Working student at XALT

How working at XALT shapes my university life

Hello Alex, are you a working student at XALT? Please tell us something about yourself, your studies and your role in the company. 

Hi, right, I'm Working student at XALT since May 2020 and study Bioinformatics at the Technical University of Munich. At XALT, I am involved in both internal company work and customer projects. Among other things, I support our DevOps engineers in quality assurance, configuration and documentation of software and/or deployment.

How did you get started at XALT? 

I was contacted promptly after the acceptance of my application in order to start the onboarding directly. The onboarding week was a challenge for me, as I had never worked in an IT company before. First of all, I had to familiarize myself with the tools, workflows, and the Corporate culture familiar.

At the beginning, I could only get to know my colleagues online, but I was still warmly welcomed and invited to join the team. In the beginning, communication was crucial for me, so I felt like I was get involved in projects as quickly as possible and could get an overview of the company processes. 

During my time at XALT so far, I had no problem balancing my studies with work. Of course, I had to do without some free time, as if I would only concentrate on my studies.  

What parallels or differences do you see between working at XALT and your studies? 

In the course of study, we are introduced to basic knowledge of various tools, methods and solution approaches. The methods learned serve as a helpful knowledge base to be able to work on actual problems from everyday work.

The fundamental difference between a project with XALT and in the university is that in the university the work on most projects (for students in the first semesters) is mainly for educational purposes. In a company, meanwhile, there are real tasks (of customers) to be done. Thus, one works with a real and concrete problem, which has to be solved. Moreover, in work the focus is often on a quality result. At university, the focus tends to be more on methodology.


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What impact did the work culture at XALT have on your college life? 

As a bioinformatics student, working in the IT department has broadened my horizons in several areas. Among other things, in the analysis of Big Data, in programming as well as in general teamwork. These are all topics that are also crucial in my studies.

For our projects, for example, I also familiarized myself with DevOps tools, carried out software testing and worked on the project organization. In the process, I was able to gain valuable knowledge about how a company works. My new programming skills gave me a boost in the computer science lectures and exercises at university, for example, as I always had a reference to what can actually be done with programming.

Furthermore, the work at XALT has a positive impact on my productivity at the university. I have learned to organise my work and process tasks in a structured way. This helps me to organise my everyday life in such a way that both my student work, my studies and I as a person can benefit from it.

What are your most important lessons learned from your time at XALT?

In my short time at XALT, I have been able to learn a lot so far. The 5 most important thingsI learned as a working student are:

  • Insight into management and organization of larger IT projects
  • Work in a team of individuals with diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise.
  • Self-organized work distribution and problem solving
  • Communication setup for remote work
  • Coffee in the morning drives away sorrow and worries 🙂

In summary, I would say that working in a company is a completely different experience to studying at university. This will not be a big surprise. Very different from my point of view are topics like the general problem-solving approach and the different learning methods.

Remote Work with Confluence and Jira

How to manage remote teams with Jira and Confluence

The world of work is in a state of flux in 2021. New technologies such as Jira and Confluence enable teams to collaborate remotely and handle projects across large distances. In addition, flexible working hours, work-life balance and flexibility are increasingly prioritized. 

Covid-19 has further amplified this trend and made remote work the new focus for the corporate world. Along with this, it has become even more important that teams can collaborate more easily and projects can be managed regardless of where they are working. 

"Over 1/3 of workers say they would leave their current employer for more flexibility and home office."


Collaboration of and with remote teams

The question many companies are asking themselves now is, "how do I enable my team and external collaborators to work together productively and efficiently?" This is, of course, a question that cannot be answered easily and simply like that. Every company and team has adopted certain workflows, defined their project management and developed internal communication.

What are the advantages of location-independent working

So, switching to remote work comes with some challenges. In addition, there are some advantages and disadvantages to consider and analyze.

  • There is a real shortage of skilled workers in Germany. Especially in the IT industry, well-trained employees and specialists are often only available abroad. Location-independent job offers are often the only way to find suitable specialists.
  • Remote work makes you happier and more productive. No long travel times and stressful presence times offer your employees more freedom.
  • Cost savings by using smaller office space. (Just a small benefit on top, of course).

