Meet Martin, Software Architect at Roche

Tell us a bit about yourself

Hi! My name is Martin. I’m 32 years old and a graduate software engineer. I live in Rotkreuz, Switzerland - not very far  from one of the headquarters of the Roche Diagnostics Division - and I’m one of the so-called ‘locals’, having been born and raised in the area of Central Switzerland.

I followed a rather traditional Swiss education path, first completing a professional training in the area of Electronic Engineering before moving on to study Computer Science at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts.

In my spare time, I enjoy playing sports. If I had to choose a favourite, it would definitely be volleyball. I started playing volleyball as a young boy and find that it is still the perfect sport for me – it`s fast, energetic and all about being a part of a team. You may contribute a lot as an individual, but to make a real difference, you need to be able to play as a group to overcome individual shortcomings.

In which Roche location do you currently work and what can you tell us about that location as a work environment?

I currently work at the Roche Diagnostics headquarters in Rotkreuz, Switzerland. For me, this is the perfect place to work - a big campus full of shiny, new, white buildings, good infrastructure and comfortable work spaces. The site has grown rapidly over the last couple of years and we now enjoy  a wide variety of benefits, among others a convenient cafeteria and restaurant. The many sports clubs at Roche provide ample opportunities to enjoy the countryside and meet new colleagues after work. Last, but not least, it’s very close to my home and the short commute is a definite advantage.

In general, I would say it’s worth spending at least a part of your life in Central Switzerland - the lovely countryside surrounded by placid lakes and snowy mountains, inviting you to go skiing or hiking depending on the season. When the view out of your office window is comparable to a picturesque postcard, you just know it can’t get any better than that!

Why did you decide to join Roche and why at this location?

I’ve actually joined Roche twice! The first was right out of school, when I was looking for a place to start my apprenticeship. I joined Roche then at quite a young age, mostly impressed by the long-standing solid reputation that the company holds.  After earning my professional degree, I proceeded to broaden my horizons at university.

Once I’d graduated as a software engineer, I found myself back at Roche. It wasn’t a hard decision; with all the wonderful learning experiences I’d had in the past at Roche, I grabbed at the rare chance to join a reputable international company as a fresh graduate and I’ve never looked back since.

What is your current position at Roche?

Currently, I work as a software architect in an ongoing development project where we work as a team to create software to operate a next-generation blood analyzer.  

I find the challenging work domain the most exciting aspect of my job. Especially when you work with analyzers, you cannot get by with software know-how alone. You need to be aware of the minutiae of the specific domain, its pain-points and its priorities, to be able to integrate them into an effective software structure. It starts with general healthcare specifics, which include usability and regulatory constraints, and it is also greatly influenced by the chemical, mechanical, biological and physical aspects of the domain.  The challenge is to develop a usable and reliable product while keeping these considerations in mind.

Additionally, this role involves being the technical lead for a team of over 30 software developers, located across Rotkreuz and St Cugat (Spain). Thus, this is an exciting role that always keeps me on my toes and gets my blood pumping.

In spite - or perhaps, because -  of these challenges, at the end of the day, I am very happy to be working on a project with a tangible outcome. So we are not just moving things around, but when it comes down to it, if we’ve done our job right, the analyzers run smoothly, purring like an old content tomcat.

How would you describe Roche as an employer?

From my past experience, I would say Roche has always been a reliable partner for developing my career. Roche has offered and continues to offer me lots of opportunities and challenging assignments. The work environment is very international – the different teams involved in a single development sometimes spans several countries and, more often than not, several continents. Moreover, Roche has enabled me to grow in my role and responsibilities. First as an aspiring apprentice and then joining Roche as a fresh graduate, I started off as a junior developer, graduated to several senior developer assignments and finally, am now entrusted with an entire project as the lead software architect. This has been no mean feat, and I highly appreciate the opportunities I’ve been given at Roche.    

How would you describe the people working here?

The one word I would use to describe my colleagues is “diverse”. Just on the one floor of the building from where I’m currently writing this blog post, I’m surrounded by colleagues of more than 15 different nationalities, working together to build one single new product. The diversity applies equally to other features as well - age, experience, background. One thing remains the same, though. Every single member of this diverse team is equally committed to our common goal. This makes for a great working environment, surrounded by such a rich source of ideas  and inspiration.

How is your job connected to “doing now what patients need next”

That’s easy! Working in an R&D department is all about helping great ideas come true. But it’s never as easy as it looks, especially when you are trying to build a better product than you did the last time. Reality always throws you for a loop just when you least expect it.  So it’s all up to us to come up with a creative solution that will help bring ideas to life. What we develop today will hopefully provide reliable services at hospitals and laboratories very soon and help a patient out there. And this creates, at least for me, a certain satisfaction and a feeling of fulfilment at having spent my working days helping people in a way that matters.

What can you say about the current job openings in your department?

As we are currently looking for a platform architect to strengthen our software architecture group, someone with a solid and selectively deep background in software engineering, with experience with .NET (c#, Silverlight, Entity Framework) or modern UI technologies (HTML5 & JavaScript), in particular,  would be ideal. Apart from these technical skills, the right person for this position would be one with a proven record as a technical leader and someone who feels comfortable taking up new and exciting challenges like those described above. The job ad can be reached via this link.

What would you advise job seekers who want to join us?

If you are interested, visit our website or our social media pages on LinkedInXingFacebook and Twitter.

Explore here how IT at Roche has an impact on patients' lives.

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