Why did you choose to work at Varian?
MICHIKO: I chose this job because I know that I can help people with the code that we write. Out in the job market as a coder you can be writing whatever for whoever, but here coding and research work takes on more meaning. You can fulfil a childhood dream of helping to save other people.
I work as a research scientist working on treatment-planning software aimed at changing the way we perform radiotherapy. I’ve been with the company for almost four years now.
“You can fulfil a childhood dream of helping to save other people.”
OSSI: When I was studying at university, I really wanted to do something meaningful and have a positive impact on people’s lives. I saw that one way of doing that was through medical engineering. When I started job hunting, I spotted an open position here and knew it would be meaningful work where I could make a difference.
Like Michiko, I’m also a research scientist. I work in the field of radiation physics, modelling radiotherapy machines and the radiation coming out of them. My job is to make the machines work as accurately and as fast as possible. I’ve been with the company for about three years.
How does a typical workday at Varian look for you?
OSSI: I have many types of days here. Half of the week I work from home, the other half I’m in the office. My workday usually starts out with checking emails and catching up with people. Then we have a small team meeting and after that I’ll either be working by myself or with colleagues. We work on a wide range of topics in software engineering and research.
MICHIKO: My typical workday looks very much the same whether I’m in the office or working remotely. But when I’m at home I get to spend my breaks with my firstborn, which is very nice!
We typically start the day with a short meeting to sync with our teammates on what we’re going to do. Then we plan our current and future work. Or we might go into a focus mode and just code by ourselves or in pairs. We also review code and do documentation work.
What can you tell us about the teams you work in?
MICHIKO: I work with research scientists, software developers, software engineers and software-quality engineers. Most of us come from different parts of the world, but there are Finns in our team too. I would say that we are very diverse, as we have female programmers as well. We actually have quite a good ratio of male to female, so we break some of the stereotypes!
“Most of us come from different parts of the world, and we actually have quite a good ratio of male to female, so we break some of the stereotypes!”
OSSI: I work in a team full of research scientists and PhDs. Most of the people have a doctorate degree in physics or mathematics. We also have a tester, and then there’s me: a regular engineer! We each have different levels of job experience. Some people are still doing their PhD thesis at university, while others have been with the company for over 10 years.
What do you value most about the people you work with?
MICHIKO: It’s nice to work with people who are fun to be with, and who know how to have a good time. It’s also important that they are fearless and will not back down from any kind of challenge. There are quite a lot of things we need to figure out in our line of work, so it’s important that you just go out there and do it. If you’re up for many challenges, then this work is good for you. And that’s good for us as a team!
OSSI: Yeah, I would agree. Something one needs when working here is to not get tired of learning new things, and not being afraid of acknowledging that. I might not know everything, but trusting colleagues and being able to ask for help – these are really critical things for working here.
MICHIKO: It’s very important to be willing and open to learning new things, or things that nobody knows yet.
What do you remember about your first day here? How did you feel?
OSSI: When I first started here, the bus actually broke down during my commute and I ended up being late for work! I was quite stressed about it. But it was a great introduction to the easy-going company spirit here. No one took it too seriously and everyone was really kind to me. It was a very nice first day.
MICHIKO: Probably no one remembers either. Right?
OSSI: Probably not!
What has surprised you most about working here?
MICHIKO: It’s not that difficult to make an impact in this world. Doing work here, you’re able to improve the lives of many people, especially those in places where healthcare might not be that great. The software we develop gets deployed everywhere, in many hospitals.
“It’s not that difficult to make an impact in this world.”
When I was a child, I wanted to be a doctor. Now it’s kind of amazing to me that although I didn’t become a doctor, I’m still able to help people in the way I always wanted to.
Sound good? Choose Varian and help us achieve our mission of a world without fear of cancer.
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