We trust our employees and like to hand over responsibility. We are looking for people who can develop and implement creative solutions in an environment of demanding goals, constantly new challenges and different opinions.
Everything starts with passion. It generates innovative ideas that push us to the limit of what is possible. When the ability of an individual meets a team in which each opinion is heard, they can successfully shape the future together.
We offer an inspiring place to work. We are proud of our team, the culture we live in, and the solutions we offer our customers. If you want to bring your passion to a team, we have the right place for you.
Your opinion is important to us. We are convinced that we can only develop further if we treat each other in an open and respectful way and everyone can express their views at any time. Each of your ideas is heard.
Every employee is challenged and supported by us. Free space for innovative ideas and cross-discipline experiences guarantee a short learning curve. Take your career into your own hands and start with us.
You want to bring your expertise and personality into an agile, innovative company? At knowis, everyone can take their careers into their own hands and shape the future successfully with their ideas.
We promote lifelong learning and offer you many opportunities and options at any time. Ready for your next milestone?
Yesterday you were still in university or in training, today you start your career. Now the future can begin – and you can be successful right from the start.
Whether as a well-trained skilled worker or highly qualified graduate – we have many interesting tasks awaiting you.
Is theory alone not enough for you? Do you want to get a taste of practice? We offer you various options. Not only do you get to know our company better, you also gain valuable practical experience.
Do an internship, become a working student or write your thesis with us.
Everything starts with passion. It drives us to redefine things. It generates innovative ideas that push us to the limits of what is possible. When the ability of an individual meets a team in which each opinion is heard, they can successfully shape the future together.
We offer an inspiring place to work. We are proud of our team, the culture we live in, and the solutions we offer our customers. If you want to bring your passion to a team, we have the right place for you.
"I am always looking for new challenges – at knowis I never get bored as I am working with the latest technologies."
Michael, what is your typical working day like and what are your tasks?
This question is difficult to answer – I rarely have a typical working day. I started my knowis career as a software developer, so initially I spent most of my time programming, of course, but I also took on architectural tasks right from the beginning. Meanwhile, I have specialized in the field of software architecture. What I particularly like is that the tasks range from strategic long-term planning and implementation to "we need a solution in a quarter of an hour". On the one hand, I like to dive deep into tasks, on the other hand, I like the kick of putting out fires. I also see aggregating and passing on the resulting knowledge as an important part of my work at knowis, because this is how you create something that persists and is helpful particularly for new colleagues.
What makes your job so special?
Changing tasks, often across teams, and working with new technologies and systems are special features that make the job really interesting for me. Current cloud technologies or methods such as SaaS (Software as a Service), DevOps solutions, Continuous Deployment and Continuous Integration are not yet so established on the market and exciting for us programmers and architects, as we often do pioneering work. The specialists in our IT department cover a broad range of qualifications, so we can handle many processes in-house. The close exchange with the development laboratories of the big IT players such as IBM or Microsoft is also a great enrichment for me – this networking opportunity is not something you are offered in every job.
How was your application process? What do applicants have to bring with them to be successful in your field?
Do you enjoy living in Regensburg? You are also relatively new in the city.
The city of Regensburg has a lot to offer. I used to live in Munich and although Regensburg is much smaller, it can keep up very well. In summer I like to lie on the Jahninsel or cool off in the Danube. At this time of year I can also recommend the Jazz-Weekend, when the whole city turns into a concert stage. For the colder season, I think a season pass for the local theater is a great option. For its size, the Regensburg theater offers an extensive program of drama, dance and music theater – but also the 'Alte Mälzerei' is a great location for everyone interested in culture.
Business Specialist HR
“I like the collegiality at knowis. Everyone has an open ear and is helpful. Especially for beginners, knowis is great.“
What does your typical work day look like and what are your tasks at knowis?
It's a colorful mix of tasks. On the one hand, I am the personal assistant and right-hand woman of our Management Board member Gerald and, on the other hand, I look after the application process in our company. The latter includes both the coordination of job interviews and the entire selection process. In addition, I do administrative work for our traveling employees, such as bookings and travel expenses. And most important: at the end of each month, the payroll is due.
How was your application process at knowis?
I saw an advertisement on StepStone and applied immediately. Just three days later, Kathrin contacted me and invited me for an interview. Of course, I prepared well and was all the more surprised at how easy and open the conversation with Matthias and Kathrin was. They had read my documents in advance – it was not a question and answer interview, but a dialogue to get to know each other.
