Interview: Dragan Lesic
How and when did you join Zurich Instruments?
I joined Zurich Instruments at the beginning of 2012. Before that, I studied electrical engineering in Croatia and did a master’s at the Politecnico di Milano in Italy. I found out about Zurich Instruments thanks to the IAESTE organization, back in 2011, when I was searching for an internship just before finishing my master’s degree. At the time, the company was a small start-up consisting of 14 people with no dedicated HR department: my job interview and most of the communications were managed by the CEO. I felt that the job was interesting and fitted my vision for the future better than other options. It involved programming of the elements of the user interface, such as axes for data plots in the web browser using C++ and HTML5. My knowledge of electrical circuitry and hardware circuit design helped me develop the programming skills that I mainly work with today.
What does your job look like, and what is the most important aspect of it?
In my current role, I am responsible for the front-end of the LabOne control software for our instruments. The most challenging part of my work is to deliver a meaningful and relevant user experience while developing a high-performance measurement infrastructure. This means that I take care of the back-end or manage how elements are made – how plots are rendered, how a history list is assembled. For some of the front-end tasks I work on my own, but for the back-end development I work with the Software team in the Agile framework.
The most motivating part of my job is that I can help users perform some tasks with one or two mouse clicks in LabOne rather than running a MATLAB script on their own. I enjoy solving this kind of problems. Similarly, I find it rewarding when I recognize issues that users are experiencing and can solve them thanks to the latest browser technology. This technology often helps me to solve certain problems in a more elegant way because it evolves constantly. What I wish I could do more is to focus on the user experience to provide even greater benefits to the users.
My daily tasks changed over the years. In the beginning, we had a small centralized Software team; now we operate in the Agile framework with a larger team, so that we distribute work across team members and design how to solve problems and over what time frame. Today, my job involves designing prototypes of the projects I work on and aligning with stakeholders in Research & Development (R&D) and Marketing & Sales (M&S); the rest of my time is devoted to implementations.
What is the most memorable Zurich Instruments moment that stayed with you?
I relate the most memorable moments at Zurich Instruments with my first year, where I received great help and support during my integration and first steps into my professional life. I came to a new country and a new environment alone, and I was lucky to find that level of support. I remember how our Office Manager Karin helped me find my first flat by acting as my reference for landlords. Some of my colleagues from those early days have become very close friends, almost family members.
How do you spend your free time?
These days I am mostly focused on going back home to Croatia and spending as much time as possible with my parents, helping them with their daily work in the garden and the vineyard. I practice almost any sport: running, skiing, competitive swimming. I am also a proud member of Vladimir's community (a form of meet-up in Zurich) with whom I regularly travel, attend pub quizzes and play board games.