Leave your comfort zone to achieve your full potential. A chat with Simon Schönenberger, Robotics Software Development Engineer at ASUS Robotics & AI Center.
ASUS Robotics & AI Center
October 9, 2023
Company Host: Katie Platt
poly-E-fair Company Relations
March 1, 2022
ETH graduate and Robotics Software Development Engineer, Simon Schönenberger found professional and personal fulfillment by challenging himself to take the road less traveled.
Simon Schönenberger completed his master’s degree in Robotics, Systems, and Control at ETH Zürich. He previously interned as a Data Scientist in the financial and pharmaceutical industry, spent a semester abroad at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and completed his master thesis at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. He joined the ASUS Robotics & AI Center as a Robotics Software Development Engineer in December 2021. This step allowed him to combine his passion for robotics and AI with his dream to relocate to Taipei.
Simon, why did you decide to look for a job far away from Switzerland?
I always had this dream to move to a foreign country because I was excited about the idea of fully immersing myself in another culture, experiencing different ways of living, and getting new perspectives. During my master’s studies, I got the chance to spend one semester abroad at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, during which I also traveled to Taipei. It was my first time in Asia, and it became clear that I wanted to relocate there at some point in the future.
Taipei caught my attention because it combines the perks of a big city with incredible nature and offers a unique culinary experience. Furthermore, I found great joy in learning Mandarin, which in my opinion, is one of the best ways to learn about a foreign culture.
Why did you join the ASUS Robotics & AI Center in Taipei?
I knew very little about the ASUS Robotics & AI Center when I applied for the job. Hence, the main reason for me applying was that the job I applied for seemed like a potentially good opportunity in Taipei, which had been my dream working location. During the interview process, I then got to know some of my potential peers, learned about the ambitious vision of the ASUS Robotics & AI Center, and the startup-like working environment, which aims to boost innovation and collaboration.
Of course, interviewing for a job only gives you some data points. There will always be many unknowns, which can make it scary to accept a job offer, especially if accepting it comes with moving to a different country on the other side of the world. But I had a good gut feeling because the potential peers I talked to seemed authentic and had deep technical expertise, which allowed me to trust them fully.
How does the environment at the ASUS Robotics & AI Center help you unleash
At the ASUS Robotics & AI Center, we have a startup-like culture, where we work in truly interdisciplinary teams in a collaborative, R&D environment. This has the effect that we are exposed to a wider variety of topics and see the bigger picture. Hence, each of us has the opportunity to significantly impact the strategic direction, technical implementation, and final product. As a team, this allows us to strive for ambitious goals and enables every one of us to broaden and deepen our technical expertise.
Besides this startup-like working environment, I also enjoy a lot of freedom about how I want to do my work. For example, no one is counting the hours I spend at work, and I enjoy a lot of flexibility in planning my work schedule. This freedom is incredibly important to reaching a healthy work/life balance and long-term performance.
What are some of the best things about Taipei that others might not know?
In my opinion, Taipei is a unique and incredibly convenient place to live because there is comfortable and affordable housing, efficient public transport, and easy access to high-quality food, such as organic meat and vegetables. As a passionate cook, this was a delightful surprise. If you’re interested in Asian cuisine, there is a lot to explore. Besides that, Taipei offers many opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, diving, and surfing.