New Director Development at BYTEC


Since November 2020 André Coenen, the eldest son of our CEO, has been working as a developer at BYTEC. On 15.02.23 he took over the management of the development department. André studied electrical engineering, has a great passion for technology and brings a lot of enthusiasm for his new tasks.

André Coenen has known BYTEC for as long as he can remember and told us how his department works and why he wouldn't trade this particular job for anything else.

**Please introduce yourself briefly.
My name is André Coenen and I recently became the head of development at BYTEC. Previously, I was a hardware developer and then a team leader responsible for internal process optimization. In this context, I also helped to build up our design department.

Since when have you been working at BYTEC / How did you come to BYTEC?
Basically, I grew up and into BYTEC because it's our family business. Some of the colleagues who have been working here for a long time still know me from a time when I was quite a bit smaller. Even during my studies, I helped out here and there, whether in production or here in development. So I was almost everywhere before I really started working. Nevertheless, my plan was not to start working here right after graduation. I also wanted to gain experience elsewhere; I loved my industrial internship at Abiomed, for example. I would have liked to work for a year in Canada or something like that, but Corona, like so many others, threw a spanner in the works. It was a happy coincidence that we were urgently looking for a replacement in our hardware development department. I stepped in - and stayed.

**So this has always been your dream job?
Actually, I wanted to become a patent attorney. That's why I started studying electrical engineering in Aachen. The more I looked into it, the sooner I realized that it wasn't my calling - writing long texts isn't one of my strengths. But I've always liked the technology aspect, and fortunately my studies were the right choice. As time went by, it became more and more apparent that I prefer to think and tinker around corners and ... yes, develop, so at some point hardware development was the obvious choice. In this respect, it was also a great advantage for me personally to have worked in other departments before. It showed me what is not quite my world (working very much according to a pattern, for example. It's incredibly important in our production, but I would have gone crazy there in the long run) and what suits me better. I burn for development, I need challenges. Accordingly, this may not always have been my dream job, but right now I could hardly imagine anything better.

Tell us something about the development department.
We are around 25 employees and often work in smaller teams on our various projects. The exciting thing is that these teams are made up of different professions, all of which give their input from different sides and are therefore important. On the one hand, there is the hardware, the software, construction and technicians, and on the other hand, colleagues for documentary support. We come together in different ways on each new project, and these changing dynamics are also what make the work so appealing to me. Because there are basically no standard tasks. So phased thought of course there is, we have the first contact with the customer that our NBDA makes for us, develop the first rough ideas based on the customer's ideas and wishes. Then there are first functional samples and a prototype, with which we can then ideally hand over the work to production. But despite these steps, every project is different. Sure, you actually always make one board, but that board looks different each time, has to meet different specifications, etc. That makes it challenging. It's also my job as head of development to coordinate all these points, identify the problems and counteract them if necessary. There is little that is really mundane, which I personally like.

How does the work as a team work?
Since we work on a project-by-project basis and these projects can last for different lengths of time, there are always colleagues with whom you sometimes have more to do than with others. Sometimes you sit with the same colleagues for half a year, then you get into similar or even completely new constellations. The big advantage of this is that we get used to each other, get to know different perspectives, but also always get fresh input. You can think of it as cogwheels that mesh together. That's ingenious. And because some colleagues work on two projects at the same time, you still get to hear a lot from the others. That's why I see our entire department as an overarching team and not just in terms of the individual projects. With more than 20 people, it's not always easy to keep track of everything, especially at the beginning. That's why it's important to me, and I hope I live up to it, to always have an open door.

**What do you enjoy most about development?
That's difficult because there are a lot of things. I always liked the development itself, testing, thinking around corners ... Sure, I don't like every step that is part of the procedure. The documentation, for example. It has to be done, and I am very happy and grateful that there are colleagues who take care of it, but everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and I am ... better at other things. I'm fascinated every time by the solutions that emerge and how much you can learn new things for your work and for yourself in every project.

**Is there anything you would really like to do here or do you have a dream project?
Not really. As long as there is a challenge, I'm in. If both I and my colleagues and our customers are burning for a project together, it's my dream project.

**What do you do to switch off your mind after work?
This is probably going to sound like a workaholic, but I never actually do that 100% of the time. I often take my work home with me - some days more consciously than others. It's always been that way with me. I remember sitting for days on end working on a problem for my bachelor's thesis. In the evening, while I was cooking potatoes, I couldn't let go of it and suddenly I had the solution. I understand everyone who just lets work be work in the evening. From time to time that would be fine with me, but I can't really do it and often I don't want to. It works for me, also because the work is also somewhat my hobby. I'm even helped by outside impulses that aren't necessarily only found at work itself ... see the pressure cooker when cooking potatoes. But of course I'm not glued to the work laptop 24/7. Every now and then I gamble, spend time with family and friends, play pool, the usual stuff.

**What would you tell an applicant or a new colleague?
You've come to the right place if you enjoy discovering new things and developing yourself. Of course, this is especially true for us in development, but I think it can also be applied to many areas of the company. We always have new projects, often need new approaches, people who think outside the box and are willing to change things. Depending on the department, we tend to have a lot of new things with a bit of a pattern than the other way around. The thing that repeats itself is that it doesn't repeat itself. And if you love that kind of thing then there are great jobs here to realize yourself and bring in your own ideas.

**If you could sum up BYTEC and your work in one or two sentences ...
To be able to combine the fun of inventing with work, that's what I associate with BYTEC.