People and Culture

Nurturing talent, driving innovation: A ten-year journey at Zühlke

What do 10 years of career development at Zühlke look like? Keep reading to find out.

Learn how Robert Sorschag and Andrija Ljubojevic built career paths from coding to senior leadership.

Discover their advice for new engineers joining the company.

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5 minutes to read
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What does a decade of career development look like at Zühlke? Robert Sorschag and Andrija Ljubojevic are each celebrating their 10-year anniversaries, and we caught up with them to follow their journey from Junior Software Engineer to Practice Lead.

A decade anywhere, even in a dream job, is long. So, how have the two of them used their time at Zühlke to carve out a space for themselves? In this blog, we ask the senior leadership team members in our Austria office to look back on their journey with us.

Meet Robert and Andrija

Robert Sorschag is the Head of Devices. When he joined Zühlke in 2012 as a Junior Software Engineer, he was the eighth addition to the Vienna office. “There were a lot of structures that still needed to be built, and that was exactly what I was looking for – a close-knit team and the opportunity to get in on the ground floor and do hands-on work,” Robert said.

The same year, the Head of Software Excellence Andrija Ljubojevic moved to Austria from Serbia for a different role. “I had an opportunity that fell through but decided to stay in the country and take an intensive language course to learn German. Two weeks later, I applied for a Software Engineer position at Zühlke. My German was dreadful, but the very fact that I dared to try to speak German in my interview – alongside my technical knowledge – was enough for Nikolaus (Zühlke’s CEO of Engineering in Austria) to give me a shot.”

The determination to do the best work has taken both engineers far in their respective careers. Robert has seen the office grow from eight people to over a hundred employees, working his way up to Senior Software Engineer, Project Manager, and then Engagement Manager in Systems and Embedded Development. Similarly, Andrija progressed through six different roles in 10 years – from Junior Software Engineer to Lead Software Architect and Head of Competence Unit among others.

Despite their different backgrounds and specialities, both credit one thing to their rapid career growth: empowering autonomy.

Autonomy is the oxygen of innovation

Zühlke is built on giving smart people the freedom to find the best solutions for the task at hand – whether that’s solving challenges for clients or growing the business. It’s liberating, but it takes bravery too. It works best when people bring imagination, curiosity, and a willingness to explore possibilities to work – sometimes by striking out alone.

So, to prepare for the increasing complexity and responsibility in their roles, Robert and Andrija turned to Zühlke Academy and other coaching opportunities. With that support, Robert spearheaded an initiative to diversify the Industrial Consumer Products market unit in Austria by building a customer base made up of several larger $1m+ clients. “Having autonomy meant that as soon as I saw an opportunity to build a smart connected product/IoT offering for the Austrian market, I was given the authority to go out and build and develop the team that could deliver it,” Robert said.

Andrija’s career expanded during a project in Hannover. “Working within a team of 12 experts spread across 8 locations for 18 months was a career changer for me. It inspired me to push my horizon upwards, learn from our experts, and gave me a taste of what great leadership looks like”, he said. During the 18-month project, Andrija learned how to handle customers and develop a team. He came back with a new internal goal: to pass on that knowledge to the people around him.

Growing into leaders

Today, Robert and Andrija are at the forefront of large, instrumental teams at Zühlke. Robert’s focus now is to take the company’s Devices practice to the next level. “As Practice Lead, I’m working on trying to make myself replaceable. If I’m replaceable, then I know our practice is set up to run smoothly,” Robert said.

Andrija started an initiative called "code monkey evolution" to bring a mindset shift from simply being a technical resource to adding value to customers. This was the first step towards leading a Practice of more than 40 engineers with the goal of building capabilities for the world of tomorrow and leveraging existing experience to support customers on their journey through a digital transformation towards innovation. His current goal is to strengthen the interdisciplinary approach to software engineering, where software architecture, development, automation and quality assurance are inseparable to deliver a great customer experience.

With a clear track record of excellence, both leaders at Zühlke have a lot of wisdom to share. We asked them what words of encouragement they had for engineers eager to grow in their careers. Here’s what they had to say:

“Think about what you really like doing. We’re not a company that’s going to shoehorn you into a role. We win when you’re motivated to do your best work, so think about your secondary skills, your passion, what drives you, and what you’re trying to develop because they could become the pillars of our market positioning,” Andrija said.

Robert shared a similar sentiment: "At Zühlke, you’re allowed to grow in multiple directions. No one will ever ask you to stay in your lane. Just make sure you push yourself outside your comfort zone because people like Andrija and me will always be happy to support you. And we’re not the only ones.”

Want to join an ambitious team of engineers at Zühlke?