You are the expert for applications – any advice for potential applicants?
We look forward to receiving compelling applications. A detailed Curriculum Vitae, a cover letter and all reports and certificates make the application complete and we don’t need to ask for anything afterwards. As a tip: it is best to specify the desired start date and, for internships, the period. In addition, job fairs are an ideal place to make first contact. 80 percent of the candidates we meet at such events are invited to an interview. In the conversation itself, no one must appear in a suit – our dress code is casual.
What makes knowis so special as an employer?
We are a young, dynamic team – the average age is just over thirty years. Whether you are a student, graduate or professional, everyone is welcome and able to develop quickly. Graduates are supported by their own supervisor and professionals benefit from our expertise in-house. The flat hierarchies allow our employees to rapidly evolve and pursue their goals. knowis also offers a number of benefits, such as company pension plans and occupational health check-ups.
“At knowis, I have the opportunity to enhance and extend an existing application – for me as a working student, this means that I can get to know technologies on the job that are not even part of the curriculum at my university.“
Sebastian, you study computer science at OTH Regensburg – how did you come to work at knowis and what are your tasks?
At OTH Regensburg, it is compulsory to do an internship for one semester. In search of an internship in software development, I googled potential companies in the Regensburg area, came across knowis and thought “Sounds good, I’ll apply there.” I also checked social media and my university’s information system for additional information on knowis, as some students had already done an internship there before me. At that time, I was not fully aware of the banking background of knowis. However, you should not be intimidated by this; I realized during the job interview: “Team Bilanzkritik fits perfectly.” I felt comfortable from day one and supervision during my internship was very good. That's why I chose to stay with knowis and continued seamlessly as a working student after my internship. So I’m still part of the Bilanzkritik team and work there as a backend developer. I’m primarily focusing on the server application and the Java-based part of the client. In addition, I have also taken on tasks such as the creation of maintenance programs.
You are planning to write your thesis at knowis. What is the process for this?
I determined the topic together with my team leader and an experienced developer of the team. We sat down together to brainstorm about current topics that are suitable as a bachelor’s thesis and that I am interested in. The result: “Feature Analytics: Assessment and Prototypical, Technical Implementation of Event Tracking and Feature Usage Mechanisms Within the Framework of a Business-to-Business Application.” I have already made a rough draft of this topic and proposed this to one of the supervisors of the OTH. As soon as my topic is officially approved, I will be able to start. As it will be quite a lot of work to write my thesis, I will pause my working student job during this period. This means that I can concentrate exclusively on my bachelor’s thesis during my 20 hours per week at knowis and have nothing to do with the ongoing product development for the time being. This gives me flexibility and allows me to arrange my working hours in a way that is most convenient for me. Also, my internal company supervisors from my team at knowis are always there to support me with their expertise.
What have you learnt so far at knowis? Does your job there help you in your studies?
The computer science program at the OTH is generally very practice-oriented, but before knowis I was limited to my own small, isolated projects in the context of lectures or tutorials, which simply disappear from sight at the end of the semester and gather dust. At knowis I got the chance to work in a team of multiple developers for the first time – with a separation between frontend and backend. Instead of opening my IDE (integrated development environment) and starting from scratch, I’m working on an existing application and I’m advancing an existing architecture. This also means that I can explore technologies that are not part of the curriculum at my university.
Do you have any tips for other students regarding the application process or the final thesis?
The best tip to start with, I think, is: Just do it! So, in any case, look for a job as a working student in the professional field of your course, because putting what you have learned into practice in a company is something completely different from what you do in the lectures every now and then. At knowis, I can apply my knowledge and continuously improve my skills. What also helped me a lot during the application process was my personal interest in software engineering in general. During my school days, I was already part of a student-run company that took care of the IT equipment of our school, and I have remained enthusiastic about this subject until today. This is an important factor, especially when it comes to internships, and it helps you to find out if it really fits. Both for the applicant her- or himself, and on the part of the company.
Do you also work on any programming projects in your spare time?
I am a real geek and therefore of course have projects that I’m currently programming in my private time. Besides other hobbies, I’m secretary of our local skiing club and my current task is to bring our internet presence into the current decade. For this purpose, I am developing a modern web application that also works on mobile devices. At the same time – and this is the more complex part – I’m creating an administration tool that digitizes everything that is now managed on paper, such as course registration, vouchers, and membership data. So, programming is definitely a part of my life beyond work and study.
