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FROM SPACE TECH AND ROBOTICS TO IMSE

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Anuraj is working as an embedded software engineer in the R&D team. Inspired by the possibilities of living in an university town, he is continuing his studies and is currently enrolled in a Product Management master's programme and uses most of his free time to learning to understand the business side of the high-tech industry. The rest of the free time Anuraj focuses on his fitness and according to him, "fails at learning Finnish".

Anuraj's background and journey to TactoTek are far from the ordinary. He was born in the beautiful state of Kerala in southern India and grew up in western part of India in Ahmedabad. Originally Anuraj was headed for an academic career.

“I did my bachelor’s studies in Electronics Engineering in a city called Surat about 250 Kms north of Mumbai. During the studies Robotics and Embedded Systems were subjects in which I had most fun. When the studies were nearing an end, I decided to pursue a career in Academia either in Robotics or Embedded Systems that could allow me to have fun and satisfy my curiosity. After graduation I joined a research lab with a Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. I worked there for approximately a year. While working there I realised that I need to explore the different fields before deciding on a topic for PhD. I also wanted to see other parts of the world while doing so.”

Exploring the Globe and the Possibilities of the Future

So it was curiosity that brought Anuraj to Europe and finally to Oulu, Finland. In order to explore his research interests and the world, he joined the SpaceMaster degree programme, which was organized by a consortium of six universities in Europe. Oulu was not the place of his dreams for Anuraj, but after he overcame the initial hesitance, he understood that Oulu is actually a great place to work in a high-tech industry. 

“The space master programme was a perfect fit because it allowed to study the field of robotics and embedded systems along with space technology. The other amazing thing about the course was that it would allow me to live in 3 countries in Europe during the master’s programme, which would be a great international experience. I got to live and study Space Technology first in Wuerzburg, Germany and then Kiruna, Sweden. After that I finally arrived in Helsinki, Finland to specialize in Space Robotics. I finalized my master’s thesis at Aalto University by making a 3D mapping system for a prototype lunar rover. By this time I had realized that I wanted to study Field Robotics and Robotic Mapping deeply and I could do a PhD on that topic. At a Robotics conference in Aalto University I heard about the robotics group at University of Oulu. I got interested in the group because they were building a lot of hardware for robots. I asked the possibility to work with them and got a chance to work with the researchers in the Robotics group at University of Oulu, which I took. So I came to Oulu around 2014. I worked with the group for about a year. In 2015, I started my applications for my PhD."

Tipping Points that Changed the Path

As often happens in life, a chain of events led to Anuraj changing his plans from writing a dissertation to pursuing a career in a high tech company. While he was looking for funding for his PhD studies, he was also checking out the ICT industry companies in Oulu. He first heard about TactoTek at a conference by the PrintoCent cluster where TactoTek had a presentation

“I got a cursory view of the more-than-a-decade long research in printed electronics technology. The technology intrigued me so I started researching more about printed electronics and started checking out TactoTek technology in particular. I decided to apply to the open Embedded Software Engineer position to have more understanding of the technology.”

The application led to the interview process, which consists of several interviews with different members of TactoTek organization, including supervisors, peer employees and co-workers. This gives the applicant a possibility to gain a profound understanding of the company, organization and the career possibilities.

“During the interview process I started understanding the technology, its scalability, and implications. I realized the disruptive nature of the technology to transform electronics manufacturing across multiple industries and recognized that the technology has a massive global market potential when it matures. It was not just the technology but also the smart and experienced team at TactoTek that convinced me. The other thing I understood is that my work with the team at TactoTek could have far higher impact on the world compared to the work I could produce in academia. So I decided that it was time to put academia, robotics and space-tech in the back seat and try to contribute the IMSE revolution.”

Where academia lost, we definitely gained and now Anuraj is one of our seasoned IMSE specialists, who works in the midst of the sometimes hectic customer projects and brings the designs to life by his software skills.

“The great thing about working at TactoTek is that I get to do stuff which I could also do for fun as a hobby. The other great thing is that I get to work with people who I think are smarter than I am, and I learn so much everyday from the people around.”

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