“I’m fascinated by the challenge of creating innovative solutions out of nothing”
Software architects are the driving force behind every IT project. You just have to let them do their thing. Kajetan Fritz is a good example. He found ideal conditions at Bosch: room for creativity, innovative projects that deliver real value to clients, great teamwork, and a company that is world-class in terms of IoT and digitalization.
All of the threads come together in Kajetan Fritz. He keeps everything in view, assigns tasks, spots potential obstacles along the way, accelerates or slows the pace as appropriate, and also rolls up his sleeves to help with the hands-on programming work when required. Fritz is part of a software team at Bosch Energy and Building Solutions, where his role resembles that of an architect in housing construction: “Like building projects, various trades are involved in programming. There’s a database specialist, while someone else concentrates on programming servers and a third person focuses on Web applications. The software architect’s job is to hold everything together.” His responsibilities range from planning and design, across the equipment used, all the way to budgeting and making sure that the legal requirements in connection with using the software are met.
Software architects are sometimes specialists and other times all-rounders
Fritz and his team are booked for projects that call for cloud solutions or database management systems, among other things. His definition of a successful project is when the solution works technically without a hitch and, above all, the client is happy. Achieving this calls for a blend of technical savvy, experience, and a knack for communicating. “You may have a perfect solution in your head, but it’s worthless unless you can share it with others. I need to give clear instructions to my team’s members and understandably explain the abstract complexities to the customer.”
After joining Bosch, Fritz quickly grew into the role of software architect. Actually, there is no universally valid definition of what this job entails. “There’s a strong trend toward specialization and it’s getting harder and harder to be a generalist. I’ve spent over 20 years focusing on Microsoft applications and am intimately familiar with them. So I can lend a hand whenever my team needs support,” says Fritz. He’s closely involved in the innovative work that his team of developers does day in and day out to ensure that apps, website features, and databases run smoothly.
Fritz joined Bosch Energy and Building Solutions in Grasbrunn back in 2017. He wanted to join an innovative company, and Bosch fit the bill perfectly. “Not many software developers and architects currently have Bosch on their radar as an IoT company. To tell the truth, I was also surprised to learn how much Bosch has to offer in this field and how many software experts are working on really innovative solutions across the Bosch Group worldwide. The interviews I was invited to during the recruiting process opened my mind. There was honest, frank communication without any empty promises. And they’ve come through on everything that we discussed.” Fritz is also enthusiastic about working on projects that deliver greater safety and safeguard the climate. “State-of-the-art solutions play a major role, and I really enjoy contributing to them.”
The flat hierarchy at Bosch also appealed to Fritz: “As a designer, I value working in an open, modern corporate culture. Hierarchical thinking is much too restrictive. There’s also excellent teamwork among the departments here. I’m not a one-man show! Such fast progress is being made across the board that it’s vital for all of us to pull on one rope. Whenever we get word on a new programming project, we hold a meeting with all of the involved colleagues to discuss the requirements, ideas, and possible designs.” At the end of the day, what counts is delivering benefits to the customers.
From apps that support technicians to solutions for greater security
Other business units of Bosch Energy and Building Solutions call on the team led by Kajetan Fritz when there’s a need to program individual interfaces for Bosch solutions, but also for long-term software projects. These can be for improving fire safety at airports or in tunnels, to cite two past examples. The portfolio also includes apps that, for example, support field technicians working on site at customers. It’s impossible to overlook how much pleasure Fritz derives from creating applications that make it easier for technicians to install and service fire and intrusion alarm systems equipment or video cameras, install updates, or resolve problems. “The app runs on their smart phones so they have all the data they need for a job at their fingertips. That saves time, and time is the most precious resource considering the current shortage of qualified technicians.”
Fritz expertly and efficiently develops solutions, and then closely collaborates with the users to test them and ensure proper application of the UX design process. “The pilot phase generates insights, and everyone involved knows that each new system has been working properly for months before it’s rolled out. This gives them confidence in it.”
Staying in the picture with trend scouting and networking
Nothing stands still in IT. “This is a key aspect of our jobs. We have to stay on the ball and continue learning. Those who stagnate run the risk of being left behind. If you’re motivated to continue learning and developing, it’s a gift – after all, we get paid for doing what we would do in our private lives anyway.” This statement definitely applies to Kajetan Fritz. While at work, he also takes time to monitor the software scene and check whether new developments might be interesting by programming and testing interfaces himself. The planned launch of a global network of Bosch software architects also has good prospects of expanding their expertise.
Fritz began programming simple graphics in the command prompt of his MS-DOS computer at the age of 13. That led him to games and ultimately to serious programming. “I was already hooked back then, and my career path was mapped out for me,” he says with a grin. He trained as an IT specialist and then worked as a network and system administrator while majoring in informatics at the university.
His enthusiasm for his job is contagious. It also extends to his private life: a hobby surfer, he’s fascinated by an application that a fellow aficionado developed using publicly available data. The stationary wave on the Eisbach River at the edge of Munich’s English Garden is a popular surfing venue. The app combines information on the air and water temperature, water level, and wave pressure and understandably presents the results to fellow surfers. “It could be improved further by also capturing how many people are in the water,” he jokes. Fortunately, his employer gives him quite a bit of flexibility for planning his working hours. So the father of three daughters is frequently able to grab his board and head for “the Wave.” “Surfing totally frees your mind,” he says. “If you don’t concentrate on the wave, you fall into the water.”
On the theme of supporting young talent, Fritz is convinced that programming is also for girls. He’s already thinking about ways to playfully introduce his daughters to it.