Anexia is a company, that was founded ten years ago and was able to grow rapidly over the last years. We are providing IT services and individual software for over 10,000 customers worldwide. We offer virtual server infrastructure in 70 countries. This is possible due to our nine offices in all over Europe and the USA – and the best employees on the planet <3.
One of our wonderful smart cookies is Stephan Peijnik. His heart is on fire for IT and he is Anexia’s Head of Research and Development, as which he’s working on and trying out new technologies all day long.
Finding such clever minds isn’t always easy. Degrees and cram-full CVs are often not very meaningful. A passionate approach is what’s important. And there aren’t any measuring devices or certificates for that. But let’s stop moaning, because after all there are success stories to tell like Stephan’s. Stephan started his career at Anexia with an internship and soon we realized that our hearts are beating in the same rhythm.
We want to share Stephan’s story here in regards to JOIN OUR REVOLUTION.
Dear Stephan, could you please introduce yourself? What do you do at Anexia?
I am a dedicated IT aficionado; I started tinkering with computers at a young age. After finishing a technical college (HTBLVA Villach), I began studying computer science at the Technical University Graz. In 2010, I started working at Anexia never stopped. Currently I am responsible for research and development which is also my job title: Head of Research and Development.
And what does this involve in detail?
Whenever Alex (Managing Director Alexander Windbichler, editor’s note) has a flash of genius I am the one who makes it happen and turn ideas into code. (laughs). Also when colleagues have an idea that could benefit either customers or us, its my departments turn to implement it. Sometimes it is also just a matter of simplifying workflows.
That means you are Anexia’s Gyro Gearloose?
I suppose you could put it that way. I am responsible for all steps of in my projects: from brainstorming over implementation all the way to product maturity. Behind the scenes I am also working on the Anexia Engine (the new backend system for customers, editor’s note), where I often create enabling technologies for individual components.
How many people are on your team and where are you located?
Since January 1, 2016, my team is based in Graz, and currently consists of two people. Our daily work is closely tied in with Anexia’s other departments, especially with our system administrators. Sometimes their needs nearly make it necessary to reinvent the wheel (laughs).We also work hand in hand with the software development department, with whom we engineer sophisticated technical solutions for individual customers. One could say, at Anexia we often work together across department boundaries.
Let’s talk briefly about yourself again: What got you interested in your profession in the first place; have you always wanted to become Head of Research and Development?
To be honest, I must say it was not a clearl idea and I certainly did not write it as career wish to my friends in the friendship book (laughs). It just somehow happened this way. I have always enjoyed trying new things and I like living on the bleeding edge. I first started tinkering with a PC (still a 486 model back then) when I was just 7 years old. At age 11 I began programming, then still quite simple games. My educational choice seemed only natural in that sense, so I attended a technical college for networking technology in Villach and then studied computer science in Graz. While still at university I landed an internship at Anexia – and that is how it all started.
From Intern to Head of Research and Development
That means your internship turned into a full-time job? Was there so much to do?
That is right: there actually was a lot to do at Anexia back then. So, I gradually took on more hours over the years until I ended up with a full-time job. During that time I finished my bachelor’s degree, which might have taken longer because of my passion for working at Anexia and even kept me from pursuing a master’s degree.
What do you like about your job and what motivates you at work?
First of all, it is great that I was able to experience and influence, to some extend, the development from a small company to a large business over the past years. Of course, there are constant challenges in my area of responsibility. I regularly have to deal with new technical issues and come up with suitable solutions. This requires being up to date with the latest developments in my field. The biggest challenge is working with young, not yet well-known technologies and creating something new with them, aiming at perfection. Furthermore, sometimes problems emerge which require solutions nearly as complex as rocket science.
What does your daily work routine look like?
Every day is different; there is no daily routine (laughs). But if you are referring to the process of product development: first someone has an idea, which is then internally evaluated for viability. We then start planning and afterwards the implementation phase begins. This includes writing code, consulting with other departments, documentating and so on. Ideally we would finish one project before beginning the next. In reality however, we work on several projects in parallel, depending on the urgency and size of the projects.
Can you give me an example of such a project?
We recently needed an additional sensor for our internal monitoring system in order to monitor a server’s performance. Projects like that, are always handled alike: After getting a request from our system administrator team, we come up with and discuss possible solutions, decide on one and go straight to the implementation phase. In the case mentioned earlier, we had the resources to have the system in operation half a day later.
What do you do when you are not focused on IT?
Technology is always on my mind (laughs). Besides working in this field I also participate in various IT meetups, such as the “Security Treff Graz”. Of course not everything I do is connected to somputers. I like riding my Vespa and occasionally I go climbing or bouldering, but I haven’t done that for some time now. At times I just like to be a couch potato and spend an evening watching television.
If somebody wants to do something like you do, what sort of training do they need?
The essential things are interest in the matter and self-motivation. For me, my job is a game, where the goal is to understand things, but that has nothing to do with computer games (grins). If, like me, someone likes to solve problems IT might offer the right job for them. You do not necessarily need a degree for this, but it gives you the theoretical foundations, which are also helpful in practice. The best decision for me still was going to a technical college. Everything else depends on one’s personal interest and joy. For me it is important that work is enjoyable, which is not a big deal in my case: my job is my calling (laughs).
For me, my job is a game, where the geal is to understand things.
You already mentioned earlier that you always like to be involved when it comes to new things. How do you always manage to stay up to date?
For me it isn’t difficult, as I am someone who gets excited easily about new inventions. I am clearly an early adopter, especially in my priavte life. When there is something new, I need it (laughs). Professionally this true to some extend, because new technologies tend to be immature and do not always replace old ones richt away.
What exactly do you mean by immature? Shouldn’t companies always use the latest software or the latest technology?
This is a tricky question. Of course it is important to keep an eye open for upcoming technologies, get to know them to be able to subsequently expand and enhance the existing infrastructure and incorporate those new technologies. That’s what we do for our customers at Anexia – upgrade steadily whilst keeping services stable and reliable at all times.
So, would you say training is absolutely essential in your job?
Yes, totally. That is why I am always braodening my skills, because the IT environment is constantly underdoing changes. The worst thing one could do is to completely ignore new technologies. As absurd a development may seem, you have to at least take a closer look before you can decide for or against it.
Do you think there are topics that get too little public attention
Yes, for me IT security and encryption are absolutely essential topics. The current discussions about banning encryption should be seen critically. After all, the statement “I have nothing to hide” may sound nice, but I do not think we would want our most personal information out in public. Therefore, IT security must be handled more carefully. Data collection by itself is not the issue, but unauthorized third parties accessing this data is problematic without doubt. After all they might have bad intentions or might use our personal data for completely unwanted purposes. For example: What if you were looking for a job and had chronic back problems which require ongoing treatment. If your future employer knew about it, how high would the chances of landing the job be?
We call upon you: Join our Revolution. Tell us about your future-looking visions or your successful experiences in Carinthia, or anywhere else around the globe. Talk about the good things, not about the bad ones. Check our vacancies and become part of the Anexia family: Join us on an open and brave walk towards the future.