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No matter what the world throws at us, our team is moving full speed ahead this year. This month we’ll introduce you to our new member Ruben Praets, who is raising our collective intelligence level as AI software engineer:

Learning by doing

Ruben joined the Qcify team in October after our engineering VP Pieter Boogaerts spotted him on LinkedIn and invited him to interview. Trained as a software engineer, he’s currently focusing on improving all kinds of software we have already. “The AI aspect is what excites me the most,” he says. “In this case it’s using computer vision to recognize quality defects.”

Right now Ruben is working on the graphic user component of the new design interface. “I write code and test what it looks like. Usually it doesn’t work the first time, so it’s a lot of trial and error. I really learn a lot as I go along and if I need a hand, I can always count on the rest of the team.”

One of the things Ruben loves most about his job is the variety. “I started with the QIS (our first machine) in October and now I’m onto the QcifEye (our newest machine). Each time I’m working with another programming language, and processing different data for the graphic user interface. So I’m constantly learning and that keeps it interesting.”

Remote but connected

The atmosphere at work is relaxed, according to Ruben. “Raf is the CEO but I can chat with him just as easily as I can with my colleague Antoon, who’s the same age as me,” says Ruben. “He’s just very open, we can joke around. The same with Pieter: he heads European R&D but is also very accessible. That makes it really enjoyable to work here.”

While the company has staff on two continents, it has a distinctly American flavor. “You notice it’s a US company. We have that drive to go further, and Raf wants to be able to shift gears quickly.” Ruben also appreciates the agility and interaction you get from being part of a small company. “In big companies you have these separate departments working in silos, while here everyone is regularly in touch with each other, everybody knows each other.”

Even as a new team member starting in corona times, Ruben has benefitted from that openness. “Everyone’s working from home, but every day we have a video call with the whole European team, so that everyone gets to see each other.” While the team is focused on their goals, they also understand the value of having a little fun. “Not an afternoon goes by that we don’t shoot the breeze a little first, and we also have some running gags going.”

California dreams

He may be at his apartment most of the time, but Ruben is still happy with his work environment. “My first goal is just to stay on here, which I think will work out. In a small company like this you won’t end up managing a huge team, but that’s not my ambition. I mainly want to keep learning. Just being able to pursue my passion for computer science and AI on a daily basis is already enough for me.”

Of course, he does look forward to broadening his horizons a little once the pandemic subsides. “Hopefully one day I’ll go to California to visit customers and see how they work over there. That will help me see the bigger picture.”

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