CERN is one of the few places in the world where I can really work on demanding and exciting IT projects.
For me working at CERN is a dream and I believe spending more time here is the best investment in my life.
Hello Emil! Tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to CERN.
I come from Warsaw, Poland where I obtained my MSc diploma in Computer Science from Warsaw University of Technology. My curiosity about software engineering and physics brought me to CERN where I started as a Summer Student soon after my student exchange in Delft, Netherlands, back in 2016. Later on, I got a chance to continue my journey in the organization as a full-stack web developer, building applications for the accelerator sector and for managing various assets. I shortly left CERN to complete my exchange program in Singapore and to defend my thesis. In 2018 I came back to CERN and now I continue this amazing adventure as a Big Data Engineer. In my free time, you may find me skiing, running in the mountains, or hitchhiking in some exotic countries.
What do you do at CERN today?
For the past 3 years, I have been working as a Big Data Engineer in the IT department in the database group, providing Big Data services such as Hadoop, Spark, Jupyter Notebooks, and Kafka for broad physics and accelerator data critical users. Among my daily activities, I provide consultancy, assistance, and advice to end-users, including model schema, analytics, and big data pipeline design. I love to share technical expertise with my peers and broader communities outside of the Organization.
What is working at CERN like for you?
I feel very proud to work at CERN, a unique place where the Higgs Boson was discovered and the World Wide Web was born. It is amazing to be part of an international organization surrounded by passionate scientists who help better understand our reality and improve the quality of our lives.
For me working at CERN is a dream and I believe spending more time here is the best investment in my life. I realized that in order to design a stable and reliable system one needs to consider a great amount of data and the scale of it. In that context, CERN is one of the few places in the world where I can really work on demanding and exciting IT projects.
What have been the main hurdles or challenges you encountered along the way?
Probably, the toughest part of this marvellous journey at CERN was to get here. The application process is very competitive and as such requires lots of preparation to prove that you are the best candidate for a given role.
In general, I face multiple challenges every week which stimulates me to work and develop. We deal with unprecedented amounts of data and various scalability conundrums that are an inherent part of dealing with the enormous data sets that we produce in the experiments and later store in our data center. Nevertheless, my teammates make all this process absolutely enjoyable and motivating.
What advice would you give potential applicants?
CERN is an amazing international environment and as such a perfect place to meet brilliant, smart, and passionate people from different corners of the world. I truly believe that working at CERN is a unique opportunity to broaden your horizons and the possibility to create synergies across different scientific fields. If that sounds appealing, and you find any interesting project for yourself - do not hesitate to apply. As a bit of good advice, I recommend reading more about the Organization, the activities, and attending some events to understand better the challenges we face. This will inevitably help to increase the chances of getting your dream job at CERN.