Connecting the dots: How university knowledge and the professional world come together at MOIA

MOIA Engineering
6 min readJun 16, 2020

Having a lively community with curious working students and interns at MOIA is important to us. We love getting new perspectives and support from our students, and at the same time, it’s great to accompany them in their transition from university to professional work. Have you ever wondered what this looks like at MOIA? Here are four of our colleagues giving you a glimpse into their experiences.

From left to right: Jonas Ackermann, Reem Salous, Marius Hojenski, Korbinian Koch

These are the their stories:

When Jonas first joined MOIA as a working student for Scala in 2018, it was his first time dealing with Scala. He has now become a part-time developer for the Trip Execution team while pursuing his studies in Computer Science at the Technical University Hamburg-Harburg.

Reem is studying Data Science and feels like she lost out on practical work during her Master’s degree. For the past 6 months Reem has been supporting the Data Platform team, which enables the Product Office, Developers, Data Analysts and Data Scientists to gain new insights by providing access to consolidated data sources.

In a different team, Korbinian embarked on his MOIA journey in the team for fleet management as a Kotlin first-timer and student of Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Hamburg. Since then he has taken many different steps in his making as a programmer — from breaking a CodePipeline for the first time to doing pair programming and Pull Request reviews.

Marius came onboard as a student from RWTH Aachen, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. At MOIA he discovered his curiosity for more technical topics and took a leap into the world of data science.

What’s special about working at MOIA?

Korbinian: MOIA is a special company in many regards. Everyone has a high willingness to try out new things. We are also obsessed about data-driven decision making and try to measure the impact of everything we do. As a working student, you have a lot of freedom, and I think it is rare to see a company put that much trust in its employees. This freedom, however, does not mean that you are left hanging, as it is complemented by lots of feedback at eye level. For example, I was able to learn something new from every code review that I received, and this is something you do not get in academia.

Marius: MOIA offers a service that is not limited to the digital product. It also involves many people in operations, and the vehicles were specifically created for the purpose of ridepooling. Due to this, the daily work is quite interdisciplinary as multiple teams are involved in working on features to ensure that all dimensions of the service are considered — I think that’s quite special.

Jonas: I really enjoy having access to existing codebases, documentation, and infrastructure. There is a ton of openly shared knowledge, whether it is on GitHub, AWS, or Confluence. Whenever I encounter a new problem, another colleague has likely been there before and I can easily find information to help me solve my issue.

Reem: MOIA is a really great place to meet experienced, talented people and to learn from them. My team is always willing to help and motivate me. Every day is interesting, and there are many challenging tasks to work on. The opportunities are not limited, even as a student. I have the chance to learn new technologies and get involved in meetings where I can voice my opinion. The atmosphere here is really fun. Besides regular work, there are always events and activities which help me connect with others. The comfortable atmosphere provided by MOIA helps me stay motivated and keeps me enthusiastic about work.

Jonas working on his leadership skills with our office dog Mako.

What expectations did you have for this job?

Reem: In my Data Science Master’s degree, I started gaining theoretical knowledge but I felt that I lacked exposure to use this knowledge for practical purposes by solving real-world problems. I applied here to learn more about how real-world Data Science was and to start my career in the field.

Jonas: The most important thing for me was to get hands-on experience. I sometimes struggled to find the intrinsic motivation to code. My hopes were fulfilled — working with so many motivated people on practical tasks, and having the support from my team made it easy to go with the flow.

Korbinian: My motivation was also mainly to learn something new. I know the importance of practical experience and lacked it in my studies. Specifically, I wanted to learn Kotlin and Go, but that was perhaps a somewhat unrealistic expectation to master both languages in half a year. Ultimately, I only worked with Kotlin, but I learned many other things that I did not have on my radar beforehand, such as how to work with many AWS services.

Marius is working in our office in Berlin, from time to time he also visits his colleagues in Hamburg.

What is your favorite meeting and why?

Jonas: I really enjoy the weekly Friday celebrations in my team. It is a weekly ritual where we really take time to focus on appreciating our efforts and celebrating successes, no matter whether small or big, and it always serves as a great energizer.

Reem: The Company Breakfast, because it’s really nice to find out what other teams are up to, as well as about developments in the company in general.

Korbinian: My favourite meetings are the retrospectives which happen regularly within every team, supported by one of our agile coaches. This ritual helps the team to review how the last few weeks of collaboration went, talk about things that went well (and not-so-well), and for everyone to reflect upon their own personal needs and those of their colleagues.

Marius: One of my favourites is the Company Bi-Weekly. You get a good impression of what’s going on in the other departments and what has been achieved in the previous weeks. It also works in a remote format and helps keep your spirits up.

Who or what inspired you the most?

Korbinian: I wouldn’t name a specific thing or person. I think that the combined efforts at MOIA, our agility, speed of implementation, and results are outstanding and I find it downright impressive how much everyone contributes to them.

Marius: I totally agree with that. The people you work with have such diverse backgrounds and that is also kind of an inspiration from a students perspective: we are not rigidly tied to our academic or technical background. For example, my academic background is in mechanical engineering but I get the chance to dive into data science topics and get experience in coding.

Reem: Especially my team inspires me every day, because they are so passionate about what they are doing.

Reem with her colleagues 😍

What would be your advice to other tech students interested in joining MOIA?

Jonas: I learned that it is really important to have a genuine interest in the product and what it solves. This keeps motivation and focus levels high, and makes it easier to make sense of tasks and requirements.

Marius: I think what makes MOIA so special is that the team believes in the product and is genuinely dedicated to improving mobility in cities. My recommendation would be to be open to new challenges and therefore consider applying even if you do not fulfill all the requirements for an open position.

Korbinian: I think it’s important not to underestimate your own abilities and not refrain from trying out new things just because you’re afraid to fail. Some think that students are hired and then have to deliver really great results immediately, but like any other developer we are also here to learn and grow. If you’re open-minded and not afraid to ask questions, you’ll fit right in.

Reem: If you really want to have proper experience as a student, you are willing to learn a lot, and you want to enjoy what you are doing, then this is the right place.

Is there a song that would best describe your time @MOIA?

Jonas: “Helikopter 117” from Tobee

Korbinian: “Don´t Wanna Go Home” from Jason Derulo

Marius: “Come Together” from the Beatles