Senior Solution Engineer
“The unpredictable and multi-faceted activity at the customer site motivates me."
What do your typical work day and tasks look like?
Maybe you have to differentiate roughly between the 'project work day', that is the conceptualization and implementation at the customer site, and the 'office work day' in Regensburg.
When we get to the customer, there's a quick meeting every morning with all the developers (the SCRUM fans know it as the Daily) to check the current status and identify potential issues. This allows us to react flexibly to requirements and changes. Afterwards, the development work starts, whereby as a Senior Solution Engineer I not only develop myself, but I am also responsible for the system architecture and the project organization. In addition, I support customers in finding their way through the agile, and for the customer, often new, thinking structures, and take on an advisory role. It is important to include all the people involved in the development steps and to update them at regular reviews.
In the office in Regensburg, I work in small groups on proof-of-concepts and do administrative work. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with new colleagues and expanding our internal know-how. I regularly hold training courses or participate in internal projects.
What makes your job so special?
The work at knowis gives me the opportunity to gain insights into the many different business areas of the banks. In doing so, I get to know their challenges and the individual approaches to digitalizing complex processes. The great thing is that we, as a medium-sized regional company in cooperation with large multinationals, implement leading and forward-looking project work in major banks. This is anything but ordinary and never boring because the technology is constantly evolving. For example, early on we relied on the use of non-relational databases and we set a very high degree of standardization and thus achieved a very high implementation speed, which pays off today.
How did that go during your job interview?
At that time, it was about becoming knowis employee number 17 and everything had a bit more of a start-up character, even though this spirit is still felt in many places today. Accordingly, the first interview was also very informal. Actually, I had applied to knowis as a web developer, but had no practical experience at the time. During the first few minutes, I realized that the human is in the foreground at knowis. So a really good conversation ensued, in which it became apparent that another vacant position would actually fit much better with my skill profile and my interests – that of a Solution Engineer. In a second conversation, we sealed the deal and shortly after completing my studies, I started. And what can I say – I have already been part of the knowis team for over five years and I am still enthusiastic.
When you're not traveling or at customer appointments – what do you like to do in your free time?
I would describe myself as a geek – the list of my hobbies and interests is long. As a Regensburger, I am of course a Jahn fan. During the season, the home and away matches are marked red in my calendar. I'm also a passionate gamer and I'm constantly expanding my comic and audio playback collection. If I find time, I like cooking, walking or biking. You can tell – just like in my daily work, in my free time it is important to me to pursue a varied mix of activities. I do not know boredom.
“At knowis, I found the opportunity to combine my technical banking knowledge and my enthusiasm for IT in a single job.“
Markus, how did you come across knowis and how long have you been here?
I have been with knowis for five years now. Previously, I worked in various banks in the lending business for many years. I therefore know from my own experience what is important to our clients, banks and financial institutions. Because I've always been very interested in IT, at some point in my life I wanted to switch to this field as a profession. So, the question was: where do I find a job at the intersection of banking and IT? That’s how I came to knowis.
You only recently became a product manager – what did you do previously with knowis?
At the beginning of my knowis career, I worked as a business analyst. During that time, I looked after many projects while working at the customer's site. The requirements for a product manager are in some respects similar to the tasks that I worked on as a business analyst for many years. In my new position, this helps a lot to understand the big picture, for example, by knowing how the knowis banking platform is actually used and what our customers' experience has been with it. That's why switching to product management was the right step for me to continue to use my strengths and at the same time expand my knowledge.
What are your responsibilities as a product manager?
As an agile software company, we think and plan in release cycles. We want to renew and improve our software on a regular basis, so as a product manager, I deal a lot with feature requests and the enhancement of our software, as well as the prioritization of the different requirements.
New requirements come either directly from the customer or are suggested internally, for example, by our business analysts or the solution engineers. My job is to translate the often rather unspecific needs. This means I must think carefully about what is needed in particular and whether it might already be feasible in other ways. At the same time, it is always important to assess the development effort of a feature; for this part, I collaborate with an IT architect or developer.
