Osama Raddad, NAVICO Software Developer
Hi Osama! How long have you been with Navico, and what’s your experience so far?
I was born and raised in Jordan; I got my Software Engineering degree in 2015 from Zarqa University; since then, I have been working on android development in various sectors from social media applications to android automotive, and at the same time, I was an active member of the Jordanian Open Source Association and also Mozilla official representative I organized and participated in various events, boot camps, hackathons, I have several open-source libraries that are used by hundreds of developers.
My journey with Navico started three months ago. So far I have had an excellent experience with Navico; I see that working with Navico allows you to be more creative and gives you more room to experiment and explore new technologies, which will definitely give us an edge in the market.
What’s it like working with the team in Gothenburg, and what projects are you currently working on?
Starting with Gothenburg, it’s a lovely city on the west coast of Sweden, with a ‘lagom’ – Swedish term for ‘just the right amount – population (around 600,000), which means it is not a very crowded city and at the same time it is not a very small city. Gothenburg is a very diverse city where you can find almost every nationality on this planet living there with fantastic harmony. It has a lot of green areas with wide-open spaces and magical archipelago islands.
Working in the Gothenburg office feels like working with your family; everyone is easy to talk to, helpful, and respectful; we do a lot of social activities together like Fika, brain-drain, badminton, karaoke, and LAN-gaming. I am currently improving the UX of some parts of the onboarding application.
How are you finding working as part of a global R&D Team from one of its key hubs in Gothenburg?
It is a lot of fun. We have very interesting projects to work on. The people from the other R&D hubs are very engaged with us, which is brilliant.
How did you get into the software world, and what advice would you give someone looking to break into it?
I got into software development when I was in school. I had a course in C, and I wrote my first program, and when I executed it and saw it running, it literally blew my mind at that moment. I realized that this is what I want to do.
Software development is not complicated; it is a discipline that is dense in information, which means that you need a lot of patience to learn it, and you need to know how to properly set your expectations.
What energizes you outside of work?
My kids and my wife, my friends, traveling, photography, reading about philosophy and history.
What advice would you give to your teenage self?
I would say be yourself.
What did you want to be when you grew up when you were a kid?
An airplane pilot to travel around the world.
Finally, if you could take a boat anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would like to visit all the capitals around the Mediterranean.
How long have you been at Navico for and what are your experiences so far?
I have been at Navico for five months and I’ve had a great time so far!
What kind of projects are you involved with?
Today I’m involved with the development of a vessel dynamics simulator, which uses a 3D engine and environmental simulation to provide a realistic test platform. I’m also involved with the development of software for our next generation of MFDs.
What makes Navico and the R&D team a great place to work?
Navico has a great team and atmosphere! The Auckland office is dominated by R&D, but there is product, support and sales and a ton of passion for boating, fishing and sailing.
How important is R&D to Navico’s industry (i.e. – the world of marine electronics)?
Navico’s market is specialized, small, high end and has stiff competition (there are four major players and many smaller suppliers). You need a competitive edge and high quality to make sales, and without R&D you will quickly lose that edge and quality.
In addition, the marine environment is rough on electronics – devices bake outdoors in the tropics, live in bilges and have to deal with salt and oil. That requires significant investment in development, testing and people.
You operate in a very specific field – i.e. – autopilots. How did you end up specialising in this area?
I studied electronics and computer systems, and then a Masters that focused on signal processing. After that I worked on projects designing robotics / control systems with a number of companies. Marine autopilots are an interesting mix of electronics, control theory and software. Other members of the team come from electronics engineering, pure mathematics, and more recently machine learning backgrounds.
Finally, what advice would you provide to someone that is aspiring towards a career in R&D?
You have to understand your product customers and market to a greater degree than other roles in engineering. Try branching out into design, marketing UX for example.