What challenges does "remote work" bring?

Of course, location-independent working is not the holy grail for making your company fit for the future. Rather, there are a number of challenges that need to be solved first:

  • How can we ensure that projects, tasks and goals are achieved?
  • Lack of personal contact can cause communication on your team to suffer.
  • Remote vs. on-site. Some of your employees may prefer to come into the office.
  • Different time zones can make collaboration difficult.
  • Developers in different countries often have different skills, methods and approaches, yet they all have to work together somehow.
  • When dealing with sensitive company data, location-independent working can also lead to legal hurdles.
  • Team meetings need to be adapted to the new environment and time availability.

Easy project management of your remote teams with Jira and Confluence

Location-independent working doesn't just mean that your teams can work from anywhere in the world from now on. Before that, you first have to create work structures that make this possible. In addition to a fast Internet and an equipped home office, this also includes the right tools for collaboration. 

Jira software from Atlassian is perfectly suited for project management. Confluence on the other hand is the perfect tool to document projects. Both tools in combination are like eggs & bacon, Simon & Garfunkel or Tintin - individually very good, but together just great!

Jira Software - Project Management Made Easy

On large projects, several internal (and external) teams (also remote) often work on different tasks. Therefore, the project is usually broken down into smaller components. In such cases, clear project communication must be guaranteed. 

A unified area that manages all tasks solves the problem comprehensively. Your team members can view the status of tasks, managers can monitor overall project progress, create and assign new tasks to members, specify deadlines, and estimate delivery dates.

With Jira, that's exactly what you can do. You can view the project progress at any time, monitor ticket and task statuses, and support your team at any time in case of problems. In addition, Jira creates the necessary transparency within the project. Every (external) team member has access to the same information without having to contact the task owner. With this feature, individual tasks can be processed more efficiently and productively.

Easy collaboration of (remote) team with Jira and Confluence

Efficient management of your project team with Jira

With Jira, it's almost impossible for your team to forget individual tasks or tickets. Whenever you - for example - create a new ticket, the team gets the Assignee a notification via email (or Slack). If you add comments, attachments, or change the status of the task, another notification is sent out to the people involved.

In addition, the individual tasks are mapped on a Kanban board at any time. This allows project managers to keep an eye on the status of the entire project at all times. This makes it easy to generate reports and document the progress of the project.

Confluence: A knowledgebase for your entire team

In order to handle projects efficiently, it is important that every team member (remote and on-site) has access to a detailed knowledge base.

Confluence is suitable for this. With this, Atlassian has provided a kind of Wikipedia on steroids for companies with this app. You can use it to share project information with all team members. With Confluence, you can create project spaces (for example, for a project about homepage redesign) and further subdivide them using more subpages. You can directly upload and share important files with your team, exchange ideas, and edit pages in real time with multiple team members. 

Additionally, you can customize Confluence to your liking and extend it with plugins far beyond its standard features. 

Learn more about how to customize Confluence here: Personalization of Confluence.

Customer communication with Jira and Confluence

In addition to collaborating with internal and external remote teams, you can also use Jira and Confluence to communicate with your customers. For example, you can create project spaces that can only be edited and viewed by the project team. This ensures that all other sensitive company data is protected. Furthermore, Spaces offer the option that your customers can record important information directly in their designated Space.

Furthermore, Confluence facilitates the structuring and provision of project files and thus enables even more efficient and productive collaboration.

Summary - Management of Remote Teams with Jira and Confluence

With the help of digitalized project management and documentation tools, every team can work location-independently. Productivity and fun at work is also increased. Jira and Confluence help you improve the collaboration of your internal, external and remote teams. Where the individual employees are located in the world no longer plays a role. 

Do you need support integrating Confluence or Jira into your company and team? As an Atlassian Gold Solution Partner, we'll be happy to advise you on the integration. Go to Atlassian Services you will learn more about our approach and methodology.