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This interview is part of Careers That Travel on Travel After Five. Careers That Travel is an interview series where we feature people who get to travel for work.
1. What is your current job, and how does travel play into your role?
I am an ADAS (Advanced driver assist systems) Test Engineer, working for a company can be described as a driving force in the industry. In my job I develop and test features that not only help make driving easier, but also safer. Because of the nature of the work, sometimes testing on public roads with experimental software and hardware might not be safest thing to do, so I usually have to travel to test facilities (read – big boy car playground) in order to do my work.
2. What did you study in school, and what helped prepare you for this job?
I studied Electrical Engineering. From school, what helped the most was a bit of experience with physics, programming, signal processing, circuit design, and working with micro-controllers. I think my hobbies also helped prepared me for this job as well as there is a lot of driving on the limit involved, and the need for a solid understanding of vehicle systems.
3. What is the most exciting place that you have traveled to for work? Least exciting?
Most exciting: Japan! The size of Tokyo boggled my mind. And the Gyozas from Utsonomiya were to die for.
Least exciting: Middle of nowhere, Arizona, in a city that only has one restaurant.
4. What types of challenges do you face while on the road?
For me, the biggest challenge while traveling is finding time to address personal issues. Maintaining a work-life balance is pretty crucial element for a road warrior to get a grasp of. Things get especially hard if travelling M-F and say, you need to renew your license at the DMV which is only open M-F.
Another challenge I face is trying to be discrete about what we talk about in public. My company is always under the watchful eye of the media and we have to be careful about not slipping some juicy details out to inquisitive ears.
5. Do you get to travel with a team, or do you typically travel for work by yourself?
We typically travel in a team. The nature of the work involves more than one vehicle being tested, so for efficiency we bring manpower to help. Having a team around can be great for making the time go by faster. But on the other hand I personally like the convenience of eating wherever I want for dinner when I travel alone.
6. How long is a typical work trip? Do you ever extend your stay for personal time?
A typical work trip – 3-4 days. However I’ve spent over 3 weeks abroad before in Spain. If the place we go is exciting, then I will usually bring the wifey and take some time off to go exploring.
7. Do you have a home base, or are you completely remote?
My home base in the SF Bay Area! I try to work from home every chance I can get. Home-time is highly underrated these days.
8. How does the amount of travel you do change as you move up in this career?
Theoretically it should decrease, but so far it has only increased.
9. Does your company offer any benefits for being on the road?
No particular benefits, but since all expenses are paid for, that’s money that isn’t going towards food at home.
10. What advice do you have for someone who has to start traveling for work?
Pack light. Bring a switch with super smash bros. Call your significant other more. Explore. Try to enjoy it while you’re young and without kids. Make sure you download ALL the apps for every company that you will be using, and sign up for all the rewards programs before you even set foot out the door.
Do you travel for work? We’d love to interview you! If you are interested in being featured, please email [email protected].