Doing Mechatronics 👨🔧
Once I wanted to become an electrical or mechanical engineer. I became a “Mechatroniker” after 3.5 years of learning to design and build machines and prototypes. This included learning all the metal work (drilling, grinding, lathing, etc.) as well as electronics and some programming (mostly Siemens SPS).
During the first year of my vocational training I was more interested in electronics than mechanics. I researched about studying via distance learning and began studying electrical engineering (B.Eng.) at Fachhochschule Südwestfalen (Hagen, Germany).
By 2014 I finished my vocational training and by 2016, I officially became an electrical engineer. In my bachelor studies I really enjoyed all the software engineering modules, especially the module “Software Ergonomics”. This module had a great influence on my way of thinking. Eventually, I conducted a user research in the company were I still worked as a “Mechatroniker” and wrote a bachelor thesis about that.
Love for Usability 📱
I was really excited and wanted to learn more about the shiny world of user centered design, software ergonomics and stuff like that. I quitted my full-time job as a “Mechatroniker” to enroll at Technische Universität Berlin in the Human Factors Master’s programme.
The programme is a wild mix of usability, ergonomics, Human Computer Interaction, medical tech, accessibility and a lot more. However, a main focus is Psychology. A lot of students wanted to start a carreer in usability or user experience consulting afterwards. For me, as I enjoyed the practical software developing and designing small interactions the most, I planned on diving more into implementation rather than consulting.
Studying and hacking stuff 👨💻
All my life I was a “Windows kid”. However, when I bought a used MacBook Air for my studies, I instantly loved it. While studying, I still enjoyed working on small electronics or software projects in my free time. At some point I realized that it is quite easy to start developing apps on a Mac. I am not sure how exactly I started with that, I did not even have an iPhone at that point. Therefore, I bought an iPod touch and began fiddling around with a Udemy tutorial and XCode.
No experience, first iOS Job 🎰
I was very lucky to get in contact with the owner of a small agency (via my XING profile). He asked me if I was interested in developing iOS apps as a student worker. I had never worked in a software development job before, so it was very exciting for me that he just wanted to give it a try with me!
My first project there was to build a small ordering app for restaurants based on some designs sent over via E-Mail (no fancy Sketch or Figma workflows). It was great to have such a great amount of freedom on nearly all the decisions in the app’s software design. But actually I felt sometimes a little bit overwhelmed. I had only around 6 month of experience as a iOS hobby programmer at that time 🙃. When I look back, there was a lot of spaghetti code involved and I did not write a single test in that job. However, it was a really great and fun time and it definitely paved my path into a carreer as an iOS developer ❤️
Actually, I think I was really, really lucky that I was contacted by this guy in the first place. I don’t know if I would have found so much love for developing iOS apps without that first job. Not sure if I was developing iOS apps now at all without that first encounter 😅
More agile, Writing Tests & Learning is everything 👨🎓
Early 2019, still studying Human Factors, I changed to another agency. I started working in a bigger team and an agile environment for the first time. After finishing my studies, I changed again and started my first full-time job as an iOS developer in a corporate startup of a German bank.
I am really happy there. It’s a great environment to learn and grow together with many experienced developers. I feel like I have learnt in my first year working there more than ever. To me the learning culture is the most important characteristic of every job.
Besides working on working on a banking app, I have some private app projects. Some of them are already published in the app store (see: https://mic.st/blog/portfolio/). None of them has a really large user base but it’s great to see that some people are downloading the apps at all 😄