15. July 2020
“Wow! I have a cool job!” – Interview with DECTRIS apprentice Shpejtim Tifeku
A 5-minute read
Like any other company, DECTRIS relies on the young talents who are out there; this is why the company dedicates many resources to the development of youth skills. Be it in the fields of informatics, mechanics, or electronics engineering, DECTRIS’ apprenticeship program is designed to support young specialists in their training by offering them an opportunity to build relevant competencies that will facilitate their transition to the work environment. On World Youth Skills Day, we interviewed one of the apprentices on our development team, Shpejtim Tifeku, who has just completed his Federal Diploma of Proficiency (EFZ in German) as an electronics technician. Shpejtim has been in the program for four years now and is about to join DECTRIS as a full-time employee for one year before going back to school to get his certification as an electronics engineer.
Shpejtim and his final project for the Federal Diploma of Proficiency, infrared camera.
Why did you choose DECTRIS for your apprenticeship?
Shpejtim Tifeku: Initially, I planned to enter the Baden cantonal school. However, I first needed a diploma from a district training school (Bezirkschule – a type of school in the canton of Aargau in Switzerland), which I attended. There, we had different lessons on how to search for a job, as well as different opportunities for an apprenticeship. This hands-on education just caught my interest, and I decided to give it a try. I have always been fascinated by electronics and the way they work, so I participated in different trial apprenticeships, which were offered by several companies in the field. One of these companies was DECTRIS. These trials showed me that such an apprenticeship would have something for me, so I applied to the program at DECTRIS.
How did you combine the apprenticeship with your schooling?
Shpejtim: My apprenticeship started with off-the-job training courses at the learning center in Daettwil, where I learned some basics such as wire soldering, crimping, and signal measuring – all I needed to know about electronics and their components before executing real tasks on the job. After the courses, the more practical part of the apprenticeship began: I would spend three days per week at DECTRIS working and the other two days at school getting my EFZ and Matura. It was very intense, but it was probably the best learning experience I could wish for.
What tasks do you typically perform on the job?
Shpejtim: In the second half of my apprenticeship, it was more “learning by doing”. We were less focused on theoretical parts, but if I had any questions, I was always given a full and clear explanation that I could apply right away. I started with some simpler tasks, such as cable production. I now know almost all the cable types used at DECTRIS and can replicate them. Later on, I started to solder components on the circuit boards and repair them. Now, I design circuit boards on request in the ALTIUM Designer tool. That is a more challenging task because I have to think about the board’s components and their position and interaction, but I enjoy it a lot. In addition, I do programming in C or C++. This is not a very common task for me, but I would like to deepen this knowledge in the future.
You have been working with our development team on electronics design. What skills (both technical and soft) did you acquire during your time at DECTRIS?
Shpejtim: When I started this apprenticeship, I was a newcomer to the field, but now I have the whole portfolio of technical skills. Starting from zero was a little bit scary; however, the speed at which I picked up these technical skills and the satisfaction of doing things with my hands were very motivating. After I learned soldering, I would go home and apply my knowledge there, fixing electronic devices for my family. That gave me a fantastic feeling. Today, I am working more and more with the programming languages, and I cannot wait to expand my knowledge and do even more. Besides that, being in an actual company allowed me to learn a lot about the work environment: in particular, teamwork and time management.
What highlights did you have during your apprenticeship?
Shpejtim: I had many highlights during these past four years. Some of them are about the school and my friends there; others are about the projects I have done. I think one of the projects that I am most proud of was for my diploma: an infrared camera that reads the temperature of a person’s body and displays it on an LCD screen. Designing this camera from scratch was a good test of my abilities. I also enjoyed my tasks at DECTRIS; for example, I was given an assignment to find a way to communicate with the humidity and temperature sensor of one of our circuit boards. I liked this project because it involved a lot of programming. I also enjoyed working on a little cart for watering the plants. I made electronics for it and the water pump, and even worked on some mechanical aspects of it.
What are you looking forward to in your first official job at DECTRIS?
Shpejtim: All I want is to be successful at it and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed my apprenticeship. I want to be helpful, be a better teammate, and keep on learning. I am also looking forward to my own projects. Those will help me learn more about project management and become more and more independent in what I do.
You are planning to go back to school to become an electronics engineer. What excites you about this career?
Shpejtim: Electronics engineering is the perfect combination of manual and mental labor. At DECTRIS, I got tasks and assignments that would constantly make me think, “Wow! I have a cool job!” I enjoy planning and executing my projects myself. In addition, I think this field offers many career opportunities. Nowadays, electronics are omnipresent, and the industry needs skillful people to create them. The world of electronics is captivating. As for my own goals, I am most interested in autonomous systems and hope one day to be able to design and build one.
As a young and now certified specialist, do you have advice regarding skills that young people should strive for in order to be successful on the job?
Shpejtim: I think everything begins with faith in oneself and dedication to a goal. This goal-oriented approach is probably one of the most important skills we need to impart in our schools and in apprenticeship programs. It helps students structure their studies, their work, their workouts, or any other activities and brings them closer to success.