Self-Taught Flaneur & Procastinateur
- Hamburg, Germany
Hey there! I'm David. You can read about selected parts of my life here!
I'm passionate about digitization, technology, and about how people organize to create magnificent work! Therefore, I chose to be a consultant in the tech industry by day. By night I transform into a book reading procrastinator with love for coffee, champagne 🍾, and good movies. Occasionally, I also spend time with my PlayStation.
I started as a consultant at Netlight to get the exciting chance to learn about different business types, struggles, and solutions related to digitization, and product & software development. My work focuses on many aspects, like full-stack-development, architecture, agile working methods, data engineering, and team building. Furthermore, not being entirely the same as working in the development aid sector, I've found overlapping virtues. For example, I believe it's very problematic to arrive in a strange place to build a dam or a school and then leave without building the capacity of how to use and maintain or integrating them into the social and political environment. Likewise, it's problematic to arrive in a company with a one-size-fits-all solution to implement.
The first job I took in Hamburg was an internship at a company builder for logistic and financial startups of the Otto Group, called Liquid Labs. Next to the regular research and development, I also prepared my master's thesis on machine learning, which was also supervised by one of collectAI's product owners. Liquid Labs' main focus lay on the just founded debt collection startup collectAI. Machine learning should help to identify channels of communication with debtors to settle debt before creditors send out official dunning letters, therefore keeping the relationships to their clients healthy. During my internship, I learned tons about machine learning and product development in a small startup.
Working at Liquid Labs as an intern for collectAI, I discovered data engineering as an attractive field to develop my career. Being a computer scientist with skills in programming and experience in working with scientists, it made sense to act as the glue between development and data science. Yet, I also quickly merged into full-stack development due to collectAI's startup status, needing helping hands in many areas. I loved the experience of working at a startup. Yet, for my career, I wanted to get a more holistic perspective to my work and get closer to the decision making.
For financing parts of my studies, I started to work as a freelance web developer. Amongst my clients were musicians, choirs, yoga studies, music schools, coworking spaces, agencies, software development companies, and universities. Next to realizing websites with content management abilities or developing portals and web services integrating into an already existing ecosystem like Salesforce, freelancing focused heavily on acquiring and managing clients. While I'd recommend every Computer Science student to have their own business because of financial reasons, it's also an awesome opportunity to put your learned theoretical knowledge into practical work, therefore gaining experience and growing as a person.
I got the chance to take part in crossing Africa by car in 2018. A friend bought a 2002 Land Rover Defender TD5 110 while studying his master's in Cape Town. The idea was to bring the car to Bavaria by driving up the western side of Africa, taking 3 months. After spending half a day in an offroad workshop we told our confused teacher we'd drive to Europe in the coming days. Then we hit the road. We picked up another friend in Johannesburg, detouring over Mozambique and its beautiful nature before driving back to the west via Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia. Unfortunately, after taking every obstacle, every pothole, and every dirt road with absolute ease, after surviving a car crashing into the Defender with more than 60 km/h with just a dent and also after being held by the military in the DRC (because of camping in the wrong spot), the car broke down hitting the smoothly tarred roads of Senegal. Our travels stopped close to Europe, after 2 and a half months in The Gambia, where we had to put the Defender into a container, shipping it to Hamburg.
The ESAC trainee program for 2015 came to my attention while procrastinating my bachelor's thesis on Twitter. Taking the traineeship meant to delay my master's studies by at least half a year, since going to Madrid wasn't considered in my study plan. Yet, one of my professors encouraged me to continue my studies outside of the campus as there was no compulsory attendance. I also already finished all of my exams, leaving me only with project works and my master's thesis.
As a trainee, I was part of the XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre, working on a collaborative software for researchers specialized in black holes and their Tidal Disruption Events.
