Developing the Software That Drives the Mitte Machine: Meet Our Embedded Engineer, MarioMitte News
Last April, Mario moved from Cape Town to Berlin to join Mitte and our mission to bring healthy hydration to everyone.
With his background in Electrical Engineering and Programming and his passion for electronics, he is helping us put the intelligence into our smart water machine.
Find out more about what drew him to Mitte, what he is currently working on, and what he looks for in new team members.
How did you discover Mitte and what made you want to join?
I was contacted by Hitalent.co who introduced me to Mitte. After they explained what Mitte was trying to do, I just did not understand why anyone would want to make a home water purification machine for developed countries in the EU and for the US, as I thought tap water in these countries must be 100 percent safe for consumption. I took some time to read up on it, then found out that water quality in some of these countries wasn’t so great, also found out about microplastics and the impact that single-use plastic water bottles have on the environment.
But most importantly, I thought of the impact that this type of machine could have in so-called under-developed countries where the quality of drinking water is really not good.
Also, as an engineer, I have a personal interest in being involved in the development of a product from start to finish.
“I’m talking about Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AWS IoT cloud services implementation. Basically all the cool stuff!”
What’s a typical day at work for you?
We work in sprints, so my day starts with a team stand-up meeting in the morning where each team member briefly talks about the task(s) they’re busy with and whether that is going well or whether they need help with anything to keep moving.
As we’re still in the development stage of our products, the greater part of my day is spent actually implementing specific functionalities for our machine as assigned to me at the beginning of the sprint. This involves reading documentations, running demo firmware code, developing new firmware code and doing functional testing of new firmware code on our hardware.
I also spend some time during the day reviewing the work of other Embedded Engineers and also attending the occasional meeting.
What project are you currently working on?
The Mitte machines are smart or connected devices, think IoT! They need to communicate with the Mitte mobile App as well as the Mitte back-end platform. I’m currently working on the connectivity functionalities of our Mitte Home machine. I’m talking about Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AWS IoT cloud services implementation. Basically all the cool stuff!
Has the current pandemic affected the way you work at all?
Not really. The nature of the tasks that I’ve been busy with during this pandemic do not really require face-to-face interactions with other people or access to our lab at the office. It’s been just fine completing these tasks from home. Our routine online check.ins on the evolution of the work have been sufficient.
Which qualities do you look for in new team members and what is one of your favourite interview questions?
I like new candidates to have some personal interest in our products or mission, and they should also communicate well.
During interviews, I like asking candidates to relate any first-hand experience they have had working with professionals from disciplines that are totally different from theirs. For instance, if the candidate is a software engineer, I want to know their experience, if they have any if they’ve worked with mechanical engineers, and vice versa.
Did you always want to work as an Embedded Engineer?
I have fiddled around with electronics since when I was a kid. When my father realized this, he decided to put me in a Technical High School, where I studied electronics. Later on, when I went to university, I discovered programming and I liked it too! So I tried to find a field that somehow combined both electronics and programming and that field is basically Embedded Systems Engineering. So yes, this is what I’ve always wanted to do.
How would you describe the culture at Mitte?
Mitte is international. The team is made of people from all over the world. People at Mitte have different professional backgrounds, a varied skillset, and strive to get things done. The environment is super friendly and there are also various social gatherings that are pretty nice.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I am not a natural morning person.
What brought you to Berlin and what is the biggest difference between your hometown Mbujimayi (DR Congo) and Berlin?
There is this reputation about “German Engineering” being the best in the world, especially where I come from. So apart from the fact that I liked the idea of getting involved with what Mitte is doing, I also thought it would be pretty cool to practice Engineering in Germany.
As for the difference between my hometown Mbujimayi and Berlin, well I first need to mention that I spent all my childhood in Mbujimayi in the DR Congo but all my adult life before coming here, I spent it mostly in Cape Town and a bit in Durban, both in South Africa.
As a child in Mbujimayi, you belong to the whole community – literally. Anyone older than you is either your big brother, big sister, uncle or aunt. And you respectfully address them as such. They have the right to ask you to do things for them, they can tell you off and some will even whoop you, and your parents say nothing! I don’t think Berlin has that level of belonging.
Last but not least, how do you stay hydrated?
I drink beer. And water 🙂
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