SEKAS has been a successful company for more than 30 years. The major role in this success story is played by its employees, a proficient staff with some of them contributing to the company's continuous advancement since the 1990s already. Senior software developers are working alongside newbies, and we all enjoy what we are doing. This is mainly due to the pleasant working atmosphere, the flat management hierarchies and the varied tasks assigned.
How about taking a look behind the SEKAS scenes? What exactly is the working atmosphere like and what about the colleages? Why does working for SEKAS appeal to so many people? Our fellow workers give insight into their interesting daily work and how they found their way to the IT business. They let us know what they like about SEKAS and offer valuable information for prospective applicants.
Read on to find out why SEKAS staff value their company and how come they have been motivated for work all along - some of them for more than a quarter century.
Andrea worked as a student trainee at SEKAS during her studies in informatics, and since 1995 she has been a firm part of the team. In the interview with our webmaster she explains her passion for developing software and why she turned it into her profession.
During the 90s computing science was still in its infancy and more or less male-dominated. How did you find your way into this line of business?
During my time at school I was offered to take part in a computer course at a major corporation. It was for a couple of hours per week and lasted about half a year. At that time, I found out that I wanted to make this kind of work my profession and decided to study informatics.
What is most important when developing software?
You need to be precise in your work and you have to be flexible and eager to learn new things. This field is constantly changing so you always have to be up-to-date. It is also important to get on with your colleagues as we often need to coordinate our tasks, but this is no problem at SEKAS.
What do you like best in your job?
What I like best is working with my colleagues, and having the opportunity of broadening my horizon. You see, there is no routine in software development - even if some people may think so – no project is like any other. Programming is something like an adventure, you need to find the right path.
You have a family demanding your time beside your job. How do you manage to find the right balance?
I think it works quite well. I work part-time, so most of my tasks are not as time-consuming as those of my colleagues working full-time. Besides, we at SEKAS have flexible work times which makes it much easier coordinating your job and your private life.
You have been with SEKAS for quite some time already. What is it that makes this company so special to you?
It actually feels like having a second family. The staff is very constant, there is not much fluctuation. Communication is casual, and so is the dress code, no ties and stiff collars. All this adds to the fact that the men and women working here are treated equally. I, for one, have never had the feeling of not being taken seriously in my profession.
Why apply for a job at SEKAS?
SEKAS is a medium-sized company and I think this size is perfect. We are not that many people and this creates a pleasant working atmosphere since we all know each other. Every so often, we meet for mutual excursions or other events outside working hours. Besides, there are many different projects we are working on which offers you a lot of variations in your job.
After having completed his studies of Computer Engineering in 2018, Stefan joined us as a software developer. He revealed to our webmaster, what he likes best at SEKAS.
How did you find out for yourself that you wanted to become a computer scientist?
My father works in the IT industry and during my childhood I picked up quite a lot around this field. My father used to write small games for us and I remember finding all that quite intriguing. So I started doing a little programming myself later, choosing computer science as one of my subjects for the Abitur (equivalent to A-Levels), and studied Computer Engineering at the university.
What is your field of activity at SEKAS?
I am working in a team, and among various tasks we service a complex software system of an international equipment manufacturer. We locate and eliminate errors and implement new features. The customer lets us know what he wants and we carry out the system enhancement and maintenance of the relevant tools. Apart from that, I am also responsible for maintenance and support of the customer software.
How would you describe the working atmosphere at SEKAS?
It is very relaxed and trusting. We have flexible working hours which helps when planning your day. Deciding to work from home or spontaneously taking a day off is generally no problem - project permitting, of course. You can work from home while waiting for a craftsman or, if your familiy happens to appear on your doorstep unexpectedly, take your time to be with them.
Working at SEKAS offers a high degree of personal responsibilities, flat hierarchies, and a familiar atmosphere. We usually meet during lunchtime to chat and exchange views - also on non-professional subjects. This helps to get to know each other better.
What is it that makes SEKAS stand out in particular?
When I had my first interview I already gained a very positive impression of the management and the company itself. Although the interview was pretty challenging with a strong emphasis on troubleshooting, I never had the feeling of being put under pressure. On the contrary, I felt that people here were generally on familiar terms, and this proved right the day I started working at SEKAS. For me it is important to have a friendly atmosphere and to get on well with the people I am working with. This turned out be exactly the case.
What skills does a software developer need?
Well, what you do need most is a lot of discipline. Not all issues can be solved easily, some tend to be quite complex and you may not find a solution immediately. You need to fight it out, so to speak, enhance your knowledge or ask someone around for help. What you definitely need is a a passion for IT and to enjoy working in it. If you can definitely imagine being in this job for the next 20 years, then it is the right choice. You should also be interested in new technologies since the IT industry is advancing rapidly and you need to be up-to-date at any time.
What kind of advice could you give to job beginners?
When looking for the right employer you should consider companies also with experienced staff to profit from. At SEKAS, many employees have been with the company for more than 20 or 30 years already. This shows that SEKAS sees to its staff and to a pleasant working atmosphere.
If you are new in your job, don't be afraid of asking for help if you feel you can't solve a problem on your own. Nobody expects you to know everything if you have just completed your degree, or to have the same knowledge like staff with 30 years of experience. You need to be open for different approaches, over time experience will build up. Since my start at SEKAS the ever supportive team environment has helped me to continue to develop myself further - professionally and personally.
During his studies in electronics, Markus gained first experience developing software. After his doctorate and in subsequent years he worked for a couple of other software houses before finally finding his place at SEKAS some 15 years ago.
How did you find your way to IT?
Well, I'd say that was landing with a leap. Back at the time when I had finished my studies there weren't many electronics jobs available which forced me to look for alternatives. During my doctorate, I had already done a lot of programming which I enjoyed. Hunting for a job I finally came across a software company who offered me a job. However, a short time later I switched to a larger company to actually work as an electrical engineer. Some 17 months later I returned to software development.
Well, from the technical point of view the work itself was extremely boring, and to make things worse, internal intrigues and pronounced hierarchies made daily work actually quite cumbersome. Developing software is simply more varied and multifaceted.
So you think small companies have many advantages over large ones?
Yes, definitely. In a small company you feel that you make a difference and, typically, you get direct feedback on your work. In large companies you tend to get lost somehow.
What are the largest challenges for you in your daily work?
To be quick on the uptake and to get it all right from the start. Needless to say, time pressure and budget guidelines exisit in both small companies and in large ones. But in a small company like SEKAS you try to get it right from the start to keep business going.
What is it that makes SEKAS so special to you?
I think it is the customer-domain-technology triangle which always requires to make ends meet. Each order is different from another and you need to familiarize yourself every time anew. You don't see that in many companies. Mostly, you are assigned one project, sometimes for decades. I cannot imagine doing the same thing for such a long time. SEKAS is always processing new projects which makes work varied and interesting and you always learn something new. It helps to find a straightforward and adequate solution among the technologies available. It is never boring. SEKAS has drive and is definitely not as sluggish as a large enterprise.