Ultimately, I have to weigh how sensible the implementation of such a feature would be, that is to measure the business value against the development effort. Before each release, for example, we try to estimate the sensibility in a ‘business poker' process, where we discuss everything in detail and view the features from different angles. If a feature is to be considered for the next release, I define criteria that must be met during development. These are compared after the implementation and verified by the testing team – so you can already see: product management at knowis is closely integrated with other departments.
What skills or special abilities should you bring as a product manager?
It is very important to develop an understanding of how our software is used. When assessing the 'value' of a feature, a product manager should be able to capture the customer's view and, based on that, prioritize the requirements, while at the same time considering the implementation effort. In addition, the constant development of the knowis software platform is an important topic that needs to be structured and clearly defined.
A basic understanding of the technologies used, and the ability to work closely and effectively with different stakeholders, are among the requirements that a Product Manager should bring to knowis.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Most of all, I spend time with my family, or I am outside in nature, for example, when mountain biking. Also, I really enjoy water, which is of course very convenient here, as Regensburg is beautifully situated on the banks of the Danube. I love swimming there in the summer or just strolling along the river.
Head of Engineering
“Working with new, modern technologies like cloud technology makes my work very exciting and challenging at the same time."
What does your typical work day at knowis look like and what are your tasks as a software engineer?
Over time, my job has also changed a bit – the focus is now more on IT architecture. Incidentally, that's one of the reasons why I like to work for knowis: everyone can develop their own professional interests or reorient themselves as far as possible. As head of one of the engineering teams, I now also take on organizational tasks and am the contact person for questions and problems of my colleagues.
What is special about the work at knowis?
Knowis has grown very fast in recent years. This always results in new fields of activity and positions. The employees themselves can grow into the new roles because the positions do not need to be created and filled, but arise as needed. Anyone who engages in knowis can definitely take on more responsibility and new tasks. I find it very pleasant that you can work autonomously and independently and are not dictated to from above.
How was your job interview? Do you have tips for the application process at knowis?
The atmosphere during my conversation was very relaxed and enjoyable. At knowis, the personality of the applicants is still a decisive factor for the selection and therefore we also talked a lot about me as a person, my previous work experience and what motivates me in my work. Shortly after the conversation, I got a commitment from knowis.
Currently, as head of engineering, I lead a small team myself and I have been involved in a lot of job interviews. It is important to me personally that the candidate is passionate about the subject and has a clear idea of how he or she can support our team.
At the time of your application, knowis was still a small Regensburg start-up. How did you find out about us?
Knowis is a 'hidden champion' in the industry. I was looking for IT companies, especially in Regensburg, and searched for potential employers through portals like XING, kununu and LinkedIn. Ultimately, I became aware of knowis via a job advertisement on XING and got more information about the company on the home page. The website was not that informative five years ago – which is fortunately very different today. Nevertheless, I immediately identified with the company and the tasks based on the job description and applied right away. As a result, I was invited to a job interview relatively quickly.
“Working at knowis is always challenging and pushes you to give more, there is a place for everyone's ideas and space for you to develop and grow technically as well.“
Saja, how do you work as a team and what are your tasks?
At knowis we work agile. We have sprints every five days, which have to be planned and structured precisely so that all stories, epics and the technical features we're working on are clear. At the same time, we are flexible, both in terms of our working hours and new ideas for the platform, and we have very fast feedback loops. After planning, employees with different technological backgrounds work together on the discussed features and add them to the platform.
On the one hand, as a NodeJS Developer I get to know the "dark side" – that's what we jokingly call the Java developers – on the other hand, it is very helpful to let other people look at your work and, vice versa, to give feedback to others. The people here are very open to new ideas and exchange of knowledge.
Although the first programmers were female, the IT sector has now developed into a rather male domain. What is it like to be a woman in the tech industry today?
I had never worked with other female developers before I joined knowis and I was really excited when I learned before my job interview at knowis that my team lead is a woman and that I also have another female team colleague. This was actually one of the main reasons why I finally chose knowis. I am used to being the only female software developer in the team and I have never felt uncomfortable with it or got strange reactions from people. Maybe this was still an issue for previous generations, but now it is totally accepted that women work in the IT industry.
Originally, you're from Jordan. Did you come to Regensburg for this job?
I've been in Regensburg for 2.5 years now, so I was here before my employment at knowis. When I lived in Jordan, I didn't know much about Germany or German cities – I only knew that Regensburg has a university and I had heard from friends that it is the city of developers. It sounds strange at first, but when you consider that a large part of the industry here consists of IT start-ups, there is some truth to it. Even when you meet new people here, a lot of them are working in the IT sector. So I decided to move to Regensburg and started to apply.