The year working as a volunteer in the development aid sector in Uganda made me curious to experience work inside a company in one of the countries of the global south. The CEO of the JustON GmbH brought me into contact with Dr. Mitslal Kifleyesus-Matschie, the CEO of the Ethiopian food producing company Ecopia. The work in Addis Ababa was set during my 2 months summer semester vacation in 2012. The time in Ethiopia gave me another chance to reflect on the ground on development aid, being involved in workshops and meetings with NGOs and governmental institutions from Japan and Germany. The traineeship included tons of learning, helping to find local market spaces for selling Ecopias products, contract negotiations, and keeping the company's IT managed.
During my first four months, I helped to build a news blog and radio show in a village called Nkozi, with walking distance to the Equator. The small village was home to the Martyrs University of Uganda. I coordinated a working group of students collecting news from all around East Africa for presenting interesting content from the sectors of lifestyle and politics to a target audience of the ages 18 to 30.
Bringing the apprenticeship in IT to the table, it made sense to switch to a project in Fort Portal (western Uganda), where my skills were more required. Community Agribusiness Capacity Services (CABCS) was a corporate offering farmer a single point to sell their crops for a well-balanced market price. Customers of their services on the other hand didn't need to drive from farm to farm, wasting hours. Furthermore, CABCS also provided field workshops on business and organic farming. It was my job to build and maintain a database holding contact information of all of CABCS's 3500 farmers. I also helped with smaller tasks, taking photos and building the website for a vocational school in Mbale, Eastern Uganda, as well as helping out with some software issues at the Mountains of the Moon university close to Fort Portal.
Despite its high age, the fits file format is still the widest spread file format standard in astronomical data processing. The following work aims to give a basic understanding of the file format, its problems in the modern astronomical community, and more up to date alternatives.
The following article explains how a map, based on freely available geo-data, is interpreted, rendered, and displayed on a local system. The focus will lie on the usage of the tools PostGIS, OpenLayers, GeoServer, its Web Map Service, and GeoWebCache support, to boost the map performance.
I continued studying the Masters in Computer Science immediately after finishing my bachelor. Even though some of the modules were offered in English, I wanted to experience a more international environment. Because attendance in person wasn't required and all of my exams were already taken care of, I was able to complete my studies outside the university's campus.
My master thesis was a cooperation of the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, the Odessa National Polytechnic University, and the collect Artificial Intelligence GmbH. One center of the work was a data pipeline for data verification and enrichment with a machine learning model at its end. The purpose was to score debtors to find out how easy and to what extent it was possible to collect their debt. The other center was put on Data Ethics to research ethical mechanisms and processes for handling critical data.
Even though I couldn't keep the 1.0 grading from my bachelor's thesis, my work was awarded the best master's thesis of the year 2016/2017 by the "Verein zur Förderung der Angewandten Informatik der FH Erfurt e.V.".
The chance for studying in Ukraine arose after visiting the Odessa National Polytechnic University for two times for conferences. Shortly after arriving, I realized being able to read Cyrillic would improve the quality of my stay dramatically. Therefore, I enrolled in an intensive Russian language course at the university, learning the language for 8 hours every day for one month. During the rest of my stay, I was honored to study with some of the university's Ph.D. candidates. I also wrote on my Masters Thesis. Being a very beautiful city, Odessa also had a lot of lifestyles, cafés, and great people to offer, making the experience perfect.
My Bachelors Thesis was a cooperation with the chair for software engineering at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena. A research project on disaster control and the coordination of rescue workers and police was translated into a startup to put the outcomes to the market. My work focused on building a mesh network of devices to share information on a map (I also built) to be independent of any data network. My work was tested by police, fire workers, and rescue engineers during the major catastrophe test run before opening the Leipzig City Tunnel.
My interest in computers moved me to do an apprenticeship after finishing 10th grade. The focus was on electrical engineering, networks (I have two CCNA certificates), and getting basic programming experience in Assembler, Delphi, and C#. Ironically, the program created doubts in me whether a career in IT is the right decision. My focus shifted to media production, camera, and cut for some years.