Software developer Fabian Zons
Interview | Berghof Testing

Six questions to Fabian Zons

January 10, 2022

Firmly rooted in the region - and as a child just as fascinated by bits and bytes as by technology in general: No wonder that Fabian Zons, software developer at Berghof Testing, the testing technology experts of the Berghof Group, did not go out into the big wide world after graduating from high school but moved to Reutlingen University to study mechatronics. In an interview, the technology fan and enthusiastic craftsman tells us why this study is an ideal basis for his current job, why he enjoyed working at Berghof from day one as a practical student, and what benefits customers have from working with Berghof Testing.

1. Anyone who is passionate about computers is actually predestined for studying computer science. Why did you decide to study mechatronics instead?

In fact, since I was a teenager I was absolutely fascinated by computers, I have always assembled PCs by myself and installed everything by myself. Nevertheless, pure computer science would have been too monotonous for me. I find the precisely coordinated interplay of software and hardware appealing – that is, what we at Berghof Testing do every day for and with our customers.

In order to develop and build test systems or test modules that are as smart as they are reliable, you need expertise from different disciplines. The interdisciplinary study of mechatronics with its contents from mechanics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science is in my opinion a very good basis for this. However, the know-how acquired during my studies accounts for perhaps 20 percent of what we software developers at Berghof Testing need for our job - the remaining 80 percent is knowledge acquired in daily practice. That is what makes our job so exciting and varied.

2. Can you still remember your first contact with Berghof?

Yes, very well indeed. I had applied for an internship semester and already in this first conversation with two current colleagues I felt that the atmosphere at Berghof is very different from that of large companies. We are a top team here, growing together in our tasks, supporting each other. Everyone knows the work of the other team members, knows about their challenges and always sees the big picture. Our customers feel this – and therefore often not only remain loyal to us, but also recommend us to others.

3. What are the advantages for customers of working with Berghof Testing, what exactly makes the company so special?

From my point of view, above all, our special organization structure, because of which I have enjoyed working at Berghof Testing so much since the first days as a practical student: We combine the technical creativity and the great thirst for innovation of an engineering office with the solid structures and professionalism of a large company, also through our membership in the Berghof group of companies. Our customers get the best of both worlds, so to speak, and don't have to choose one extreme or the other. Our customers also appreciate the fact that our systems remain intuitively understandable and easy to use, despite increasingly complex test tasks and constantly expanding functions. After all, what use is the best test system if it presents the user with high hurdles and the customer can therefore never fully utilize the potential?

4. In order to keep these hurdles as low as possible, your team in software development is above all in demand. How do you ensure that the testing software meets these high standards?

A very important point is certainly that we consistently rely on a uniform framework for all Berghof test systems or test modules. This has two advantages for our customers: All the improvements that we make to this framework all of our customers benefit from – and the basic structure of our test software and thus the logic of operation and configuration or expansion is always identical. In addition, thanks to the graphical user interface, our systems can be operated absolutely intuitively and easily, so comprehension problems due to language barriers are not an issue for us at all. Our systems are also technologically designed for the greatest possible openness and can therefore be linked very flexibly to the respective information system in a customer-specific manner. We therefore offer our customers the benefit of the greatest possible standardization of the technological platform, combined with a high degree of flexibility for their specific requirements.

5. Speaking of high flexibility: The automotive industry, by far the most important industry for Berghof Testing, is currently undergoing profound technological change – keywords: e-mobility and (partially) autonomous driving. How does this affect Berghof Testing in general and your work in particular?

We have been dealing with these issues for quite some time now, because we are designing test technologies for the next generations of vehicles, so in our minds we are always living a bit in the future – which I personally find extremely appealing. The vehicles are getting smarter, I always like to say they see the world more. For us, this change means, above all, that we are involved in projects at an early stage more than ever as a partner of our customers with our know-how. After all, our customers are often suppliers to automobile manufacturers who are suddenly confronted with completely new technologies – such as the manufacturers of bumpers, who are now integrating different types of sensors into their products and testing them accordingly.

Our experience gained from many innovative approaches, such as our “Smart Component Tester (SCoT) “, which was awarded at the German Innovation Award, is in great demand. And the close and trusting cooperation with our customers has become even closer and more trusting. In addition, electric drives are an ever-growing part of today’s mobility – which is why testing systems for e-drives are becoming increasingly important for car manufacturers and suppliers, and thus also for us. Good for us, because we have developed this topic into one of our core competencies in recent years.

6. Professionally, you find it very attractive to deal with future topics and new technologies. Is the private man Fabian Zons also enthusiastic about the latest technological advances?

I am definitely someone who also enjoys modern technology privately. In our house, which we built a few years ago with a well-known prefabricated house manufacturer from the region, we have used smart home solutions in many places, for example, even the cat flap is connected here. And just recently, my wife and I, after having been working intensively on it for years, ordered electric cars as the next vehicle.

However, I have even more fun designing and building things myself – especially around our house. So we not only designed our own garden, but also built ourselves a large outdoor kitchen and also designed and built the roof completely independently. That definitely made me want more – just like the challenges of many complex projects at Berghof Testing that were successfully solved by the team.