What qualifications should applicants bring to be successful in your field?
Besides your technological background and the programming languages you are proficient in, soft skills are not to be underestimated. Consistency is very important, because your code should be stable and the quality of your work should meet a certain standard. IT is an extremely fast business and there are updates almost every day – so you should definitely be curious and have the drive to get to the bottom of things, because you need regular education to keep track. You also need to be a team player who gives others the opportunity to present their ideas and is open-minded.
Do you have a programming project that you spend your spare time with or are you done with technology after work?
It depends on the season: When it gets cold outside, I like to find a project that I work on in order to learn new things – as I said before, I think it’s really important to keep studying. But in summer I like to travel, meet new people, or go hiking.
"When I started at knowis five years ago, I was one of the very first non-native German speakers and a foreigner in a land that was completely new to me. Right from day one my colleagues made me feel included."
Prathibha, you are one of the software developers working on the knowis isfinancial platform. What are your responsibilities?
The development of isfinancial is split into two parts, the frontend and the backend. I am part of the backend where I concentrate mostly on the implementation of features that fulfill business requirements and on the data base, so, things like storing the data. In my team, we also take responsibility for the new stories, for example the new requirements that product management creates and which we then develop. My tasks also include maintaining and fixing bugs for the existing versions of the software that are already installed at the customer's site.
You have a small daughter. How do you manage to balance career and family? How does knowis support you?
As a young working mother, I have learned to lower my expectations both professionally and privately and to keep things simple. Especially when children are still small, they need a lot of attention and care from their parents, and of course every now and then we need to see the doctor unplanned, sometimes even during my working hours. This has also never been a problem for my team. If this happens, I simply do my work at a later time.
It is important to be transparent from the beginning to meet the expectations of both employer and employee, and to find the best option for both parties. My daughter is now two years old. When I started working part-time again, she had just begun day care. The whole family had to adjust to the fact that I am now a working mom. So during this phase we had some challenges to overcome, but knowis and especially my team were really cooperative and understanding. Nobody gave me a strict timetable; I was completely flexible in terms of my working hours and the completion of my tasks. In the beginning I worked in the afternoon, from 14:00 to 18:00. Without the great support of my team during this phase, I probably would not have considered coming back.
How was the transition from full-time to part-time work for you?
I first had to get used to the change from a full-time to a part-time job. I really like my job, so it was hard for me at first that I couldn't be there for 8 hours. At the beginning I was also a bit afraid that I would no longer feel like a part of my team. But my concerns were completely unfounded, everything is just like before. My team makes me feel needed and includes me. I can also increase or decrease my working hours flexibly. In this way knowis has enabled me to have a smooth start back into working life.
Also during the Corona period, when my husband and I worked from home, it was initially difficult to manage child care and home office. But also here my team supported me: I was able to do my work when it suited me best. We arranged team meetings in a way that everybody could participate. I also found it impressive how knowis shifted the weekly company stand up [editor’s note: a meeting for the whole company to share what has happened over the past week] to a digital space. I think we even learned more from the other teams than we did in the office.
Are there any programming languages or development tools you prefer to use?
I have mostly worked with Java until now, but I started playing around with the data base a lot in my former job in India, and here at knowis it has also become a part of my responsibilities. I just love to learn about the database, somehow it just fascinates me.
"The people working at knowis are reliable, want to take responsibility and move things forward. I have rarely experienced so much commitment in my professional career to date."
Christian, you've been with knowis as a Business Analyst since 2017. How would you describe your daily work?
Most of the time, there is actually no real work routine in my job. As a Business Analyst you have a wide variety of tasks, depending on whether you are working on a specific customer case or focusing on internal projects. I do a lot of different things: from writing stories, to conceptualizing the application based on business domains, or to sales situations in which I present showcases. A large part of my day consists of coordination – whether at the customer's site or in the office in Regensburg. It is my job to map out how to implement requirements within our software product in the best possible way. That calls for lots of discussions and a good deal of planning to find the optimal solution.
You are part of the Professional Services team. What is this team’s function?
Our main job is project business with our customers. We support financial institutions primarily in process analysis and the realization of requirements that result from it. But we are also there as a sparring partner for our customers on all other topics that are important in such a project, i.e., planning, next steps, communication with stakeholders and the preparation of project plans. So, we always try to provide the best possible support for our customers at every step and offer our know-how.
