Meet Johannes, Software Engineer and geek
October 14, 2022
- Job role: Software Engineer
- Team: Core Software Analytics (within the R&D Analytics team)
- Office location: Axis HQ, Lund, Sweden
- Time at Axis: 2,5 years
What is your role at Axis?
In short, I develop camera applications for video analytics, and tools for internal use. The latter can be tools to aid developers and development in various ways.
Together with some colleagues, I’m currently working on developing a Machine Learning Operations pipeline, incorporating everything from gathering and pre-processing data to creating metadata and providing everything needed to train neural networks for our camera applications. In this effort we’re using great technologies to ensure high availability, high performance, low maintenance etc.
Can you share more about what a typical day at work might look like for you?
My “typical” day varies quite a bit. For example, I tend to start earlier when working from home, and then carve out time for workout over lunch. When I’m in the office, I hit the gym before or after work instead. At the office we have great recreational facilities. The gym is super nice, there’s a floorball court, pickleball, and ping pong, and there are Teams channels for running and more.
When working from the office, we have morning fika at 8.30am and then I head to our daily stand-up meeting at 9am. These are short – lasting up to 15 minutes – but they’re a great opportunity to flag key updates or requests to the team, such as confirming that an important component is ready to use or that you have run into problems of some kind.
During the day, we usually have some sort of sync, whether that’s a one-on-one with our manager or a check-in with a sub-team. Some of these may be design talks where we can doodle on a whiteboard or web app to progress a project together.
Some of the day might go towards helping another project. Everyone here is very open and approachable, and it fosters a culture where everyone is encouraged to share expertise and ask for advice. I can approach colleagues on other teams for their thoughts or guidance, and I might get a request or two a day for some help – which I’m always happy to do!
Ultimately, having enough headspace and time to focus on innovation is encouraged. Our one-on-one syncs are awesome as they’re mainly focused on ensuring that we’re happy and feel we can do our work without any blockers or issues getting in the way. If we have a new idea, we can raise that too, knowing our manager will support us in figuring out how to get it going.
I usually finish around 5pm, though we have a lot of flexibility and can start or finish earlier or later if needed.
Describe Axis in three words.
The three words which come to mind when I think of Axis are: learning, inspiration, and environment.
Learning is a huge part of working at Axis. There is so much talent and passion for the industry within the company, plus a huge range of skillsets. Whatever you want to know, there will be someone who has deep expertise in that area – no matter how niche – and is willing to give their time to help you learn about it too. I’ve learned so much since joining Axis, and unlike many other places, that learning curve hasn’t flattened off even though I’m more than two years in. There is always more to take in and the types of problems to solve can differ as much as you want it to.
Inspiration is everywhere here. People have great ideas, and when they get talking over a “fika” (Swedish term for having a beverage, usually tea or coffee, and/or a bite, usually fruit or pastry), they inspire others, and it encourages people to try something new. For example, I never used to care about mechanical keyboards, but I got chatting to someone who inspired me to build a 40% split mechanical keyboard from scratch, letting me type faster than I ever could before. Talking to the right person can spark a new interest, and there are a lot of those “right people” at Axis.
To achieve great results, you need to allow creative developers to use their skills, creativity and expertise to solve the problems at hand. At Axis, the open working environment encourages this. Developers are trusted to do a good job as well as review and be reviewed properly – ensuring high class product code and fostering a culture of innovation.
“I’ve worked in some great companies, but Axis goes above and beyond when it comes to taking care of employees, and that really benefits productivity.”
What do you enjoy most about working at Axis?
I’ve already mentioned the great potential for learning and inspiration at Axis, as well as the open working environment. A big part of what makes this possible is the focus Axis has on supporting and developing employees. You can see that in how they invest in staff and their wellbeing – whether that’s amazing facilities, encouraging fika with your colleagues, or all the financial benefits.
