From practising Japanese in Salzburg to working in Tokyo
Viktoria is a senior engineer and tests software at SKIDATA. She appreciates the diversity of her responsibilities and the flexibility that she takes full advantage of as a mother.
The smallest branch of SKIDATA is events. “But it is also the most exciting,” says Viktoria. As a senior engineer, she is responsibly for the quality assurance for the events division at SKIDATA. In 2010, her first assignment took her to Manchester to the Manchester United Stadium. “It was a really great experience,” she recalls. She was on-site at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart as well, and at the Otkritie Arena for Spartak Moscow. “That was a really new and very exciting experience, even though it was very, very cold at minus-20 degrees,” she says. “It’s always interesting to see how the software is used in practice. And you learn a lot about how people use our devices. I was able to bring a lot back with me from my assignments abroad.”
Viktoria comes from Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia and came to Germany at the age of ten with her family, where she spent her childhood. As a child, she was already enthusiastic about computers. “I was the first in my friend group to own a computer,” recalls the 35-year-old. After graduating high school, she studied computer science at the University of Applied Sciences Landshut. “The course was totally different from how I had imagined it would be—taking computers apart, I thought,” she says. Instead, she learned to program. “I like my studies anyway and I followed through.” She was an exception: Of the 96 students and just five women in her year, almost gave up. “In the end, there were 2 of us–and just two girls.” After graduating, she spent a year in Kyrgyzstan and taught computer science at a university there.
Back in Landshut, where the headquarters of SKIDATA Germany is located, she searched for a job. “SKIDATA was an appealing choice to me because it is an international company and offered many interesting positions,” Viktoria explains. In 2010, she moved to Berchtesgaden near Salzburg and joined SKIDATA as an engineer for quality assurance in the events division. “In quality assurance, we put the software and its interactions with hardware through their paces,” Viktoria explains. “We only give the green light when everything fits, and then the software is rolled out of the system.”
Viktoria’s work means that she sees international events and competitions–which take place in the many sports stadiums and arenas equipped by SKIDATA–from a unique perspective. She watches with interest at the start of each event: “When the game begins and the stands are full, I get excited because everyone will have arrived at the stadium at the on-time and we will have done a great job.” This is what she expects from the upcoming Olympic Games open in the National Stadium in Tokyo.
In 2013, Viktoria was promoted to Senior Engineer, where she works on the borders between software and hardware development and technical support. Some build the systems and write the software while others collect feedback from customers. Viktoria is in contact with both sides on a daily basis, and they work on the best solutions for the customers together. Now and again, Viktoria also works on-site with customers; otherwise, she tests the software and hardware, as well as organizes and conducts field tests. Each week, she participates in a jour fixe to coordinate with the senior engineers from other departments. “The job is really varied and demanding, there are always new challenges,” Viktoria reports.
Customers expect flexibility from Viktoria, and SKIDATA offers Viktoria that flexibility She is free to schedule her own working hours. “The freedom is really worth a lot,” says Viktoria. She still lives in Bad Reichenhall in Germany and works in Austria, and she had two children–a boy and a girl–in 2015 and 2017. After her first child, she took a year off. “After that, it was no problem to get back into my old job. I went from zero to 100 immediately,” she says. For Viktoria, maternity leave lasted two years and three months the second time around because it was more difficult to organize care for two children. Here, too, Viktoria was able to resume her job right away with reduced working hours.
The Corona pandemic and lockdown were a spanner in the works, but Viktoria was able to find a solution: When the kindergarten is closed, she takes over the early shift at home with the children or in the office. Then her husband, who works in the morning, takes care of the children. “Flexible working hours and conditions at SKIDATA make this possible,” Viktoria says. “For me as a mother, that’s indispensable.”
Viktoria doesn’t have to pay for the high flexibility of her role with a compromised job prospect. “My job was practically waiting for me,” she says. She regularly receives specialist training. Her goal? She wants to be an expert as soon as she has passed the exams for the ISTQB® Certified Tester Advanced Level – Test Manager.
In her free time, Viktoria likes to go jogging, as do many of her colleagues at SKIDATA. “I run and marvel at the wonderful mountain views,” she says—Viktoria has participated in the Salzburg Business Run in the past. She also likes to read and crochet outfits or accessories for her young daughter.
Michael’s team spirit at SKIDATA extends to his vacations, as he often travels with his work colleagues. “We have been going sailing together for over ten years,” says Michael, who holds a boating license. Eight to nine colleagues join him—usually, in Croatia. And when he’s not sailing, he likes to ride his Harley Davidson Road King. His next career goal? Work internationally, and outside of Austria.