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Employee Story


Growing from seemingly unsolvable problems

A feasible or impossible technology project? This question was asked not only by experienced colleagues but also by Jan, who, at 25, is one of the youngest IT consultants at Arineo. He went ahead and figured it out – with the push of a dedicated project manager, the advice of an experienced mentor, and his gamer spirit. “This opportunity is why I am who I am on the job today,” Jan says of the trickiest task of his career so far.

"Figuring out how something works has always been my thing."

One day, the internet goes out in his hometown of Frauenberg near Regensburg. Jan starts investigating and quickly finds out that the fault lies with the house’s network. But he doesn’t find a direct solution for it. However, the search ignites a fascination for a technical question that will never let go of him from that moment on. He wants to understand how devices are interconnected and how PCs communicate with each other.

Jan gains a foothold in the professional world of information technology

If there were a journeyman project in IT, it would probably be the app he developed to provide his Arineo colleagues with an attendance overview during the Corona period. The development reminded him of computer games like Super Mario. After completing his training as an IT systems integrator at Arineo, Jan, who is more cautious and mild-mannered than a risk-taker, has yet to find his place in the broad field of information technology.

Jan Mehlin

“I hadn’t realized how many different areas there are within IT. Choosing a specialization was not easy for me, and it happened during the time of Corona, of all times.”

A mammoth task to carry

“The sense of accomplishment at the end of a development process is the same as defeating the end boss in a video game.”

Person präsentiert Microsoft Power Apps

In August 2020, some of his colleagues are on short-time work. A new task, where Jan can showcase his skills, is yet to come. This catches the attention of his project manager, Frank, in the adjacent Customer Engagement department, who is simultaneously looking for someone for a cross-technology project in Microsoft’s product ecosystem. “The project manager saw that I was looking, and approached me. I am incredibly grateful to him for that to this day.” The project manager unpacks something that sounds like a mammoth task. The goal: a configurator app to help customers set up their complex machines from in-house production. Until then, it was difficult for the customer, for example, to configure the soldering machine to be operable with a US keyboard instead of a German one. A simpler solution is needed. Otherwise, there were no specifications.

The easier the handling for the customer, the more challenging the development

The catch: no one knows whether the project is even technically feasible. The ambitious talent is given time and trust by his project manager. Jan is allowed to take longer than employees with more experience, as long as he completes the subproject before the overall project’s end.

Jan’s creative mind feels initially inspired by this freedom. He is also completely free to organize his working hours – as is customary at Arineo. He draws surfaces and control panels by hand and transfers the whole thing into digital mockups. In doing so, he tries out all the ways that Microsoft suggests for app development using Power Platform. However, working with the brand-new software is by no means easy. This becomes clear to Jan when he can’t find a single how-to blog post on how multiple separate Microsoft systems can communicate with each other. Google doesn’t know the answer. So, for three months, this means trial and error.

As he continues to face unresolved technical challenges after the first few months, Jan’s initial optimism gradually gives way to a slight feeling of resignation. He doubts himself – out of respect for what he wants to achieve. The flip side of the trust placed in him is a responsibility that he feels more strongly. He seeks more support from his mentor, Sebastian. The experienced IT consultant patiently assists him with many tips and – perhaps even more important – the same sense of humor. Together, they develop a more detailed timeline from Jan’s to-do list, culminating in a testable version.

However, Jan’s app stubbornly refuses to get the information from the Microsoft ERP system. It’s a matter of getting the systems to talk to each other. Just like when the internet went down in Jan’s parents’ house – but now he has a colleague who gives him the decisive tip. “The most fun part was when I saw the information in the app.” It’s a success he celebrates with a developer from the Finance and Operations team. After there, they can move into designing the app.

“I was very proud of my design element, which I showed to everyone at the time,” Jan says with a smile on his face. “I now know that breadcrumb navigation is actually much easier to implement. But because there was no template at the time, I developed my own solution for it.”

As a result, the navigation menu dynamically adjusts the size of the fields and fonts based on the number of categories to be displayed.

Breadcrumbs lead to success

“The best compliment for me is when the customer is happy with how intuitive the app is.”

Until the presentation of the first testable version, Jan only sent screenshots to the customer. Now it’s time to showcase his finished solution. “At first, I was rather quiet in the meetings and only spoke up when I was one hundred percent sure,” says the 25-year-old. Therefore, Jan is also a little surprised at himself when he not only confidently presents his first testable version, but also impresses the CEO on the customer side. He has designed the app to be clear and organized.

Every project is different. But one thing Jan has gained forever: serenity. A large, seemingly impossible task no longer intimidates him. Something is only unsolvable until someone comes along and implements it. Jan has made it his mission to be that person.

Person sitzt vor Laptop und Bildschirm.

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