The architect for digital systems

Hendrik is lost for words when he sees the machine for the first time. He has been working on its software for several months, and it’s almost the size of a garage! Photomasks for semiconductor manufacturing are being made inside it. Dressed in protective clothing, with gloves and a face mask, Hendrik is standing in front of the machine in the cleanroom as it dawns on him: “ZEISS goes beyond mere software. This feels like real-life science fiction.” Ultimately, these photomasks form the foundations for the digital world as we know it: They are used to produce microchips for 5G, smart home, and state-of-the-art computer technologies.

A modern architect

Hendrik is an architect – of digital systems. As a software expert, he is a member of the team at ZEISS Digital Innovation (ZDI), the software provider for ZEISS’ internal and external projects. He supports various development teams by using state-of-the-art technologies to make production processes in the manufacturing industry more flexible.
First, Hendrik clarifies the technical requirements that the software is expected to satisfy in the future. He and his teams brainstorm in meetings: How should the target system be structured? How should it perform its tasks? And how can employees use it with ease? Hendrik documents the ideas and decisions from the meetings and ensures that the requirements of the different parties involved in the project are also duly taken into consideration. He then oversees the implementation and helps to work on the source code.

Industry 4.0

The domain of the software Hendrik helps to develop is particularly appealing to him: “The combination of complex machinery, processes, and technical challenges is hard to find outside of manufacturing,” he says, adding: “You need to think in so many dimensions. Sometimes it feels as if you’re playing sudoku with the numbers 1 to 99.”
This complexity is a result of industrial production machines being highly networked and manufacturing processes being largely digitized. This is the only way to better monitor and optimize processes.

The combination of complex machinery, processes, and technical challenges is hard to find outside of manufacturing.

An expert beyond ZEISS

As a software architect at ZDI, Hendrik has a certain kind of special role: “As an internal service provider for software solutions, we are involved in many projects across the various ZEISS segments. I help development teams in various areas of the company, so I gain in-depth insights into a wide range of solutions. As a result, I am always learning something new.”

Hendrik shares the expertise gained here outside of ZEISS, too: He publishes in trade journals and regularly gives talks on topics that inspire him, for example: How software changes over a long time period. And what can be done to ensure the impact of this change is as positive as possible.

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