“Proactivity generates a better work life”
We are CENIT: Careers in Software Development
Priyanka, you already achieved a good deal of professional success in your home country, India.What tempted you to continue your career in Germany?
The prospect of gaining more energy for my personal and career development! An Indian metropolis is an inspiring environment that holds plenty of opportunities, but the infrastructure issues and the population density are a mixture that takes up lots of energy.
In late 2015 my employer, a German car maker, offered me a chance to go to Germany, and I eagerly accepted. Having worked in India as a software developer and then as project management officer (PMP), the move seemed an attractive next step to me.
To grow professionally, I have to stay open to change personally as well. That’s what induced me to leave my familiar surroundings and my security behind – family, friends, job network, my established role in the company, my culture.
And how do see it today? What’s been your experience?
Most of the things are the way I expected them to be, and when they’re not I try to see how I can alter them. My principle is not to leave my happiness up to circumstances – I have to get active about pursuing it. And that attitude has helped me make the change.
My small and larger challenges have certainly brought me ahead. For example, I had to learn that in Germany, people working in software development are seen quite differently: as introverted geeks with limited social skills, people who spend their time banging out code amid pizza boxes and energy drinks.
Just for the record: Our job reality hasn’t looked like that for a long while now – if it ever did. Communication skills are a core competency in software development. And as I indicated, in my home country this image doesn’t exist at all. In the Indian professional culture, interaction with others has a high priority from the outset.
Can you take us along on a tour through your working day? What are your duties, and how are you organized as a team?
I joined CENIT in the autumn of 2018 as Senior Developer for our digital factory software services. Since January 2021, I’ve been on the team of Christoph Heiden, who heads our 3DS Solutions application management services.
As Product Owner, I work on a license manager. The License Monitor is part of the cenitFLEX+ product suite, a solution for CAX infrastructure administration. My colleague Tobias is responsible for the overall product, and we have another colleague who supports us as software developer.
In my role I make sure that all the clients are happy with their current situation: the companies have what they need and will get what they want next because we’re on the ball. Our ticket system keeps me on top of any problems and queries. And if our developer hits a bottleneck, I assist him with the coding.
I’m also tasked with contributing ideas to the license manager, for instance on how to provide client-side cloud and hybrid setups in the future. Here I work closely with Tobias, who is driving the ongoing development of the cenitFLEX+ product suite.
We’ve organized our work using a mix of agile and waterfall approaches, and we use the Microsoft Azure DevOps development platform for product backlog and release management.
By the way, the issue of optimizing the way we organize our work is always on my mind. “Optimal” means more that frictionless and productive: it means that we enjoy the work and look forward to the next project.
And that’s what I want to help make happen as part of my team. It’s something I already did in India. I think it’s the wrong approach if you always only look to management when you want improvements.
In software development, you’re right at the pulse of digital change. I imagine that offers you many deep and exciting insights. You and your colleagues are always treading new ground. What helps you cope with this challenge?
My network is certainly a major resource. There are people I trust who help me get a grasp on new fields of expertise.
And, of course, we are involved in an ongoing training process. Stack overflow only features bugfix solutions. Inspiration and innovation come from people and useful learning platforms.
In the end though, what we make happen and how quickly we do it depends on the customer. We strive to stay state of the art at all times, but when it comes to implementation it’s crucial that our steps are backwards compatible as few businesses still run their systems on the previous releases.
You were part of a team that organized this years Developer Day. This event has been launched a few years back to show appreciation to our 150 developers and support their personal development. What were the highlights for you this time around?
I was actually quite nervous before the event because I had been chosen to act as moderator. But then I though back to my time in India, and once I got busy with the actual preparations, I grew more confident and started looking forward to it.
As soon as the CENIT Developer Day kicked off, it highlighted yet again that great things happen when more than a hundred people take time out to think about their work, question their topics and get to know new perspectives.
We benefited from excellent outside speakers with great topics that impact our working reality, like the cloud architechture, low code and agile working methods. Our CEO Peter Schneck took time out for us. As an icebreaker, we had a virtual strategy game – those who underestimated it didn’t get far, as the competition was happy to see …
But for me, the main attraction was our “open spaces” feature, where people could share questions or problems and then brainstorm for solutions together.
We all know how much we can gain from exchanging experience, and at CENIT we have the instruments to make that happen. But during our working days we sometimes neglect this aspect. Our networking with our client businesses is often excellent, but we may lose touch with our own colleagues. In this respect, the CENIT Developer Days offer us a new boost in motivation.
What insights and encounters do you expect to have a lasting impact on you personally in the months to come?
The insight that things will turn out great if I stay proactive. I’ve found solutions for specific challenges at a very practical level. I’ve rediscovered my strategy from my years in India – approaching people more directly and getting involved at a more authentic, personal level. I simply saw how much fun I have doing that!
If we could take a time capsule to the year 2032 – what might software development look like then?
Anyone who has the inclination will be able to create applications, because we’ll be able to configure functions and properties intuitively via widgets and/or plug & play. The potential for democratizing creativity is there.
It will still have to be backed up by a programming logic, and that must first be written. Artificial intelligence won’t be able to take on that task entirely, but it will give us the freedom to concentrate on more creative tasks and help us, in this sphere too, to make better decisions more quickly.
So, I believe that in industry, AI won’t be able to independently generate a finished software product or IT system, maybe even 10 years from now. But it will certainly be relevant for standard processes. And with a view to sustainability, we have to focus more on making software reusable anyway.
In my view, software development will keep improving. All the roles in this profession will certainly change – in a good way. And if we have learned one thing over the past years, it’s that we ourselves have all the tools to cope with change.
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