Berlin-based, CODE is a university for the digital pioneers of tomorrow. This week 88 students of the newly-founded institute started their studies in the disciplines of Product Management, Interaction Design and Software Engineering. Zalando was one of the first partners to come on board, supporting CODE before the semester even started. Eric Lindig, Research Cooperation Manager Universities at Zalando, tells us more.
Zalando has previously worked together with universities. Why the partnership with CODE at this point?
To be honest, CODE is the university I would have wanted to study at myself. My experience was the same as many other graduates: you leave university with a degree and all sorts of theoretical knowledge, but with an uncertainty about how exactly to apply it. So I was immediately enthused by the CODE concept. Instead of assimilating theoretical knowledge from lectures and seminars, the students learn, explore and develop in interdisciplinary teams and work with tools and on problems that are relevant to the real world. And I’m not alone in my praise for CODE.Our board and many others among us in the tech field believe in the idea too; they see a lot of potential here for the students, but also for the ecosystem as a whole. So it was important for us to be involved right from the start and support the subject matter of the courses.
What does that mean exactly?
The first semester has only just started, so that means that a lot will be decided within the next few months. We have, however, already been able to support the planning of the syllabus through interviews with experts, and we have made our premises available, e.g. for information events. We also want to support the tuition itself using our expertise.
What form might that take?
For example, there are plans for mentor programs between Zalando employees and students, or research alliances. Another idea would be for Zalando employees to give lectures on specific topics at CODE on a visiting basis, although we do not interpret teaching as “chalk and talk” in this context. It is more a matter of providing insights from day-to-day practice and developing solutions together with the students. We are all very open-minded about it, as with over 1,800 employees in the tech area and a multitude of topics, programming languages and software solutions, many points of reference are bound to arise. Luckily CODE is a close neighbor of ours, so we are really excited to see what happens over the next few years.
Taking a closer look at the idea of “neighborhood”, what does the relationship mean for the Berlin Tech Park?
Startup and digital industries are continually growing here, so the demand for well-trained new recruits is naturally correspondingly high. Hence, it is really positive for the economy that the founders of CODE have chosen Berlin as their location. Also, as the language of study is English, CODE will definitely contribute towards making the city even more attractive to an international audience. I am really curious to see what exciting businesses CODE graduates of the future will set up in Berlin.