Digitization is changing our working world. This creates new professions and job descriptions. But what is behind the designations? We want to make that tangible in “And what are you doing?” Today: Amelie Froessl, Geospatial Software Engineer at LiveEO.
BASIC thinking: Hi Amelie, you work as a geospatial software engineer at LiveEO. Describe to us in four sentences how you explain your job to new friends.
In my job I spend a lot of time programming. As a geospatial software engineer, what sets me apart from other software engineers is the data I work with and the systems I design to process that specific data, which always need to be in context.
For example, the data is in a certain projection, and different projections have different effects. Working with geospatial data is pretty cool because at least once a day you’re looking at the earth from space.
A normal working day than Geospatial Software Engineer
What does a normal day look like in your job?
A normal working day starts with planning the upcoming tasks. Then I typically review and provide feedback on code changes proposed by my colleagues that are submitted for inclusion in our main code base.
As a developer, I don’t have a ton of scheduled meetings. I often turn to my colleagues directly when I need help. Sometimes they come to me with questions. I then spend the rest of the day programming.
And what do you start the day with?
Before I go to the office, I drink a cup of coffee at home. Then I get ready for work and then jump on my bike. The fresh air and the exercise are really good for me, as I sit at my desk for a large part of the day in my job.
Geospatial Software Engineer Tasks
What tasks are in your area?
Most of the work I’m responsible for involves maintaining or developing our company’s code base. This includes writing new code and refactoring – i.e. restructuring old code without changing its functions. I also make sure that the code works smoothly by testing it thoroughly.
My work also includes documenting my processes. Of course, there are always ad hoc tasks or errors that can crop up. These activities are not planned, but must also be done.
Integration into the corporate structure
How is your position integrated into the company structure? Say: Who do you report to and with whom do you work?
I work with other software engineers on the LiveEO technical team and report to a technical team lead. Some of my employees are also geospatial software engineers and others are machine learning engineers. Across teams, I work most often with project managers, product managers and our Tech Ops team. This is responsible for running the code we develop for specific deliveries.
Of course, the role of the geospatial software engineer is interpreted differently in every company. What perspectives are you missing out on that are fundamentally part of the job profile?
I have to say that I’m not very familiar with external people doing the same job in another company. That’s why I don’t have any comparative values, but at the same time I don’t have the feeling that I can’t carry out a task that is part of my job.
Fun and gratitude at work
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I’ve always loved programming, so I really enjoy designing and implementing software. It’s always a bit like solving a jigsaw puzzle and figuring out how all the pieces fit together. Of course, being able to see beautiful pictures from above is also an advantage of the job.
What are you particularly grateful for?
I am especially grateful for all my great colleagues. They are truly a pleasure to work with and they are definitely one of the reasons why I enjoy going to the office every day.
Geospatial Software Engineer: Tips for newcomers and career changers
In the digital industry in particular, there is often no longer a classic education. How did you get your position?
I have a background in computer science rather than geospatial engineering. I got the position as a software engineer for geodata because I have always been interested in satellite data.
I took remote sensing courses at university and worked in a computational vision and remote sensing lab for a while during my master’s degree. The geospatial knowledge I gained through these experiences and my programming skills ultimately got me into this job.
What tip would you give to a newcomer or interested career changer who also wants to become a geospatial software engineer?
I think this is a great job and encourage anyone interested to apply! One should not underestimate the programming skills required for this position. Get your hands dirty early on in real projects.
This is a lot about learning by doing. There are a variety of open source projects that give you a feel for how working with each type of data works. This will probably give you the best idea of what a software engineer job is like.