A customer project often starts with a workshop. Why is that and can such workshops also work in digital form?
We like to use different methods for such workshop formats to achieve a common objective for the entire project team. In our case, these are mainly User Story Mapping and Event Storming. With both methods, we can develop technical domains on the one hand, and define the first epics and sets of stories on the other. Such agile procedures make it easier to grasp the whole breadth of a topic, but they do not necessarily dive deeper. The details are worked out later in the individual sprint iterations in the context of Scrum. It can happen from time to time that things that were perhaps not an issue a few months ago suddenly come up in the project. For example, legal requirements or documentation requirements can change. These topics are then prioritized much higher in the software application.
These workshops also work in a digital format with the help of special tools: From my own experience, I can say that a discovery workshop for story mapping works well via video conference. The rules of the game are generally somewhat different for online conferences. Since you perceive gestures and facial expressions differently, you have to speak more and often question things that would be intuitively understood in a personal conversation on site. But basically, a lot of things that were thought to be "only possible on site" before Corona work online as well. In my job, I have noticed that both customers and colleagues or partner companies react very positively to the digital alternatives because, for example, you save an incredible amount of travel time that you often cannot use productively.
What qualities do you need to be a successful Business Analyst?
Flexibility and resilience are definitely part of it, but I think the most important skill for a Business Analyst is abstract thinking. If you get stuck, be it when you are thinking of how to solve a requirement in our banking platform or how to approach a customer meeting, it often helps to zoom out and take a different perspective. It is very important to be able to take the customers’ point of view and understand what exactly they want to achieve with their requirements.
Applicants should definitely be interested in new things and not be afraid of making mistakes, because there are always situations in which you have to come to a decision on your own. Much of what you do as a Business Analyst is pioneering work – so you rarely have a ready-made standard solution at hand. A trial-and-error mentality is therefore simply part of it.
You know both sides – the job in a bank and at an agile software company. How would you compare everyday banking with your work at knowis?
The comparison is not so easy at some points. Banks are often institutions that have grown over decades and have formalized and bureaucratized everything. knowis is a young company, plus the company’s business area of software development is incredibly busy. This concerns new technologies or the understanding of how to prepare software architecture, for example. As a result, there are often no patterns or blueprints to fall back on. A bit of research is always part of our work – and if you want to be innovative, too much bureaucracy is simply a hindrance.
Senior Software Developer
"At knowis, I get the chance to contribute to a product that is consumed by other developers – which is exciting and challenging at the same time. I like this challenge because it helps me grow and learn new things."
Namrata, you are part of the Designer & Hub team – what does your typical working day at knowis look like?
I'm a backend developer and my working day starts around 9 a.m., followed by our stand-up where we as a team discuss the progress of our tasks every day. After that I spend my time developing new features or fixing problems. When we have conceptual tasks to add a new major feature which requires analyzing the changes and effort, I like to work on those – I like challenges like that. I also spend some time understanding the other components of our product so that I can best contribute to my team.
Basically, we create a cloud platform especially for banks, which supports them in implementing their digitization measures. With our product we provide customers with best practices to make their lives easier. This starts with the architects, continues with the business analysts, and ends with the software developers who program APIs or requirements. We try to find out how these software developers proceed when they implement projects in large enterprises and integrate our findings into our product to simplify their work.
For this, we use a cloud DevOps approach and all the hot technologies that are currently available on the market. We use TypeScript, OpenShift, Kubernetes – that's what basically every developer wants to learn and work with right now. So I'm kind of lucky to have the chance to work with these technologies every day.
knowis supported you with your relocation from London to Regensburg – how was the procedure?
The relocation to Regensburg was a really smooth experience for me. I was glad that our HR team was so well informed about the whole process. Antonia, our Business Specialist HR, was very patient with me and helped me with all the necessary steps. She even booked the flights for me so that I had my head free for other things. Normally you always expect minor start-up problems when travelling to another country, but I didn't have any problems after my arrival in Regensburg either. So I couldn't have asked for a better support I guess.
Bengaluru – London – Regensburg: You have already lived in many places. What would you recommend to other foreign applicants before moving to Germany?
