In the fall of 2018 I applied for a position in TGW's sponsorship programme. This position gave me a head start by allowing me to gain professional experience and start networking while simultaneously finishing my Masters degree. The flexible working hours meant that I could easily combine my studies and work.
The scholarship position lasted two years. During the first year I helped out in three different departments. In the big data team, I analysed whether it was possible to make specific predictions about when a component needs to be replaced at a facility based on spare part orders. In the Industry Management Grocery department, I worked on the question of how best to design a warehouse to be operated by AGVs/AMRs. My third stop was the Cognitive Systems team. There I developed an algorithm for calculating the target position of fruit and vegetable cartons on a pallet.
During my second year I got to decide in which of those three departments I would write my Masters thesis and later begin to work. I chose the Cognitive Systems team and continued developing my algorithm, which also featured in my Masters thesis. Since the beginning of 2021 I have been adapting and expanding the algorithm for a new project that will be realised this year.
After my scholarship position, I have been working in the Cognitive Systems department, and at the beginning of 2021 I was able to switch to a full time position as developer cognitive systems. The combination of research and development makes my job special: the development of our methods is based on scientific findings, for example in the area of machine learning. A particularly interesting aspect is the practical application and adaptation of theoretical results and methods. When developments or problems arise, one can create a visual representation to see whether the algorithm is behaving exactly as it is supposed to, which is particularly motivating.
Thus, my areas of activity at TGW can best be described with the following words:
I have goals for my professional future as well, which I hope to reach while working at TGW. These include contributing to revolutionising robotic palletising with the help of myopic methods (that is, methods that play "Tetris"), developing intelligent methods in intralogistics and developing software that would allow robots to deal with and correct errors on their own.
Every day the team meets to exchange ideas, usually over a coffee. We talk about open projects and discuss possible solutions for problems that have come up, but we also chat about what we did at the weekend or after work. If time allows, we usually try to eat lunch together as a team too.
Once per quarter we meet in one large group and each person reports what improvements and solutions he or she has been working on. After those meetings, we spend a pleasant evening grilling in the TGW Activity Garden. It is a great place to celebrate development achievements as a team.
I exercise regularly in my free time. In the winter I mostly play table tennis in a club that I joined back in 2004, and in the summer I go cycling. Recently I have also taken up hiking.
Since my alternative service ("Zivildienst" in german), I always spend part of my free time in the Red Cross emergency services. Every two weeks I work a night shift, and I help out the trainees when needed. I like sharing my knowledge and experience with them and do my best to help prepare them for their exams and first unsupervised deployments as paramedics.
TEAMWORK & OPEN MIND
I especially appreciate the sense of solidarity and community in our team! Everyone can rely on everyone else and everyone helps and supports each other when help is needed. This is why my colleagues' openness and willingness to help is so special to me. If questions or problems come up, you can always ask any colleague. Even when everyone is working on different projects, we are all pulling together.
MY LEARNINGS & TASKS
So far in my time at TGW I have learned a lot in the following areas:
- new coding language (Python),
- software deployment,
- communication between software and the robot's PLC
The way I approach a project has also evolved greatly. In particular, working together with all kinds of different departments and colleagues has allowed me to grow thanks to their know-how and expertise in their specialised fields, and has shown me how important it is to keep a clear view of the big picture.
This has shown me, in my professional as well as my private life, that one can avert problems and challenges in all sorts of areas if one considers them from every possible angle. I have also seen the importance of good communication among colleagues. It is critical to give everyone involved the information they need so that everyone feels up to date and is kept in the loop. This experience has helped me grow, particularly in my activities with the Red Cross.
At TGW, everyone supports each other. Whenever questions come up, one should not hesitate to ask. Everyone is happy to take the time to answer. Based on my own experiences, I would advise everyone to apply for an interesting job at TGW; the team spirit and solidarity within the entire TGW company are one of a kind.
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