speed and endurance, depth and width. All of them pose their own challenge, but also make it incredibly exciting to work in such a unique environment. The basis for successfully dealing with these dualities is a diverse team. That’s why I’d like to encourage more young girls and students to choose an occupation in tech.

On 03 July 2019, Porsche will host the Digital Day for Girls event in Zuffenhausen, empowering girls that are close to finishing school and are interested in science, technology, engineering and IT to learn about their digital career options at Porsche. At various stations, they can meet our colleagues, ask any question and, of course, explore their passion for digital topics. So please, encourage your daughter, sister, friend, niece, granddaughter or girlfriend to apply for the Digital Day for Girls in Zuffenhausen here — let’s show everyone that girls and tech are a very powerful duality!

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