My professional journey from mechanical engineering to management of digitalisation and data science programs

Jakob Hürner · June 14, 2021

Jakob’s Professional blog

Continue on paved roads …

As long as I can think, I am interested in understanding how the world and especially technology around me works. Coming from a region and family with long technical tradition, my path into mechanical engineering seemed quite natural to me.

One thing I was also interested in since very young age, was the rapid development in the field of personal computing and IT. Back then, however, I could not really connect the dots in order to bring the mechanical side and the IT side together … this happened later.

… or finding own new ways?

Already in my technical school at age around sixteen I identified another big passion of mine: what it actually takes to implement technology and technological innovation in positive ways in people’s lives. This spanned from organisational development, to product and information design as well as marketing aspects. The fact that almost nobody else in my class was interested in those aspects showed me that this might be “my” niche one day.

My studies of industrial engineering with a large share in business and management led me to a very exciting internship abroad and afterwards to a full-time employement in steel industry. My role offered great possibilities for learning and looking into various aspects of technology and especially management and leadership.

Connecting the dots

At some point the path I want to go became quite clear and I was able to connect the dots finally. In digitalisation management and especially data science I am able to bring together my strengths and interests in a unique way: be it IT and data, or information design, communication with people who come from “traditional” trades like engineering. As this field is not completely new but developed rapidely over the last years, there was a lot of uncharted terrain one could explore and make usable for people.

It required continuous learning, support of my employer, lots of exchange with many different people and simply … doing. But after all, I was able to successfully take this path into management and leadership of digitalisation with special focus on management of data science programs.

Lessons learnt

Key aspects this path has taught me are explained in the next posts 3 competences I could carry over from mechanical engineering, and 3 competences I had to learn new.

If you would like to read more of my blog, check out the list of posts here!