Engineering Culture

Why Axis keeps me engaged after eleven years


Post by: Joakim Roubert

I’ve been working at Axis for over eleven years now, in the same department, with the same manager, and in many cases, the same colleagues. Am I not bored? you might wonder. Isn’t it time for something new?

Well, that’s one of the perks of working in R&D: you’re always dealing with new things, so there’s no time for mental cobwebs to form in your head. Another advantage for me is that I always have plenty to do, but rarely (if ever) face the kind of deadlines that force me to put in 80-hour workweeks. On the contrary, every week is a standard 40-hour week with a constant pile of work to take care of. Easy to plan and sustain over time!

The road to Axis

I had my eyes on Axis as a student at LTH (Faculty of Engineering, Lund University) around the turn of the millennium. Axis seemed like a nice company that was working with interesting technology. After graduating in late 2002, during the less-than-fantastic economy after the burst of the crazy millennial IT bubble (and at a time when Axis, like many other companies, was facing difficulties and was not very interested in hiring newly graduated individuals like myself), I went into the telecom business where I worked for both small and big players. When the next economic downturn hit in 2008, friends and acquaintances would occasionally ask me if my struggling telecom employer was looking to hire new engineers. That indeed not being the case, I instead recommended Axis as a company I had a good impression of and an employer I would consider myself were I to find a new job. Several of them followed my advice, and later they would call me back saying, “Thanks for the great advice! I got the job, and I really enjoy working here!”

After spending nine years in the declining telecom business, I concluded that perhaps it was time for me to follow my own recommendation and apply for a position at Axis. After all, I reasoned, more than one person who had taken my advice were very happy with the outcome so probably I’d be too if Axis would have me. A few months later, I was hired as a Core Technologies Systems engineer, and that’s the position I still hold today.

The environment and culture: Why Axis stands out

The positive things I had heard about the company culture at Axis turned out to be true: this is a company that genuinely cares about its employees, not just as a media façade. A positive company culture is important. Axis understands that if employees are happy, we work better, and if we thrive, we will contribute to the company’s long-term success. And Axis is without doubt a company in it for the long run. I like that. Additionally, I genuinely like every single one of the 15 colleagues in my department, which is not something you can expect in any job. It certainly makes every workday better.

Moreover, Axis provides fantastic offices that contribute to the overall positive experience. They are not only aesthetically pleasing but also highly practical, providing all the necessary elements for me to successfully carry out my work. When my brother, who works at an American tech company in Zürich, and two of his friends, that work in Swiss banking, visited me at work, they were amazed by our fantastic offices. Unlike cramped spaces elsewhere, most of us have our own peaceful offices at Axis, fostering productivity and satisfaction. A few years ago, I spoke to the person responsible for our offices (he’s retired now) and expressed my appreciation for our working environment. He replied, “Well, we just observe how you work and identify your needs, and then we take it from there”. I am more than satisfied with the outcome of that mindset.

The thrill of the work: Navigating the cloud

Apart from these soft values and the work environment, let’s talk about the work we do. Since before I joined, my department has been involved in technologies we now know as “the cloud”, distributed software, and software-oriented architecture. This has become even more interesting since the inception of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in 2015. For me, a standalone computer was never intriguing, but when different computers are connected, it sparks my interest for some reason. It has been that way since my junior high days when I started exploring computers (with modems, BBSs, FidoNet, and all those things that me—and all the other dinosaurs who are now being sold as diesel at your local gas station—used to do back then). So, working at a networking company that deals with technologies connecting thousands of devices is indeed right up my alley!

Integration is another aspect that fascinates me: how a device can interact with various systems and be used in unexpected scenarios. With Axis devices being small, friendly Linux® boxes, it often takes only a thin layer of additional software to integrate them properly in domains where neither our own nor our competitors’ products have ever been before. We experiment, investigate, provide feedback to the organization, our customers, and partners, and shift the discussion from “We don’t know, can this even be done?” to “We know this is technically possible, so let’s talk about what we want to do with it and where we want to go.” That’s exactly where I want the discussion to be.

Every time we get the chance to step out into the real world and meet customers and partners at their sites, we seize the opportunity and always learn a great deal. There’s only so much one can conjure up behind a desk in an office, and reality always surpasses imagination! Most of the time, we find that technology isn’t the problem; on the contrary, there are often multiple solutions available, and the task is to identify the best choice for the customer and the use cases.

Is everything all sunshine and rainbows at Axis, then? You might get the impression that there’s a hidden story here that I’m not sharing. Well, like any other company, Axis certainly has its fair share of corporate politics and similar things that I’m not particularly fond of. Perhaps slightly less than other companies, but it would be naive to think you wouldn’t find that at all at Axis (or at any other employer, for that matter).

In summary

A fantastic working environment, great colleagues, and engaging tasks that never remain the same although they follow the same common thread. That is why you still find me at Axis after eleven years and the reason I tell recruiters I have no intention to find another employer. On the contrary, I’m looking forward to keeping up the good work and hope Axis continues to be an inspiring workplace for—at least—another eleven years.

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