PiBS Informatics at Swisscom - getIT


The practice-oriented degree programme: PiBS Computer Science at Swisscom

"What professional experience do you have that would be useful for our company?" The problem is that in order to gain initial professional experience and get a job, you have to have professional experience. An almost ridiculous vicious circle. "Students are theorists who have no idea about actual practice." Another statement I've often had to listen to.

What can be done to combat these problems and prejudices? How can you gain effective practical experience in the field of computer science during your studies?

Already convinced? Are you enthusiastic about a degree programme that bridges the gap between theory and practice? You can find out more on the FFHS(opens in new tab) (Swiss Distance-Learning University of Applied Sciences) website and the Swisscom job description.

The advantages of the practice-integrated degree programme at a glance:

  • Practical experience over four years
  • Supplementing knowledge in practical work from the study programme and vice versa
  • Remuneration during training
  • Building a network of contacts in the ICT profession
  • Acquisition of methodological and social skills

Target group of the degree programme

The practice-integrated Bachelor's degree programme in Computer Science offers both a degree programme at the University of Applied Sciences with a Bachelor's degree and a degree with four years of practical experience. A note in advance: The degree programme is aimed at high school graduates who, with this study model, do not need any work experience (usually in the form of a one-year internship) at the beginning in order to study at a university of applied sciences. It is an education that is also remunerated with a training salary. Prospective students must be aware of this.

I started this programme in 2015 at Swisscom and the Swiss Distance-Learning University of Applied Sciences (FFHS) and I am delighted with it. Precisely because I am not a pure theorist. Precisely because the practical benefits of what I learn at the UAS are so important to me. I want to know how the things I learnt can be put into practice, what can be implemented and what is simply not realistic. I want to separate two aspects here: The pure practical transfer, i.e. how I link theory and practice, and the entrepreneurial aspect, i.e. what you only learn to a limited extent or not at all in theory, but is part of everyday life in the professional environment.

Transfer of theory between practice and study

No knowledge of computer science can be assumed at the beginning of the degree programme, as not all grammar schools offer a corresponding computer science class. This means that you start your studies with the basics and work your way through to more in-depth topics over time. At Swisscom, on the other hand, you work directly on productive products. Internally, there is a project marketplace for apprentices, which lists the available projects from all teams in the company and for which you apply. A project usually lasts between four and six months. This means that you organise your training yourself during the four years of training. The required knowledge is acquired independently in the project and in collaboration with the employees. So if you start in an application development team, as I did, you very quickly reach the level of knowledge required in this module of your degree programme. On the other hand, the knowledge you acquire in the other subjects is already available to you in a later project at Swisscom. This means that your studies and practical work complement each other perfectly. As part of my own skills and independence, I and my fellow students even have the opportunity to take on project management in small to medium-sized projects and gain valuable planning and management experience. In the further course of the degree programme (from the third semester onwards), the practical work is also rewarded with ECTS points by linking a project in the company with a so-called transfer thesis with the topics covered in the degree programme.

Acquisition of further soft skills in practice

On the other hand, you learn what it's like to work in a company. It can be something new for university graduates to actually work eight hours a day. And that five days a week (three days at Swisscom, two days at university). And in the evening after work, you still have to plan time for your studies. You very quickly develop your personal time management and self-discipline and, among other things, strengthen your stamina. You get to know the working tools used in the company, get a first impression of what it means to follow security guidelines in connection with business documents and learn how to handle sensitive data. Working in the various teams and with the employees shows that you can't expect everyone to have roughly the same level of knowledge as in university. In some cases, you can benefit from the enormous experience and wealth of knowledge of other employees and have to explain something to someone else that you took for granted yourself. You support your first customer projects and learn how to deal with clients, even if they don't respond to enquiries, feedback or presentations according to the textbook. It is the social and methodological skills and experience that you acquire and expand during the four years that cannot be taught in a lecture theatre.

What convinced me in the end?

For me, it was the practical relevance and the expected independence that persuaded me to study at FFHS and Swisscom. I didn't want to spend five years studying for a Master's degree and cramming in all the theory, which I could only really use afterwards. This combination of theory and practice in the practice-integrated Bachelor's degree programme has been well received by everyone involved. It's a lot of fun to put what you've learnt directly into a product the next day and thus take it forward. No example product from the degree programme gives you the same feeling as the moment when you present a product to a customer that makes their work easier, helps them in their day-to-day work and which they will use effectively. The degree programme is for high school students who don't want to wait five years to start working in a company.

You can find more information on the FFHS(opens in new tab) (Fernfachhochschule Schweiz) website or on our careers page.

Michael Hvidt

Michael Hvidt

DevOps Engineer

More getIT-articles

Ready  for  Swisscom

Find the job or career to suit you. A career where you can make a difference and continue your personal development.

What you do is who we are.

Go to careers

Go to current cyber security vacancies