From quantum chemistry to IT

 

It was not always the plan for Tim Hansen to work in IT, but after five years of studying chemistry followed by a Ph.D. he made the decision to start his career as an IT consultant in Novataris. We have interviewed Tim about the change from chemical laboratories to IT solutions and the consulting business. 

Have you always had a feeling that you might end up in IT, even though your decided to study chemistry?

"No, programming has always been a big interest to me but it was never part of my studies before my master. I have always had a passion for math, physics and chemistry, which made it an obvious choice for me to become a chemist. During my studies, I did however miss math and I quickly decided to pursue the field of quantum chemistry. First when I reached my master level and embarked on my Ph.D. I began to write code. I wrote a code about calculating electrical movement through molecules.  But I have never had an actual job as a programmer before."

Why did you decide to get a job in IT instead of the business that your education naturally gives you access to?

"When I finished studying, I needed a change and felt the urge to involve myself into something completely different than chemistry. It might seem a bit crazy since I have spent all these years studying chemistry, but sometimes the wind just blows in a different direction and you will have to change your course to something else than originally planned." 

What competencies from your study do you utilize in your job as an IT-consultant?

"Although IT-consultant and chemist may seem far apart, I use many of the skills I have acquired through my studies. Throughout my education I have learned to think logically, and it was therefore very natural for me to write code. As a programmer, I constantly use my logical way of thinking. Writing code is about trying to limit your mindset for you to see things clearly and figure out how to logically get from what you have, to what you want. In the beginning, I did not know the right technical terms, but I knew how to make it work."

How was the transition from chemistry to the IT-Industry?

"The transition went surprisingly smooth. It was a bit challenging in the beginning because I was thrown directly into a large project. But at the same time, it was extremely exciting. I had the time necessary to learn the new field and received clear instructions, which made it easy. I was quickly involved in a new project where I was thoroughly trained in proper coding style by one of our partners. What works does not necessarily mean that it looks nice."

Have you found the right place for yourself as an IT-consultant?

"Yes, I love the consulting business. I enjoy that I get to meet new people all the time, that I work very closely with our customers and my colleagues at Novataris. Even though I do not use chemistry at work, I still talk a lot about it over lunch or a Friday beer. I do not miss it though. It is the logic I am passionate about. And this passion is most definitely satisfied here, and I enjoy being challenged all the time."

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