What’s It Like to Be a Software Application Engineer at Materialise?
5 min read
Not everything at Materialise Software is about writing code. A large part of the Software department is devoted to shaping the product and determining which features should be included, based on the feedback from the customers and the market. In this way, our software can keep making the lives of our customers easier, more cost-effective, and more efficient. We interviewed two software application engineers to get an in-depth look at what the job is really like. Meet Olga Iatsenko, Product Application Engineer for Materialise 3-matic, and Maarten Brocatus, Product Application Engineer for Materialise e-Stage.
Maarten Brocatus (left) and Olga Iatsenko (right)
1. Could you describe your job?
Olga: I’m a member of the product team, meaning I develop the product and propose new ideas on how to improve the product, and which features are important to add. I’m also involved in second line support, where I find solutions for the customers and advise them on how to use the software and get the results they want. My favorite part is definitely improving the product and advising the product manager – you can immediately see the results of your work in the product and it’s very motivating. I currently work on Materialise 3-matic, and I find it fascinating – the software is powerful and really interesting to work on!
Maarten: I feel like we are really the bridge between the customer and software development. I work on Materialise Magics, and based on feedback from the customer, we try and prioritize issues and see how to solve them with for example an added feature or improved UI. Once we’ve defined the problem, we translate it to the developers who make the feature or whatever is required. We check if it has been implemented properly, and then the software goes into the alpha and beta testing phases. During the roll-out phase, we support marketing and sales with our input. And after the release, it’s back to thinking about what needs to go in the new release! Another part of the job is providing second line support like Olga already mentioned, where we solve more complex, specific issues that Line 1 support doesn’t handle.
2. What does an average day look like for you?
Olga: Of course, it depends on the project phase. But a typical day would start with me checking my mailbox for new requests, which I handle as soon as possible. There are often meetings with the development team in Malaysia, and every day we analyze and discuss the details of new software requirements with our functional analysts. And a lot of the time is spent on thinking what is necessary for the customer, what they want, and making decisions about the implementation of new features and ideas.
Maarten: I would also say that it depends on the moment. Right now I’m mostly writing up new requirements for the software, and validating existing requirements. Our developers are in Kiev, so there’s a lot of communication between our teams, and it always feels really great when the new features look exactly how you imagined! I also do performance tests on Magics, research how we can integrate it better with other products, as well as providing second line support. So the days vary quite a bit.
“I have to say, I really love my job – this is the first time I’m a member of a product team at Materialise but I feel like I have really found my place!”
3. What is your favorite part of the job?
Olga: I love thinking about how to improve the product, coming up with ideas and solutions and seeing the result. That part is very inspiring. I also really like discussing with the product managers, because it’s very interesting to understand how the product works and how changes are implemented so I always learn a lot and can provide a higher quality of support as a result! I have to say, I really love my job – this is the first time I’m a member of a product team at Materialise but I feel like I have really found my place!
Maarten: Definitely the feature development. When you release the beta version and you get the feedback from the customer, it’s really nice to hear how it’s helping the customer. That gives me a lot of satisfaction, especially if you notice that it’s going well during development already. Another aspect I really like is visiting customers and seeing how people use our software – it’s really interesting to see it from another perspective!
4. What do you like about working for Materialise?
Olga: I find the products very interesting — I would never be able to work on something like a financial database. 3D printing is a fascinating industry and our software is extremely varied. I also love the atmosphere inside the company! People are very friendly and the atmosphere is very comfortable.
Maarten: I really like the flexibility of the work environment – the tasks are varied and you are given a lot of freedom. My team is also really great! The work culture is fun, with fun colleagues who are young and dynamic.
5. What motivates you to go to work every day?
Olga: At Materialise, I really feel like I can change things for the better. The values and mission of the company are really true. I really like improving the software, but the fact that the company consists of great products which help people to be healthier and more efficient makes it that much more satisfying.
Maarten: I just really enjoy working here! The colleagues are great, and developing features is really fun and interesting. The sector is also really innovative and I’m continually amazed by what 3D printing can accomplish.
6. Tell us about a fun moment on the job!
Olga: I had a great time meeting the development team in Malaysia for the first time. I love how my job can take me to places I’ve never been before — as well as getting to know the teams in our other offices a bit better. They took us to some really cool places, including a restaurant with a very big pot of soup on the table where everyone cooks their ingredients in! That was the first time I had tried something like that.
Maarten: The Magics team is pretty obsessed with technology, and we all have our own micro drone. Before we moved to the open space office, we used to take two-minute breaks and all fly our drones together. Why two minutes? Because the battery doesn’t last any longer than that.
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