Know your beer! No, I’m just kidding. On a more serious note, it can be quite overwhelming to move to another country and experience a new culture. But you shouldn't be intimidated by that - Germany is a beautiful country, and the people I have met so far are really friendly, even though I don't speak German. In the office that's not a problem either, but for socializing it's not bad if you at least understand basic German. From my team colleagues I learn new words every day on the side.
You are relatively new in Regensburg – how do you like the city?
Of course Regensburg is much smaller than London or Bengaluru, which is known as the Silicon Valley of India. But every city has its own charms. When I first came to Regensburg for my second job interview, I liked it so much because it was so quiet. I walked along the Danube and it was simply a completely different experience for me than the rush of a big city. Unfortunately, my start at knowis coincided with the Corona-related lockdown, which is why I'm only now slowly exploring the city. I like to do that by bike, there are some nice bike paths nearby.
At work, you spend most of your time in front of a screen. Do you need to balance this in your spare time?
I actually avoid spending my free time in front of the screen. Instead, I prefer reading, riding my bike or walking in the park. Especially now in summer, Regensburg invites you to just sit by the river and have a chat with your friends, I enjoy that.
Head of Professional Services
“What convinced me to start at knowis back then and what still convinces me every day is the 'knowis mode': the passion and commitment with which we inspire our customers.“
Michael, you've been with knowis since 2016. What are the main stepping stones of your career?
I did a classic apprenticeship as a banker and business economist and worked at Commerzbank for about ten years, most recently in project and process management. I got to know knowis through a project that was about optimizing credit processes and was enthusiastic about the drive that the employees showed there. So, I eventually switched to knowis, initially in the role of a business analyst. In 2018, I took over the management of the business analysts team and since the beginning of 2020 I have been responsible for the entire project business, including the solution engineers who implement solutions for our customers.
You lead the Professional Services division. What is your team responsible for?
Essentially, we are the unit that gives our customers holistic advice – from planning to implementation – on how to ideally use knowis products for their purposes. That means we support banks in creating the business design for a digital solution, we specify the requirements for it, and our technical staff ultimately implements the solution. This also includes continuous enhancements. We often do all of this together with the customer. Sometimes, however, we only act as a kind of coach who enables the customer to use our products to autonomously create solutions.
Your team consists of business analysts and solution engineers – what qualities should you have to be successful in these professions?
On the one hand, both clearly need certain skills: The analysts should be able to apply a wide variety of project management methods, and the solution engineers implement the business solutions with our software. In addition, for both jobs it is decisive that you enjoy dealing with people and that you identify with the role as a service provider for the customers. At the same time, we see ourselves as innovation catalysts, which is why the person who applies with us should be interested both in the trends in the software industry, and in the developments in the banking market.
Of course, in our job, you also have to be willing to travel to a certain extent. But what I also see very clearly: the number of trips, the frequency and also the average length of stay is now significantly lower than before the Corona crisis. It will probably stay that way, even if the Corona issue relaxes in the next few months or next year.
You accompany customers in the planning and implementation of digitization projects. How exactly does that work?
For banks, the question arises as to how they can effectively digitize their product portfolio and their processes. In this respect, our digitization projects typically start with a request for information (RfI) or a request for proposal (RfP) from banks who are looking for providers who can support them in tackling this challenge. Here we position ourselves accordingly as a service provider for the customers. Then it's about organizing different formats of agile workshops to find out what the specific target vision for the digitization initiative looks like. So, our business analysts identify – for example through User Story Mapping or Event Storming – the specific requirements for a solution. To do this, it is necessary to capture the current situation appropriately and also to elaborate the desired benefits. To achieve this target, a corresponding roadmap must then be worked out with the customer. So, we also support in project planning and project management.
Usually, we then start with prototyping, where we first test our idea before we start real development. At this point, at the latest, the solution engineers enter the scene. But sometimes they are already involved in the brainstorming process when it comes to assessing how the knowis software products fit into the bank's system context. As is usual with agile work, we then produce a minimum viable product (MVP) that solves the requirements in the most efficient way and then continue to gradually adjust the product to the customer's requirements in the subsequent releases. So, in the end, we transition smoothly from the project to productive operations.
You know both sides: the job in a bank and in an agile software company. How would you compare banking routines with your work at knowis?
