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"I have been in ABB Operation Center in Ostrava since 2015. I chose ABB because I wanted to try something new and discover new technologies. I was particularly attracted by the project offered to me by the ABB Operation Center. The technology that interested me at the time was a C# project that focused on optical character recognition called OCR - it was a combination of OCR technology, HW, etc. I came to ABB through a friend's recommendation."

How do you perceive the difference between ABB and other IT companies where you have worked?


My perception is that in my previous jobs, I stuck purely to development and there was almost no contact with the customer. Everything was arranged by the project manager. At the time, I thought it was the right solution. However, after my experience at ABB, I have changed my mind. At ABB Operation Center (EUOPC), we are completely immersed in what we do. The better we arrange something, the better our performance. We communicate with the customer ourselves and can build a long-term relationship, which then makes it easier for us to work on the project itself. Thanks to direct communication with the customer, we can see why the customer requires a given functionality, what reason they have for it. In addition, the fact that we communicate with the customer has had a positive effect on my English language, which has improved a lot since then. 


What position did you take at ABB and what were your first days in the company like?

At ABB Operation Center in Ostrava, I started as an SW Engineer. My first days were about preparing the development environment for work and gradually getting involved in the OCR project. Right from the beginning, I had a colleague working with me who helped me from the very beginning. What surprised me was that I started on May 1 and already on June 1 I flew to the United States for a month. For me, it was something unimaginable - it was the first time I flew somewhere by myself on a plane, I had to arrange my own car rental in the USA, and so on. It was very rewarding for me because I met new people, discovered new places and I could see the project for myself. 


How often can colleagues in your team travel abroad?

We try to improve the relationships by always having a few people, once a year, go to the customer for 2-3 weeks, work with them and strengthen the relationships in their environment. This is how all team members rotate. I myself have been to Sweden, San Diego and Minnesota, and I was planning to go to Chicago, but that was put on hold due to covid. The potential for travel is definitely there. Every time we start a project, I try to take a look directly at the customer's conditions. 

What does your job encompass?

I am currently working as an SW Team Leader, leading two smaller teams. I try to motivate these teams and give them direction and advice where necessary. I am also the contact person for our customers in case of a new project start-up. I am also a developer and spend hours every day programming and solving problems. My role is split into 40% Team Leader and 60% developer.

Can you describe a situation in ABB when things didn't go quite the way you wanted? 

The actual start of projects is usually a challenge, for which you have to prepare yourself, especially mentally. For example, in the OCR project, the customer's original system was cancelled and everything started working in our system. If there is something wrong in our system, trucks will be blocked from passing through the OCR gates. Such a problem must then be dealt with immediately. This period is often before the actual launch and then also the first few weeks of operation of the new system. Occasionally, I get calls at night, but that's part of the job. Our projects have been successful and everything is working as it should, which is the biggest reward for us.

What is your driving force for working at ABB and how do you recharge your batteries after working hours?

I don't know if I should say kids or alcohol :D Since I have kids, I'm devoting myself to them and it does force me to completely switch off, which is great. It's not always 100% possible, but I try to stick to it. I used to have problems working all the time, but I'm trying to find a balance. I try to work 8 hours a day. In the case of Go Live, it can be as long as 3 weeks where we work 11-12 hours a day. Outside of those periods, we try to stick to the 8 hours a day. In addition, the culture at ABB is set up in such a way that we can maintain this work-life balance. 

What do you think are the key factors for being happy at work?

It's important and motivating for me and the other guys to see that what we've created is working and to be able to look back and see those completed projects. I can see the work in specific points and that it is being used by the customer. It is also important to me that we have a very broad focus. We don't always work on the most up-to-date technologies, but we make up for it by having a wide range of different technologies. I can write a WPF app for a bit for some simulator, then I can write a web app in MVC, then for a while in Angular, then for a little bit in C# backend or maybe create some procedure in SQL or write a PowerShell script that can then speed up or improve something. This broad scope is really great. By not having to do the same thing over and over again, I keep enjoying the work.

If you had to choose one quality that helps you the most to be successful at ABB, what would it be? Can you describe specifically how you put it into practice?

Among the qualities that help me in my work on a daily basis is that I can carry a lot of information about a given project in my head and then link this information to each other. As I gradually absorb the information, the concepts stick in my head and I am able to recall them and use them when needed.

How would you describe the culture within the software department in the ABB Operation Center or your team?

A relaxed and friendly environment where everything is dealt with in a calm manner. We go on teambuildings together as a whole department, which is currently about 80 people and counting, and it's always a lot of fun. 

Why are you staying at ABB, what do you enjoy here?

Firstly, that the projects we work on are very interesting and constantly keep me busy and push me further both personally and professionally. Then there is the daily use of English and the variety of possibilities to use different technologies and also the great team of colleagues - we often go for a beer together or do other non-work activities. Last but not least, it is also my supervisor, who has always been a very important pillar for me and we really clicked here at ABB.

What are your favourite programming technologies? 

I've always focused primarily on C#, and then I also rarely script in PowerShell on the side, which helps me a lot in the things I do and speeds things up. 

Why should newcomers choose the SW department in ABB Operation Center rather than in another company?

There is a large number of projects in which one can participate. Related to this are the different technologies that one can use within the project. Our scope is quite broad and it is possible to switch between projects. So if someone is thinking about a change, it is possible to try something new directly in-house and not necessarily go to another company. When a project ends, those people are distributed among other projects, so we don't have to lay anyone off. We have long term projects that have no set end date (these projects have been running for more than 7 years) and then we have shorter projects that last several months - from 6 to 24 months.

Do you have any advice for job seekers who want to find their perfect job?

I can certainly recommend that if a candidate thinks they have the right qualities for a particular role, they should go and show themselves. It is best to approach the company directly and offer cooperation and not wait for someone to approach them or just rely on the advertisements. You should go after what interests you and what you enjoy. My other advice is not to exaggerate in the selection process. We're not looking for a superstar, we're looking to find someone who fits the project. Honesty is very important.

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