From consulting and development to implementation
Twin brothers Christoph and Tobias Kehrein have been working as a Programmer and a User-Experience Designer at AKKA, formerly GIGATRONIK, since May 2017.
In the following interview, they explain how they both applied for the same job at AKKA, what tasks they have taken on here and how they are juggling their own startup with their jobs at AKKA.
"We have been a well-established team for years!"
What are you responsibilities here at AKKA?
T. Kehrein: I’m on the User-Experience Team. At the moment, we are mainly working in the field of HMI – the human–machine interface. We are designing processes in the widest variety of fields. This ranges from the development of operating concepts for various control elements, such as knobs and rotary dials, to the design of content for graphic display devices in the vehicle. So you get into the car, are greeted by the vehicle, hear the sound and see the lights in the interior – the whole environment has an impact on the human and the whole package creates a certain user experience. Our task is to design this.
C. Kehrein: I am on the Desktop Team, programming in C-Sharp and WPF. We implement the applications designed by the UX Team. This includes, for example, establishing communication between the application and the respective terminals, as well as integrating and controlling the predetermined graphical Content.
Can you tell us about a specific project that you have accompanied?
T. Kehrein: One example of a project involved producing a GUI (graphical user interface) design for a client’s display. For this purpose, we first gathered information on what should be presented and how. We then decided how to cluster the elements so as to offer the best possible user experience. In the future, there will be more and more possibilities along the lines of augmented-reality devices and virtual reality – particularly in the field of GUIs – and this is a really exciting process, because the standards are changing. New technologies provide more opportunities, but usually are also more complicated to operate. These challenges have to be divided into small subtasks, analysed and planned in order to be able to implement even very complex issues.
You set up a company while you were studying. What is your start-up about and how did you eventually come to AKKA?
T. Kehrein: The startup came about from a project in the education sector. This resulted in the development of an augmented-reality app for smartphones and tablets that can be used to draw in 3D space, using different brushes, shapes and colours, etc.
C. Kehrein: Then, after studying, we deliberately looked for a job that had things in common with our start-up – something really fun where we could also contribute our skills. We then both applied for the same job at AKKA, as a UX designer, completely independently of each other. In the end, they took us both on, because the two of us working together perfectly fulfil the requirements of the job. There is also the advantage is that we have been a well-established team for years!
T. Kehrein: We didn’t want to give up the startup completely, however, because we had put so much of ourselves into it. So we decided to work 80 per cent for AKKA, and 20 per cent on keeping the startup going.
"To deliver results that not only satisfy the customer, but also inspire them – that’s my personal goal."
What is your first impression of AKKA?
T. Kehrein: Right from the outset, I felt really well received here. What impressed me was that people are so open to criticism here. There is no imposed way of working, rather we try to find the best solution for something together, in the sense of a process optimization. I think that’s really good. I also like the way people approach each other here. You can just see that people really enjoy their job.
C. Kehrein: I was also taken in hand straight away. As soon as any problem cropped up, everyone was always there to help and we solved it together. And then there are also the details that you don’t expect, but that create a good relationship with the company. For example, the fact there is coffee, tea and water for free, or a billiard table and a dartboard. You would not take it for granted that these things would be provided, but they have a very positive effect on the working environment.
T. Kehrein: I also find that AKKA puts a strong focus on employee satisfaction. If you want to deliver high-quality goods, the basics also have to be right.
Where do you see the strengths of AKKA for our customers?
T. Kehrein: The fact that we can offer the customer a complete package – from consulting and development to implementation. We have experts in all areas at various locations for this.
What are your goals and wishes for the future at AKKA?
C. Kehrein: I would like to learn as much as possible and look into many areas, so that at some point I will be an expert in certain areas and AKKA can provide comprehensive support.
T. Kehrein: My goal is to continue improving myself here, to learn a lot of things for this, and above all to deliver results that not only satisfy the customer, but also inspire them – that’s my personal goal.