Mar 10, 2021

#3 From student to student - insights into the world of Baumer
Interview with Karin, bachelor student in software development and mechatronics at Furtwangen University:

What is your bachelor thesis about?
The focus of my bachelor thesis is optimum – meaning to the highest possible extent – object detection using several laser light sectioning sensors in the right 3D arrangement. For doing so I have developed a method to record the data delivered by each sensor for mutual alignment. Visualization in the next step allows for 3D reconstruction of the object surface. My task ranged from algorithm development to code implementation and on to modification of the test environment.

What do you think particularly exciting?

First of all, working on a topic related to smart sensor solutions and Industry 4.0 is very exciting to me – especially in view of the ever-growing importance of IIoT or Industry 4.0 to industry. 

I have a lot of freedom in finding possible methods for data collection, to weigh benefits against drawbacks to decide on the methodology. In theoretical studies, many things are pre-defined and already set, that’s why to me elaborating on solutions and making decisions on my own are new challenges I like very much. I find it very helpful being allowed to ask my supervisor or my team colleagues for support at all times, and to discuss topics in a cooperative atmosphere. Unlike team work in university projects, I found all my colleagues highly motivated to work together towards a common goal – everyone was fully committed to the project.

Getting to know programming and sensor technology in practice is also very exciting. Actually at this point I became aware that university lectures are not that much in-depth and that there is so much more to discover in practice – I would not have guessed such a huge sensor variety and how fascinating the different function principles are. Before, other domains such as electrical engineering sound interesting to me as well, but the bachelor's thesis really has whetted my appetite for computer science which I would like to deepen for my upcoming master’s degree. I think it's great to come up with own solutions to existing problems, to make them become real by code implementation and then test them to see if your solution works. I really enjoy the flexibility I am given and approaching the ideal solution step by step.

Which lessons learned do you consider most important?

In practice, problems are very complex and pragmatic solutions really call for creativity – in software engineering, team performance works best. From my colleagues’ feedback I learned what is key in programming, how to implement codes as correctly as possible, and how to identify, reproduce and eliminate bugs in codes. You won’t learn such tricks of the trade at university. Dealing openly with constructive criticism is crucial. I realized that taking the courage to bring in own ideas will pay off in the end, because even being a student you have a big chance to contribute towards team performance.

Looking back on your time at Baumer, what has been a special highlight for you?

I presented my work to the Chief Technology Officer as well as to various product managers and found it remarkable and very appreciating that there was real interest in my work, even at management level. Having me as a student elaborate on a topic of that importance and relevance to the future of Baumer left me a great feeling of self-confidence.
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