Let me share with you my pathway in career development, from managing a parallel Ph.D. program whilst working in a software development role to now being manager of my own software team in Siemens Mobility. Through this story, I hope to inspire you and take you through just some of the many opportunities how Siemens enables you to use your full skillset, especially in the field of digitalization and AI.
To chase your ambitions or to take the path of stability? Could the answer be both?
Although my career didn’t originally begin in Siemens, I started off in the Corporate Technology division in Prague, Czech Republic 5 years ago as a humble, young Aussie software developer on a reduced hour contract. Although having part-time experiences developing software applications for factory automation and data analytics with Python and Simatic S7 industrial controllers, this was my first full development role in the automation field coming from an original mechanical engineering background.
I was so grateful for the opportunity that our department head gave me to be a software developer in our innovative level crossing protection system for Siemens Mobility and also that they could facilitate the time for me to work on my Ph.D. studies in Czech Technical University in Prague. During the last 5 years, Siemens encouraged my personal development through multiple training courses and our division head was quite active in organizing mentoring and cooperation with experts in the field of rail infrastructure to provide me with the best foundations to overtake the development responsibilities of our industrial controller logic for our level crossing project. Here now, I stand with my own small team of developers in our Rail Automation division as part of the Rail Infrastructure business segment for Siemens Mobility – Prague, Czech Republic. Where, developing the possibility for a remote diagnostics application through MindSphere or the ability to investigate AI in preventive diagnostic applications are just some of the highlights within our team. Currently, we are aiming towards delivering the main control software and advanced diagnostics solution for our new generation of level crossing protection systems as part of one of the most historic mainline tenders won by Siemens, being the full modernization of trackside technologies across the whole country of Norway!
One of most rewarding aspects of my role is the ability to be creative, innovative and bring new ideas to a product which ultimately is sold or distributed worldwide and contributes toward the everyday transportation of society. Further, the diversity that a company like Siemens can offer which gave me the opportunity to use a wide range of my skills.
Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will!
Have you ever asked yourself the question, how much of the information that I picked up from my studies do I really use and need in my everyday role? I guess that was a question which bothered me for quite some time, along with the fear of trying other tasks outside of my role. However, to that I believe the main thing is to be communicative, not to be shy, share your skills and show the potential usage of your other skills. That mindset led me to not participate solely in software development, but also have influence in the mechanical design of our product. From there, I found myself presenting a present a topic in one of Siemens prestigious conferences SSC – Siemens Simulation Conference (Munich, 2017) to being present at the very same conference in an artificial intelligence and machine learning workshop of which I majored in during my Ph.D. studies and could orient and share ideas in other application areas within Siemens.
Another amazing experience was participating in a programming Hackathon (Fürth, 2017) cooperating alongside Mobility and Digital Factory in Fürth to develop further low-level functions for use in TIA portal which is one of the most widely used software tools for industrial controller programming worldwide. Then the DigiCamp 2019 global conference, where I presented examples of digitalization in the rail automation field all in virtual reality (VR), so I really do believe the sky is the limit!
Apart from my profession, some people also don’t know given my Czech background and surname that I was originally born and raised in Sydney, Australia. With that, was also a struggle as to whether I would return to pursue my professional life over there or to stick it out in Europe and seek opportunities on a more global scale. One of the pivotal points that swayed my decision towards staying were my parallel studies in the Ph.D. program and my career in Siemens which gave me the opportunity to pursue it!
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” ~ Lou Holtz
In the earliest days between 2015-2016, I found myself running between our main office in Prague and the university on the other side of town to teach my programming seminars, having consultations with my supervisor or to attend examinations. Though those days were really tough, it taught me a greater sense of patience and persistence to reach the final goal and also to have fun along the way while you do it! With that said, one of my motivators also has to be the teamwork and friendship amongst our colleagues. Working with such a talented group of individuals really drove me, especially when we could look over our shoulders and see just some of the complex challenges we’ve overcome and solved together as a team and then to unify that success with a team event to de-stress, recharge the batteries and get ready for another challenge!
Like our project there will always be up’s and down during development, but the main thing is to find your purpose, to identify your key motivators and incorporate them in and around your work life. We are currently living in one of the most powerful ages of industrial digitalization where so many new potential ideas, platforms and tools are waiting to be uncovered and developed to better and advance our society.
Looking back at my journey, I couldn’t have chosen a better kick-off to that than in Siemens and I hope this story inspires you to be vocal, show your strengths and see just some of the amazing places and experiences you can end up with in doing so with our digital trending company. Find your role as a Digital Mind on http://www.siemens.com/careers/digitalminds