Welcome to the first issue of “Faces of Ibeo”. This series we will introduce you to employees who stand out. Be it through an international background, unusual activities at Ibeo or volunteer work in your free time. As you can see, our logo is currently quite empty. However, this will change in the coming weeks and months. With each issue, the logo is enriched by one face. Follow Ibeo on social media to not miss how our logo fills with the faces that make up Ibeo.
Anil Kumar will be the first entry in this series. Mr. Kumar is both a software developer and a SCRUM master at Ibeo. The latter is a role in agile organizations whose mission is to coach teams and enable barrier-free working. Through these two very different areas of responsibility, he is confronted every day with the challenge of mastering the tightrope act from logically calculating precision and agile, people-centered team management. In addition, he supports new employees with a migration background in their entry into German culture and the Ibeo world.
1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Anil and I come from India. I came to Germany in 2012 to do my Master’s at the TU Darmstadt which I completed in 2016. I started to work at Ibeo in the same year as a software developer. Creating new algorithms for the ibeoNEXT sensor in the perception team. Since Ibeo became agile in 2019, I‘m also working as a SCRUM Master in a newly formed team. I am quite happy with this position because I feel more related to this new role at a personal level. It’s a new experience. I’m still learning and that’s good.
2. What made you initially consider choosing Hamburg as your workplace?
Actually, it wasn’t my first option. I was working and writing my thesis in Berlin and I already had gotten a job offer in the south of Germany, near the Bodensee. I was in the process of moving, everything was finalized. But then I got a call from Ibeo and on the same day of the interview they informed me that I got the job. I had to decide quickly. The main reason for me to choose Ibeo and Hamburg was that it was closer to Berlin and it’s a big city compared to the rural landscape of the Bodensee. Also, considering that I grew up in a large city and I’ve always been surrounded by people, for me living in a village sounded strange. Oh, and during my thesis, I worked on Ibeo sensors, on laserscanners and thus I knew a little bit about the company. That was another motivation to come here.
3. Can you tell us, what are your most memorable experiences from your first weeks living in Germany?
Coming to Germany was actually my first kind of international experience ever. The first image that comes to my mind when I start to think about Germany is, when I landed at the airport and I had three suitcases with me. In total I had about a hundred kilograms of baggage [laughs]. I wanted to be prepared and brought a lot of stuff. I regret it now [laughs].
Apart from that I remember witnessing snow for the first time. In my home country it is really warm, I’ve never seen temperatures below 20 degrees there. That year, in 2012, there was a lot of snow in south Germany. To experience that was awesome.
4. Can you name a cultural difference between India and Germany you had to grow custom to?
There are many actually. If I had to pick one, I’d say planning ahead. It’s unusual in India to plan ahead. Things like making an appointment with a hairdresser like weeks before. That does not happen in India. If I don’t get a seat at a hairdresser I choose another one. But I’ve gotten used to the fact that you have to plan ahead in Germany, even though you don’t know what will happen in the next three or four weeks. I accepted that fact and that it actually improves your life here.
5. What do you like about the German language and what do you dislike about it? Do you have a favorite German word?
What I find most interesting is that compared to all the languages I know from India, German is more logical. You have certain patterns that you can follow, you can study them and get used to them and you can think about them before forming sentences. In my mother tongue it’s very hard for me to think of such certain patterns. You just have to speak and get used to it. German is much more based on logical rules. That is nice.
One thing I have to say that I dislike are the articles but I also see that many Germans are complaining about them as well [laughs].
I think my favourite German word is “doch”. It’s really assertive and even if it’s a small word it does what it’s supposed to to. “Stimmt” is also something I like.
6. What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
Most of the times Netflix [laughs]. I like watching cooking shows – I like cooking a lot. I can suggest something I saw recently, it’s called “The Final Table”. People from different countries participate in the cooking and every episode revolves around another country. They must decide what dish they want to prepare, something that is native to their countries. It’s really good.
7. What are the most exciting (technical / professional) challenges that you face in your work for Ibeo?
I think the most exciting challenge for me is to deal with the change that always happens at Ibeo. So, when I started working here, we were around 50 people and now we are more than 420!
There were a lot of “firsts” for me. The first team in perception (Editor’s note: The first team focused on improving the perception of our sensors). The first sensor coming out. It is always exciting to be a part of these “firsts”. With these “firsts” there are always a lot of changes happening around you and on top of that you have Corona now. You work from home; you see the people on your monitor, but you can’t sense anymore what is happening in the teams. For me as a SCRUM Master it is really important to be as close to your colleagues as possible. These are some of the exciting challenges that I face.
But I want to emphasize that I don’t see these challenges as something negative. Change is always good according to me.
8. What do you enjoy most on a "normal" working day?
Considering my professional background and my career- I come from a technical background. One thing which I enjoy most in my role and at Ibeo is that you still get the chance to think creatively. It’s not about “Do your job! Day in, day out! Don’t think about what you’re doing!” but instead about “How do I approach this problem in a creative way?”. You get this opportunity here and you get the support from your colleagues and that’s something I really like!
9. What task / project you worked on at Ibeo are you particularly proud of?
The International Buddy Project! Currently we are 26 nationalities at Ibeo and in the past some international colleagues have experienced difficulties in adapting to German work culture, especially people coming directly from other countries who haven’t had the time yet to adapt to Germany. We need to facilitate and celebrate our diversity and inclusion more. So, together with Atefeh and some colleagues we have started this initiative called the International Buddy project, in which we want to assign an experienced colleague to a new one coming from a different country. This experienced person basically acts as a social contact for the new colleague. They will help with topics such as finding a flat or getting a visa and challenges with adjusting to Ibeos culture as well.
We developed the idea in December last year and set goals for 2021. I am also an International Buddy myself. The participation in the project is voluntary. We all work full-time as developers or have technical roles in our teams and after work we help our international colleagues.
If this article has sparked your interest in the International Buddy Project, you can read more about Ibeos programs to promote diversity and inclusion here.
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