„There’s never a dull moment!“

An interview with our Head of IT on System Administrator Appreciation Day

Today is „System Administrator Appreciation Day”. To mark the occasion, we interviewed OPTANO’s Head of IT, Dominik Vahle, about his job at OPTANO and why he enjoys working in IT so much.

Alisa: Dominik, first of all, thanks for taking the time to do this interview – and congratulations on “System Administrator Appreciation Day”.  Will you be celebrating it at all?

 Dominik: Thanks Alisa. Well, usually I’d bring cake into the office for the team. However, as most of us are working from home right now, I’ll leave it and try again next year.

Alisa: As Head of IT, you have one of the most responsible positions at OPTANO. You are our “fireman” who’s always there to put out the tech fires, and in general, things would ground to a standstill if you weren’t there. What exactly does your job at OPTANO involve?

Dominik: Basically, I’m responsible for all  the strategic and operative IT tasks: developing and maintaining the IT infrastructure at OPTANO, providing IT support to the various team projects, overseeing IT security – and also ensuring that colleagues are especially vigilant in this area as well! (grins) Then there’s monitoring and, of course, trouble-shooting….

“I’m happy to help no matter what the problem is.”

Alisa: Ah, yes – trouble-shooting. “Better ask Dominik!” is probably one of the most popular sentences at OPTANO, right?

Dominik: (laughs)Probably! But that’s ok. It’s part of my job to help colleagues when they have any technical problems. We’re not a big company so this means I have regular contact with all of the colleagues and I value that a lot. I’m usually at hand straight away and try to find pragmatic solutions as fast as possible. Whether it’s a layer 8 problem or a complicated matter, I’m always glad to help.

Alisa: A layer 8 problem? Do you want to tell us what that means?

A layer 8 problem is insider jargon in IT. The OSI model used to describe an architecture of data communications for networked computers has 7 layers, the seventh one being the application itself. Layer 8 is the “user” level. So, when we talk about a “layer 8” problem, then it’s a fault caused by the user and not the computer itself. It’s just a joke which isn’t to be taken seriously. Like I said, I’m happy to help no matter what the problem is.

We are hiring! Come and join our team!

Alisa: The large majority of the OPTANO team has been working from home since COVID-19 broke out. Does that make your job more difficult?

Dominik: No, not really. In fact, the transition from working in the office to working remotely was an incredibly smooth process. OPTANO had already taken a progressive stance in that respect, long before the pandemic made home office the norm. So basically everything was in place for the team to work from home. The problems that did occur were mainly external, such as poor wi-fi connections – so an internet provider problem, not an OPTANO one. Otherwise the pandemic hasn’t really changed the work that I do, but it has certainly changed how I do the work.

Alisa: To what extent has it changed?

Dominik:  As you already said, most of us have been working from home since April 2020. However, because there are some jobs that can only be done in the company, as Head of IT I have to go in regularly. I also have to go in and instruct new workers on data and technical issues on their first day and make sure they have the equipment they need. Sometimes I have to go into our data center to carry out maintenance work.

Initially it was strange being in the office alone. This and other changes in my work routine have had the biggest impact on my work day. There used to be meetings which were held regularly, now they are only held when necessary – and virtually,
of course. Lunch breaks are also virtual. I now solve problems remotely whereas before I would go straight to the colleagues’ offices.

“Working in a modern IT-company like OPTANO means, I can work from almost anywhere.”

On the whole I work far more flexibly than before and I like that, even though I actually prefer more a more focused way of work. OPTANO placed a lot of value on us working independently, even before the pandemic – now we are even more independent than ever and that’S a good thing. When we are all back in the office on a regular basis, I’ll probably opt for a hybrid way of work. That’s the advantage of working in a modern IT- company like OPTANO – I can work from almost anywhere.

Alisa: What else do you enjoy about your work at OPTANO?

Dominik: As I mentioned before, I really appreciate the fact that I can work independently, that I have a lot of leeway to make my own decisions, which are accepted by the team and management. That also shows that everybody has confidence in my work. I have so many different tasks – there’s never a dull moment.

” I have a lot of leeway to make my own decisions.”

Finally, the atmosphere in the OPTANO team is great. It’s a small company – it’s growing, yes, but not too fast. Even now, while we’re all working from home, we still manage to network really well. Of course I miss the lunches with the others, but the virtual lunch breaks are definitely a great substitute as well as the virtual events we have in the evenings sometimes – games nights and so on.

Alisa: Even though you have so many varied tasks, are there any long-term projects you are currently working on?

Dominik: At the moment I’m involved in upgrading our project management system. That’s going to be a large project but right now we are still at the definition phase. Another long-term strategic project is the expansion of our cloud sector. Several of our systems do run on the Cloud but we want to intensify the use of Cloud technology in future projects and systems.

And while we’re on the subject …. This is also the reason why we urgently want to hire an IT-Manager/Cloud Administrator who can support us in implementing our services and products in the Cloud. Even if you have little to no Cloud experience, it doesn’t matter. We’re happy to support and train anybody who is motivated and wants to grasp this opportunity we’re offering.

We ar hiring in IT! Come and join our team!

Alisa: What other experience does a potential candidate need to work as an IT-Manager and Cloud Administrator at OPTANO?

 Dominik: IT-affinity is definitely important but if you don’t have experience in this or that program or system, that’s ok – we can provide on-the-job training. We know that the IT sector has so many different areas of expertise and therefore it’s difficult to find somebody who can do everything. Above all, we’re looking for somebody who can think analytically and is perceptive. Somebody who can view the problem from different angles and who particularly enjoys coming up with solutions – being a part of the solution, in fact!
By the way, can I also mention that we’d love to hear from students who would be interested in assisting us in IT. We offer great benefits for students and they can learn a lot from us. There’s even the possibility of writing a bachelor or master thesis with us.

Alisa: Well, it seems like there really isn’t a dull moment in IT – and the jobs you mention sound quite appealing.

They are, yes! And they offer exciting opportunities. OPTANO is a great place to work. I love my job here and look forward to expanding the IT department.

Alisa: Dominik, on System Administrator Appreciation Day, let me say on behalf of the team that we are very glad to have you here at OPTANO – and I hope we can welcome some new colleagues to the IT department soon.

Domnik: Thanks Alisa. It was a pleasure to talk to you.

Have we grabbed your attention?

Do you have what it takes to assist Dominik in his work and support the entire OPTANO team? We offer exciting tasks in a great team. If you have a creative mind, are a hands-on person and demonstrate initiative, then we would love to hear from you! Apply to be an IT-manager/Cloud Administrator or a student worker in our IT department. You’ll find all the details on the vacancies and on how to apply on our Careers page.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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