I’ve worked in some great companies, but Axis goes above and beyond when it comes to taking care of employees, and that really benefits productivity. The flexibility and benefits Axis provides, such as enhanced paternal leave, are geared to making employees happy. The end result is clear – boosting innovation and creating a world-class company.
What is your proudest career moment and why?
Fairly early into my time at Axis, I noticed that one aspect of our development could be significantly aided by a specific tool, but when I looked for it – both within Axis and online – I found that it didn’t exist yet! So I created it, showed it to some colleagues, and got feedback and contributions from others to improve it still further.
Axis technology includes AI produced metadata of e.g. object detections, confidence of the detections and more, within video surveillance footage. The tool I created is a media player which reads the metadata, and draws overlay images during runtime, as well as allowing the user to filter which data to visualize. This is very helpful when you want to visually see what the AI has “seen”.
Since creating it, I’ve noticed a lot of people within video analytics using this tool. It started showing up in a lot of presentations and demos, and a global sales engineer now uses it for demonstrations around the world!
Seeing someone else use your work brings a certain feeling of pride. This tool wasn’t in our roadmap, wasn’t planned for and wasn’t suggested by a product owner, but I spotted a need amongst developers that had to be filled and it’s now widely used.
What piece of advice would you give to those looking to secure a career with Axis?
My advice would be to be kind and show that you’re eager to learn, as that’s almost more important than how much you already know.
It would help if you can show an interest in using tools to work efficiently and solve technical problems. And, if you can, demonstrate a technical project you have taken on in your spare time or at university.
It’s also worth highlighting any teaching or coaching experience, as we’re big on openness, sharing ideas and helping each other out, so strong communications skills when it comes to explaining things can be useful.
And finally, don’t be afraid to apply. Don’t assume you won’t fit in or don’t have the expertise to secure a job. Axis is interested in people across all levels, from newly graduated to experts.
What does work-life balance mean to you?
I’ve recently become a father, so work-life balance means a lot to me right now. Time with my family is incredibly valuable.
In general, it’s important to me to be able to approach work flexibly without any negative pressure. The flexibility is there, and managers encourage us to make the most of it.
How do you see Axis making a difference in the world?
In short, Axis is making the world more secure. My background was actually in the nuclear sector, but I was worried about the surveillance industry and the ethics around how video surveillance footage is used. That concern encouraged me to learn about the industry from the inside.
Now I can proudly say that Axis even goes beyond regulations like the GDPR, and always puts ethics first. For example, I worked with two colleagues to implement a system that checks incoming video data automatically (without human intervention) and if it seems GDPR sensitive and, if so, it gets sent for review or filtered out.
What excites you most about working in the tech industry?
I really enjoy solving problems. I started with electrical and electronics engineering, specializing in control theory, where I was building automation systems and so on. Now I’ve ended up in pure software development. Throughout my career, I’ve enjoyed trying new things and solving all the problems along the way.
I’m always excited for new projects, even if I have no clue where to start. That just acts as rocket fuel for me to learn faster!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I overestimated professionals, from developers to politicians, for such a long time – assuming they were all almost superhuman, super-intelligent people that knew exactly what they were doing. Now I realise that most of the time, people don’t know exactly what they’re doing and are just figuring it out along the way, no matter where they are in their career. Even with little experience, there’s a chance that you happen to have fairly deep knowledge and, more importantly, fresh knowledge about how to solve something, which could make you the best person in the world for that particular problem. What I mean by all this is, believe in yourself from an early stage, but always have respect for how vast and complex problem space can be.
What’s your ideal day off?
It’s probably as corny as it is simple. An ideal day is spending time with my wife and daughter, maybe heading to a nearby pool on a sunny day. When we do that, I can play in the water with my daughter until she tires out and wants to take a nap, and then my wife and I can read our books. Every once in a while, I might tell my wife about something geeky I’d read that I found really fascinating, and she can pretend to be interested… That’s my perfect day off – nothing too fancy but just enjoying the family and whatever thing I find interesting at the time.
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