With no fewer than 2 Challengerships to his name, Kolja looks back on an interesting period


“I learned a lot and I grew tremendously, especially personally.”

Hi, my name is Kolja. I graduated in Theoretical Physics with a bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy and a master’s degree in particles and astrophysics, and I am currently working as a technical consultant at USoft.

The Young_Coders process

Most traineeships I came across during my search were in the direction of finance at large financial companies or health insurance, but this did not suit me very much. Then I started searching for C++ traineeships. This eventually led me to join Young_Coders’ Challengership for Thales. That Challengership did sound very cool. It also fit with my educational background.

The selection process went smoothly. I was nervous while playing the Neurolympics , because I am the type who likes to do very well. Fortunately, the games and interviews went well after that.

My first bootcamp

Thales’ bootcamp was very intensive. But it was necessary to develop a good foundation. During our working days at Thales, we mainly worked on assignments for the bootcamp, but since we were already there in the office, it already created a sense of being part of the company.

During bootcamp, we had many lessons from Frenk. He was really the highlight of the bootcamp. Of course, you can teach yourself programming, but how Frenk approached it made the lessons really fun.

The soft skill training

After the technical bootcamp, Dennis’ soft skill training began. What I got out of that was mostly something to hold on to, such as how to deal with conflict and how to give and receive feedback. You also hear from other Challengers how they look at things and how they deal with problems. That’s nice to hear, too. That way you can learn from each other and also help each other.

The changing process

About halfway through my traineeship, I unfortunately could not continue at Thales. I was working on confidential defense technology there and unfortunately could not be adequately screened because of my foreign partner. I did find this very unfortunate, but it helped that Young_Coders and Thales were committed to the situation and thought with me. I felt really supported. Because Young_Coders helped me with finding a new employer, I didn’t have to worry about finding a new job quickly. I did sit on the couch for a while, but I was able to pick up some study work with Frenk in the meantime.

My second bootcamp

Eventually, I ended up at USoft. This was more like a mini-bootcamp compared to Thales. It was a little less elaborate. This was mainly because USoft has its own software platform, so when I started working there I also received internal training to familiarize myself with it. Another difference from the Thales bootcamp is that now I did get to work right away on tasks for USoft.

My work at USoft

So now I am a technical consultant/software developer. Since July 2023, I have started a major project. I brainstorm a lot with analysts about how everything should be built. It’s very nice to be included in that. The work has a little less to do with my college background, but skills such as how to solve problems come in very handy. I also get compliments on this regularly.

My Challengership has flown by. I learned a lot and I grew tremendously, especially personally. Switching from studying to working full-time was quite a big step. But the Challengership eased the transition, I experienced this as very positive. So I learned a lot of content and I know myself a lot better.

One tip I want to give everyone is: it’s always worth trying something out. You may not know if it’s for you, but a door will open for you to a new world where you will gain new skills and meet new people. You might find out after a month that it’s not for you, but at least you’ll have more knowledge about yourself.