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Working at Image Systems

I have spent a considerable part of my adult life (around two years) working at Image Systems, mostly during summer vacations, but also one whole year full time and occasionally shorter periods during the semester. This has gone on for about ten years, but still I don’t think I’ve written a single line here about the company or what I do there. Considering that many people ask me what it is that I do, a post to briefly explain my job seems appropriate.

To start with, I’d like to introduce the company. It’s called Image Systems AB (see the website if you’re really interested) and is based in Link√∂ping, Sweden. We do two things here: software for analysis of film from high-speed cameras (such as are used in crash tests, for instance) and a film scanner for digitising of film. I’ve done a lot of things during my time here, but it mostly concerns evaluating how well new functions correspond to customer demand, make sure the software is running smoothly in general and some miscellaneous tasks. The problem with these programs is that they are so complex it’s impossible to test everything before a new release, so that’s mainly when I’m needed.

This simmer is a little bit different, though. Since at least one of the programs is fairly hard to understand and has an extreme number of functions, it’s very hard for inexperienced people to help the company test the software. Also, it’s difficult for veteran testers to make sure they actually cover the important parts of the program and don’t miss out on anything vital. Thus, I’ve been assigned the task to do a number of things, depending on how much I can manage before I leave for Taiwan again: compile an intelligently structured list of all functions, combine those functions into test scenarios and prepare test material to facilitate those scenarios for future testers. I’m pretty sure I won’t have time to do all of that, but I hope to produce some useful results before the summer is over.

In general, working here has been very good for me for a number of reasons. First, it has allowed me to avoid all student loans (and I might yet survive my entire education without them). Second, it’s given me invaluable work experience, because even though all companies are different, I know how this one works and I know what it means to be employed for more than just a couple of weeks. Third, considering my long education, it’s nice to have some contact with reality; here I’m actually adding something of value and not just learning. I like Image Systems and I hope I’ll have the opportunity to continue working here in the future.

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  1. greg scott’s avatar

    Hi Olle,

    I could not find your email address under contact info.

    Please send a one-liner email to c64@comcast.net, then I will reply with some comments on your website.

    cheers,
    greg

    Reply

    1. Olle Linge’s avatar

      Comments are always welcome! It’s odd you couldn’t find the address, though. It is listed under contact information on the about page. I’ve sent you an e-mail now anyway.

      Reply

    2. greg scott’s avatar

      Olle,

      I forgot to ask about unit testing: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_testing)

      What language are the programs written in?

      There is JUnit for Java: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JUnit), and CXX for C++.

      If you don’t already know all about unit testing, you would probably enjoy learning about it. You might then ask the programming staff what their plans are to implement unit testing. The testing difficulties you cite are a blatant call for unit testing.

      cheers, greg

      Reply

      1. Olle Linge’s avatar

        I’m no programmer myself, so most of the article is beyond me. However, I’m pretty sure that any attempt to implement such a thing would be desirable, but highly unlikely to happen. The company only employs around fifteen people and all programmers are constantly busy developing the software. Doing something systematic throughout the system would require a huge amount of work, work that nobody would be prepared to pay for (while the current system does require testers such as myself, but apart from that seems to work rather well). It should be said again that I don’t know enough to evaluate unit testing. My guess that it would entail too much work that nobody is prepared to pay for. Sure, it might pay back in the long run, but sadly, that’s not how things for such a small company.

        Reply

        1. greg scott’s avatar

          Olle,

          A very savvy assessment.

          Based on everything I’ve read on your website, I know it is not beyond you to learn about unit testing. However, it may not be worth your time, since you have other projects.

          Reply

          1. Olle Linge’s avatar

            Yes, I think I could read about it and learn what it means, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be useful here since it would be too a big project to implement (and I can’t do it myself). People are busy as it is. :) Thanks for the link anyway!

            Reply