Faces of FIFTY2

Aju Abraham - Application Engineer

Hi Aju, to start, tell us a bit about your current role at FIFTY2?

I’m an application engineer at FIFTY2. Specifically speaking, I validate PreonLab as a whole, but as time went on, I have been focusing especially on the thermodynamics aspect of our software. For investigations on thermodynamics, I work mostly with my colleague Loïc, where we either run simulations against other CFD software and compare our results or we compare our simulation results directly with analytical solutions in order to judge how accurate we are and how to improve further. Also, I assist our development team to create new features for our software. This means that we discuss together possible new features and I together with the application engineering team give suggestions before the implementation of a feature.
Apart from that, I also work on general testing of PreonLab as well as on support tickets in order to help our customers get the best out of the software.

You had your first experiences with regard to mechanical engineering in India, right?

Yes, that’s right. So, I did my bachelor’s in mechanical engineering in India and then I joined Bosch also in India. Even though this was also a mechanical engineering profile, the field I was working in was not exactly what I’m doing right now. I was mostly into the part of management, more specifically, project management. So, I did not have any engineering tasks that I had to do directly, which is why it wasn’t that interesting for me. This pushed me to change my field of work and that’s when I decided to do a master’s in a more technical area and hence my decision to come to Germany.

Has it always been clear to you that you would eventually want to leave India or did that step come unplanned?

For me, there was no plan as such, to move out of India. But my idea was to change just the field of my work. It was a bit difficult being in India to change a field that quickly. So the only option that I had back then was to do further studies, especially a master’s, but finally, I opted for higher education outside of India. I had more inclination towards Germany because I was already working in a German company and my bosses were all Germans and in fact, Bosch was providing free German courses too. Roughly within three months of my decision to quit my job, I decided that I was going to Germany. I immediately started applying to a few universities and then I got an admit in a matter of months.
Of course, leaving one’s family and friends is never easy, but still, I was really excited, to be frank, to go out of India and explore the possibilities out there. I believe that one should be open enough to explore the world and see what’s around to broaden one’s perspectives. And that’s what I did.

What were the masters studies like and what was the main topic?

The course at the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg for the master’s was called Computational Engineering. So, the focus was mainly on flow dynamics and thermodynamics. During that time, I did an internship and I also had a part-time job at Fraunhofer. At Fraunhofer, my main task was to devise and execute an algorithm for a coupled electro-thermal simulation for power devices.
Furthermore, I had some interest in programming too. Since I was from a mechanical engineering background, I did not have much proficiency in coding initially. But the courses at the university provided a good mix of coding within a mechanical engineering framework, which was great for me. What this meant was that I wouldn’t be completely leaving mechanical engineering behind, and I would also be learning a bit of programming. Of course, I wouldn’t be a professional programmer either, but still, that was truly satisfying for me.

What was the process like to then find a job after finishing your studies?

Looking for a job was quite a tedious process. That is when I really felt the need for the German language. I did take some German courses and started understanding the language quite well, but using the language in daily life was still a struggle. And also jobs were not that abundant. So I had to look for different opportunities. I looked for jobs, especially on LinkedIn, and then on a few job websites. It was through a post from a head hunter company on LinkedIn that I found out about FIFTY2 and the job posting.
Then, I had a conversation through them with Lisa and she arranged for a telephonic interview with Markus. That’s when it started. Timing-wise, I had finished my master’s in December 2019 and the interview was in February 2020, it was hardly two months in between, so in that regard everything went pretty well.

It’s been just over two years now that you have joined us. Would you say so far it has been the way you expected it, or is it completely different than you anticipated?

I wasn’t expecting this much fun, to be honest. When looking for a job, my idea, in the beginning, was to get into a company where I could enjoy doing the things that I want to do, and I think this is exactly the place where this becomes true. People are really chill and very supportive. Even if you text somebody now, asking “Hey do you have some time? I would like to have some opinion on something.”, they’ll immediately join and give you their suggestions and feedback. It’s really amazing here. I think part of this is because, even though we are consistently growing, we are still comparatively a small company. So I feel like here nobody restricts you from giving suggestions, and your opinions are given the worth it deserves. You could see visible changes in the company because of you.
This is nice to see, which I think wouldn’t be the case if you work in a big company where processes are already established. The same goes for the application engineering team, a vibrant and young team: everyone is very supportive, helpful, and cooperative. Without hesitation and further explanations, you can suddenly crack a bad joke and the whole team joins you in laughing out loud. I think it’s very rare to get such colleagues.

And finally, any last words or hobbies you have that you want to share?

I love music. It has been something very special to me. It does not matter if I’m sad, happy, or angry, music always befits my mood. I did not know how to play any instruments until recently. Now I started learning the ukulele. I wish I could learn more instruments.
Besides that, I also like to travel a bit. Though I’m not a big-time traveler, whenever possible I like traveling to good places, especially to cities in and around Germany.

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