Tiago - Software Engineer (Portuguese)

“I feel lucky to work in this scientific environment where I’m free to make my own decisions. At the ESRF I can choose my own priorities based on the project I’m working on.”
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“I provide support to the beamlines including developing software which helps the scientists control their experiments remotely. My activity ranges from patching problems during operation to thinking about new projects like how to control a new instrument or device, or how to build a new control system.

I enjoy working with so many different people. First I’m talking to a scientist who explains a need, for example, faster data acquisition to protect their sample, then I’m talking about bits and bytes with the software people, then about mechanical stress with the mechatronics people, then to the electronics people about cabling protocols and conventions. I get to see the whole picture from conception to the end use on the experiment.

As a software engineer at the ESRF, I enjoy that processes are more relaxed compared to working for a software company. Here, a lot of the things we are doing have never been done before. We have to be more flexible. We have to think a lot about what we are doing because it’s all completely new. There’s a lot of prototyping and a lot of trial and error, it’s extremely stimulating.

I studied physics for one year in Lisbon, Portugal, before turning to an engineering degree in computer science. After graduating, I worked in Portugal for 2 years. One day while surfing the web for an answer to a physics question, I came across the Alba synchrotron and saw they were recruiting. 1 month later I was working in Barcelona! I spent 8 years there and love the synchrotron environment. When I had the opportunity to join the ESRF in 2013, I immediately jumped on it!”