Bogdan first learned of the opportunity to study and work in Denmark from a lecturer at his university in Romania. The lecturer had previously worked at Aalborg University and recommended that his students pursue their Masters’ degrees in the small Scandinavian country. The university, located in North Jutland, offered Bogdan and his fellow students the opportunity to pursue a higher standard of graduate education than possible in Romania, with more focus on the practical aspects of working as an engineer.
“We did more group work at university in Aalborg, as well as more ‘learning by doing’. I’ve really benefited from that in my working life,” says the 27-year-old Romanian, who immediately started looking for a job after his graduation. OJ Electronics was quick on the dial; only a few days after receiving his application, they invited him for an interview, and soon thereafter, he found himself with a permanent job and address in Sønderborg.
Bogdan has worked as a Hardware Developer at OJ since November 2019, a role that allows him to draw considerably upon the knowledge and skills he learned during his studies in Denmark, where he specialised in power electronics and drives. At a medium-sized, international company like OJ, employees with different areas of expertise often work on the same projects. You never work alone, explains Bogdan Urcan.
“For example, when a customer asks us to develop a certain product, we work on it together as a team. Colleagues from the sales department, from software and hardware development attend meetings with the customer to discuss what is feasible and to present related products that we’ve developed in the past. It’s important to have strong communicative skills in a group where everyone comes from different professional backgrounds.”
Bogdan enjoys the fact that at OJ, he’s not simply left to work in a bubble where a manager only drops by to hand off a never-ending stream of assignments. Instead, the young hardware developer is involved in OJ’s projects from the conceptualisation phase all the way to the selling and application of the product, which gives him a far better idea of the customer’s needs and wishes. This manner of working allows the customer to get to know everyone involved in the project, while also giving him the opportunity to highlight any potential challenges to the development process. This ensures that every angle of the project is discussed around the table from the very beginning and that everyone’s on the same page.
“Transparency is probably the best term to describe it. We discuss the customer’s wishes together; what are the alternatives? Can we do something more economically? We eliminate any potential misunderstandings. If, for instance, the sales staff promised something to the customer and we realised later that it would pose certain challenges, well, that would mean that we would end up making something that might be more expensive than what the customer agreed to pay for. That doesn’t happen at OJ.”
Collaborating with colleagues from different departments also gives new employees like Bogdan the opportunity to get to know their colleagues and how they work.
“We often discuss each other’s projects and help each other with feedback and input. For example, I may end up in a conversation with someone from the sales department or a product manager and learn something about a past project that can help me solve a problem I’ve been stuck on. They may also know something about the customer that I don’t.”
Although the young hardware developer is taking Danish lessons, understands a lot of Danish and has learnt the key word of Danish culture, “hygge”, it was not hard for him to settle in at OJ Electronics despite not knowing the Danish terms for things.
“If you speak English, there’s no problem. Everyone here speaks English, and they’re kind enough to speak English with you. And, of course, we don’t use titles – no Mr or Mrs. We call each other by our first names. I like that, but it’s very different to where I come from,” explains Bogdan.
The flat organisation structure at is also something that he enjoys about his workplace. Every day, his boss visits the department to discuss how things are going with the current projects and each of the developers.
“At first I thought he was dropping by to make sure we were doing our work properly. But eventually I realised it’s just that he wants to drop by to say hello!” Bogdan says, laughing.
Bogdan Urcan sees his work environment as having few bosses and management levels. It’s a workplace where anyone can ask anyone else for help without causing delays in the work process. Colleagues don’t tell you they’ll get to it next week; they’re ready to drop what they’re doing and help as soon as you ask. Bogdan also appreciates the flexibility of working at OJ. As long as you’re on top of your work, nobody asks questions if you leave the office early.
“I’ve heard a lot about the great things the Danish labour market has to offer. I really like how things work here. We’re serious when we need to be, but we also have fun joking around when we meet up at the coffee machine. Everyone is really nice to each other here. I know it kind of sounds like a fairy tale, but it really is true,” he says with a wide smile.
“I’m definitely planning to stick around. Why would I leave? It’s a workplace where I can get lots of experience and grow as an engineer and as a person.”