SDB2022-02-04 0002-31

Xiaozhou Li - Software Engineer

During her studies, Xiaozhou Li first discovered 3D printing and she was immediately hooked by the endless possibilities. Two years ago she started working as a Software Engineer at Ultimaker and now she is seeing her ideas come to life.

Amazed by the 3D printing opportunities

My introduction with Ultimaker goes back to my college days. I was in a research group that focused on the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals. The application of 3D printing in this industry was part of this research group’s interest and we even had a 3D printer in our lab. That’s where I first met Ultimaker. It was amazing to see how an idea can be transformed into a 3D product in such a short time. Usually, we had to outsource our design to a third-party and the entire process would take much longer. I was so excited that I kept an eye out for interesting openings at Ultimaker after I graduated. Two years ago, this interesting position as a Software Engineer came on my radar and that was the start of my journey here.

Software is of great importance

Apart from the printer itself and the necessary materials, the software is of great importance within Ultimaker. I am part of a the connected services team. We develop and maintain the cloud-based platform and services to enhance the 3D printing workflow. PersonalIy, I am very proud of the development of the Digital Factory, one of our products. This allows users to manage their printers, print jobs and to collaborate with colleagues. In the beginning, we started with simply displaying the printers and some remote control. But now it is growing into a wonderful product. One of the features I was involved in is the ability to upload a print job to the digital library and print it with just one click. Because of this, our users can send their print job from anywhere to any printer they have access to. This feature was delivered in the middle of the pandemic where everyone wanted to print from home. So I am really proud of this.

The power to decide

At Ultimaker, you are not just developing these features. Together with the team, you have the power to decide which is the right way to go. That’s the beauty of the job and this keeps me motivated. Collaboration with the team is therefore very important. I truly believe that you can only create a successful product if you work together. At the end of the day, we are not working with machines. We are working with people. So the chemistry in the team has to be right.

Within the team, we have a can-do attitude. There is no need for bureaucratic detours. If we see something where we can help we just do it. We are always talking about new techniques and innovative ideas. And we frequently have hackathons to transfer some of our crazy ideas into reality. These hackathons, by the way, are always within working hours. I think that’s unique and I feel like I have the best work-life balance now from all the companies I have been working for. Of course, we have to do our jobs and deliver results. But not at the cost of our personal lives.

Even within the team, not everything revolves around work. To my surprise, we have many Lego fans in the team. We even went to the Lego shop next to our Utrecht office together. But we also have events where we do quizzes and have fun discussions, for example about rocket launching. To me, this makes Ultimaker a unique place to work.