Sometimes, I feel like a kid in a candy store. But I also get all the great things that I need to do my best work.

Benjamin Wolf Senior Consultant

Benjamin Wolf

With INNOQ since 2017.

Working as Senior Consultant.

Benjamin, or Ben for short, lives with his wife and daughter near Ingolstadt. His passion for excellent coffee has earned him the nickname “coffee consultant.” As an architect and developer at INNOQ, he is mainly responsible for software quality and software development processes. Plus he’s a certified trainer for iSAQB Foundation Level and Advanced Level IMPROVE.

As a student, Ben enjoyed tinkering with computers, and his dream was to be a game developer – to spend the whole day designing and testing games. This original dream did not quite come true. But, luckily for us, he didn’t listen to his career advisor back then, who said “Whatever you do, stay away from IT, the market will be oversaturated and you won’t have any prospects.” Instead, he chose to study computer science. At that time, his idea of a career in computer science was a bit different: “Doing something technical and having as little interaction as possible with other people.” His younger self would be surprised by the fact that, today, he is extremely interested in team development, enjoys sharing his knowledge with others, and has become a real team player.

During my studies, I realized that doing things together is cooler than doing them by yourself.

After completing his degree in computer science, he started his career at the Fraunhofer Institute in Nuremberg. He had already completed an internship and written his diploma thesis there. During these six years as a research associate at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS), he was introduced to the topics that he has worked with ever since: software architecture, software development, and software quality. At the same time, he also completed a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. During his time at the Fraunhofer Institute, Ben also realized for the first time that developing software as a team was much more fun than working alone. And that it was easier to ask his team members for their opinions than to bulldoze over others in order to get things done his way. Plus, he discovered how much fun it can be to interact with clients at trade fairs like CeBIT.

Ben steht mit dem Rücken zur Kamera in seiner Küche und bereitet Kaffee zu
Ben öffnet eine Tüte Kaffee und riecht an den Bohnen

With these key realizations, Ben had a successful start with his new employer, an automotive service provider. Here, regular interactions with customers were a matter of course, and issues were deliberated and decided on as a team. Not only did this work well for him and his team, but it was also efficient. As a result, Ben wasn’t looking to change jobs any time soon. The fact that he came to INNOQ after just two years was due to a coincidence: He first heard about INNOQ at a conference. It was a company that he had never heard of up to that point, but that he found extremely interesting.

Starting at INNOQ was a culture shock for me.

A few months later, Ben decided to apply for a job at INNOQ. Both sides were quickly impressed with each other, and Ben signed his new contract shortly after the first job interview. As he says, what he liked most were the attitudes of his future coworkers and the freedom that was offered to him. At his previous employer, all of the processes were highly structured. There was little space for individuality. For this reason, at the beginning, he was somewhat overwhelmed by all this newfound freedom at INNOQ.

His start at INNOQ was definitely a jump into the deep end. Before his first day of work, he was invited to attend a company event in Scotland. This gave him a chance to meet some of his new colleagues at the airport and during the event. People whom he had never met before, and whose names he only knew, in some cases, from reference books. That was a bit intimidating at first, even though everyone was “super nice,” says Ben. The chat system that is used across the entire company also required him to summon his courage initially. As he says today, everyone could read what he wrote, so the pressure was on to write something intelligent, plus he didn’t want to bother anyone.

Familie auf dem Sofa
Die Familie spielt zusammen

Ben also had to get used to the fact that everyone was able to choose their own hardware and working materials based on their needs. And to the fact that he would not be working on concrete customer projects at first. Simply trying things out, not having any time pressure, preparing presentations, and attending conferences – for Ben, this was a new way to work. It took nearly a year until he had internalized the motto “don’t ask, just do it.”

Suddenly, I was in a much more diverse environment.

The working environment was also different from Ben’s earlier jobs. He had gone from male-dominated workplaces with little diversity to an extremely diverse organization. Ben says that this new working environment allowed him to develop his communication and interpersonal skills. Thanks to the open exchange with his colleagues in Munich, the respectful communication practiced across the company, and the opportunity to attend an iSAQB Advanced Training SOFT, Ben was able to learn lots of soft skills and new strategies that have also helped him in his dealings with clients. Ben is no longer an isolated techie, but rather a person who listens, communicates consciously, and addresses other people’s needs.

Ben und seine Tochter entdecken während des Spaziergangs etwas am Wegesrand
Doppelschaukel. Mutter und Tochter schaukeln nebeneinander. Ben steht daneben

I went down to working 32 hours a week in order to help my family.

For most people, the birth of their first child is a life-changing experience. But Ben’s daughter had a difficult start to life – she was in a great deal of pain and had several hospital stays. For this reason, instead of being a restful hiatus for him and his partner, Ben’s parental leave was marked by worries. Due to the pandemic, he worked from home after his parental leave ended. While this allowed him to be there for his family, day-to-day life with a crying baby, running back and forth to doctors trying to find the reason, robbed the family of strength and energy. The first bit of progress came after nine months when the family saw an osteopath who specializes in infants: “We got home, carried her out of the car in her car seat, and out of nowhere she laughed for the first time in her life!”

Ben sitzt am Schreibtisch und sortiert Magic-Karten
Ben sitzt am Schreibtisch und sortiert Magic-Karten

And yet, to this day, every step forward in her development and every new phase has been a challenge. For this reason, Ben decided to reduce his working time to 32 hours a week. The managing directors and his team were all extremely understanding. And, taking a month of unpaid leave every now and then has not been a problem, he says. This gives him enough time to support his family and also advise his clients. The only things he has less time for, unfortunately, are internal projects and discussions with colleagues, something Ben regrets.

When I’m making coffee, I can switch off and relax.

During stressful phases in particular, it’s important to find a balance. However, during the pandemic, Ben was unable to pursue many of his hobbies, such as meeting “Magic: The Gathering” groups in other cities, playing table tennis, or practicing karate. As a result, he dedicated more time to his passion for excellent coffee, delving deeper into the subject and learning how to prepare the perfect cup.

Ben bereitet Kaffee zu
Ben macht Latte Art

Here, he once again had an aha moment when it came to the topic of choosing your own “hardware” at INNOQ: At his suggestion, the old fully automatic coffee machine at the Munich office was replaced with a portafilter espresso machine. The only condition was that Ben would have to take care of the machine, and he has been all too happy to comply. In the meantime, he is proud of his nickname – the “coffee consultant” – and has even found a small network of other coffee nerds at INNOQ that he can talk to about various preparation methods and terroirs. He even held a talk on the topic at INNOQ Technology Day, and he has already signed up for a course on latte art in his free time.

I want to help other people to become better.

The topic of further education is also important to him when it comes to professional knowledge. As a certified iSAQB trainer, together with his colleague Markus Harrer, he teaches courses on the basics of software architecture at the Foundation Level and on the evolution and improvement of software architectures in the Advanced Level IMPROVE module. He is currently planning to get his ADOC (architecture documentation) certification. His primary motivation is to show course participants tools and methods that are new to them and help to improve their work and make their lives easier. When he can see the penny drop, when people want to put their new knowledge to use immediately, when they give him positive feedback after a course – for Ben, that’s the most rewarding part.