Banks are very highly regulated institutions that have to meet many requirements. Financial institutions are mostly characterized by a hierarchical structure with several management levels – at least that was the case when I still worked in a bank. Therefore it could take a long time until things were decided. However, there’s no doubt that banking is also in transition. Many financial institutions are very interested in becoming more agile and are going through an organizational transformation. They often solve this, for example, by using tribe models, as we know them from companies like Netflix or Spotify.
As an agile software company, we at knowis are at least one step ahead. We have already adapted many of the topics that are only just being introduced at banks, and we use agile tools and organizational forms as a matter of course. As a medium-sized company, we are of course much leaner than a large bank. As a result, we also have faster decision-making processes and can react more dynamically to changing conditions.
You moved to Regensburg because of the job at knowis. What does the city have to offer you in your free time?
In my daily work I sit in front of the screen a lot, so I like to be out and about in my free time – in the city or preferably in nature. Regensburg has a lot to offer in both respects. On the one hand, the World Heritage city is very young and lively – there is always something going on, not least because of the many students. On the other hand, it is also ideally located for local recreation. The Danube, Regen and Naab rivers are perfect for canoeing. I like to go on bike tours or hikes, for example in the Bavarian Forest or the foothills of the Alps; everything can be easily reached from here. Regensburg leaves nothing to be desired in terms of sporting, cultural and – very importantly – culinary offers.
"What I particularly appreciate at knowis is the flat hierarchies and the relaxed interaction with one another. I've found a lot of cool people here with the same interests, with whom I regularly make plans beyond the work relationship, for example to go biking together."
You are part of the testing team. What is this team responsible for exactly?
There is a quote from John Ruskin that describes our work very aptly: “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort”. Our team is specifically responsible for testing the knowis product isfinancial. Put simply, we click through the software and put its correctness, functionality and usability through its paces. We do this from the perspective of the future user. In addition, Product Management involves the testing team in the requirement process from the start. So, if we can foresee from a requirement that its implementation could lead to quality defects, we have the chance to intervene at this early point to prevent problems later on in the finished software.
Test Analysts make up part of our team. Their task is to look at the requirements for the software together with our Product Management team. They write test case designs, draw up test plans, and make specifications for how we want to test our release.
In addition to the Test Analysts, there are the Test Engineers, like me. The profiles of both roles are actually pretty similar, but the job of Test Engineer has a more technical focus. We use automated tests with test scripts that are defined by frameworks. My job is to write these test scripts and to set up and maintain the underlying framework in such a way that the tests practically imitate a user: clicking, writing text in fields, and checking whether this triggers the expected outcome.
As a Test Engineer, are you mainly on the hunt for bugs?
Well, you could say that, but it sounds a lot easier than it is if you put it that way. Developers of course review the code they are working on, but they don't test the bigger picture. I'll explain it using an example: If you embed a text field in an application, the text field itself may work, but it may not work anymore if a number field is built in above it. That's why it's our job to integrate the software modules into the UI and thus test the big picture in interaction with other things. To test in the UI, we also have to build our test apps ourselves.
What are common methods or procedures for testing software?
For us, quality assurance comes first. At the beginning of every release, we do a risk analysis to assess which and how many of the features are critical. We try to assess the effects of possible errors in the customer's software. Then we need to decide how much to automate and how much to test manually. We do feature tests in parallel with the actual development process. At the end of the release, we have a large number of regression tests; this means repeatable test cases. This ensures that no new errors have crept into existing parts of the software through modifications. Another option is to include use case tests in which a complete customer scenario is run through end-to-end.
How do you become a software tester? Which skills are important for this job?
THE classic software tester does not exist. But there are a few qualities that you should have to work in testing. You need an eye for details. Maybe this is also one of the reasons why my co-workers were so quick to nominate me for the position of safety officer. In addition, you should have a quality-focused way of working and be motivated to get to the bottom of things. A certain amount of flexibility and creativity is also required, because in an agile process like our development, there are always unpredictable things that can influence your work and force you to think outside the box. What is also necessary: good communication skills, because as a tester you are always in a lively exchange with other teams; at knowis mostly with Development and Product Management. Pointing out mistakes to people is often not the most rewarding task, so a little sure instinct helps a lot.
Do these qualities also influence what you do in your leisure time?
I do a lot of sports to balance my job: I regularly work out in the gym, go hiking or mountain biking. As you would expect from a computer scientist, I’m also a little nerdy: I am a gamer. But I am also a real family person and love to spend time with my wife, my brother – for example doing sports – and my parents.