Behind every successful IT event there are one or more superheroes who worked hard to make it a reality. And, when working side-by-side with skilled, creative, inspiring professionals, it’s impossible not to stop and ask how they feel about being a part of our Penta events.
One shining example is Ion, who has an impressive background in organizing events just like these. Luckily, Ion was happy to sit down and tell me all about his decision to take on different PentaEvents as the lead, as well as his plans for next editions and other exciting ventures to come.
# First of all, Ion, I would like to ask why you decided to accept the challenge of organizing Open Days last autumn?
“I’ve had experience in organizing different projects, such as Coder Dojo, for example. So, the opportunity came up to take on Open Days events and I’m glad it did. This is my first experience of this kind.”
# I know you organized many other events, such as ‘Pentabike’ and previously mentioned ‘CoderDojo’. What was different about organizing Open Days?
“First of all, I am really happy with the team that was formed. All the members were really open and supportive to the challenge.
The preparation process was also longer compared to other events. More people to manage, you have to track everybody, know the status of preparation. Be present, but at the same time let them move independently. It’s like a mini-project. Compared to other activities, where the organization was mostly unilateral, here it was different and more complex.
Of course, organization mode could be easier, involving basic steps. You have topics, you prepare presentations and there you go. However, we did it a different way, having many discussions, dry-runs with ideas, debates, feedbacks, with a serious route and result. It was fascinating.”
# What was the most difficult part of the entire process?
“Frankly speaking, I can’t say it was difficult. It’s all about task management – a calendar with planned dates and a time commitment for each task. Once the task has been accomplished – it should be checked. That’s all.”
# Sounds like an Agile approach.
“Yes, and time management. Without these things, you run the risk of missing something. First thing I did, was take note of all the existing ideas at that moment. After that I met with Dmitrii, who organized previous editions of this IT event to ask him about his experience and ask for some advice.
In addition, he gave me some contacts and presentations like the one about internships for students. We discussed his methods for organizing and later I went step-by-step according my own prepared plan. Of course, there were some missed moments and that’s why I organized a retrospective – to get our team’s opinions and feedback. After all, I want the next edition to be even better.”
# Speaking of feedback, what do you hope to implement next time?
“I would love to experiment with some innovative concepts. For example, we discussed the possibility of introducing some demo-projects. Maybe we could combine 2-3 presentations with workshops or a master-class. This year, we tried to focus more on the motivational part and less on the technical, with the intention of appealing to the emotional sensibilities of students – calling them to action. We’ll see what we can do next year.”
# What is your opinion about the audience at Open Days?
“I actually have some experience as a university lecturer. So, I was well acquainted with the subject and had an idea of what to expect. Some students come because IT is their passion; others are influenced by their parents. There are also those who think they might get into the IT field over time. You can always be sure everybody gains a new experience from this event. Some piece of new knowledge will remain with each of them, maybe not from a single presentation, but from the whole experience of ‘Open Days’.”
# Several students asked me about open opportunities. Particularly, about picking the better choice – leaving for an experience abroad or trying their luck here? What do you think?
“We all make different decisions during various life stages and it depends on many aspects. There are opportunities here, as well as abroad. In my opinion, it is probably better to gain some experience here rather than go somewhere as a student without any background at all.”
# As we approach the end of our interview I want to ask, what was your most enjoyable moment during Open Days?
“The communication part, I guess. Specifically, the communication with our team and the feedback I got from them. Their satisfaction with all we did. Also, the opportunity to speak with students and network. In short, everything related to communication and interaction. That was the best thing for me.”
# In your opinion, is it enough to organize Open Days once a year?
“If the format changes and calls for a little less effort from an organizational .standpoint – I think it would be possible to organize more editions per year. But at the same time it takes a lot of time and resources. It would be nice to do different kinds of activities with students.”
# Would you like to keep the same team for the next IT events of such kind?
“Yes, I think that would be a great idea. Some of this years’ presenters participated in past editions as well – Sergiu, for example. It would be interesting to hear their different opinions and visions for the next edition. At the same time, new team members are always welcome.”
# Do you have any advice for students who visit Pentalog during different events, or maybe for your colleagues?
“I strongly recommend students work and invest in their CVs from now, as early as possible and do not wait until your last year in school to start promoting yourselves. As for my colleagues, I would like to thank them once again for consistently doing a great job. I am sure it’s not the last event we will organize together.”
Want to know more about Ion and other PentaHeroes? Stay tuned for the next edition of ‘Open Days’ as well as our other upcoming events!