Christina Wulf (45)– Head of Section in Business relations and Engineering software, Lyngby
“I am always looking for the one per cent improvement"
Christina Wulf is COWI's software nerd. In fact, as Head of Section in Engineering software, it is her responsibility to make sure that all the software programmes, that we depend on as colleagues, are running smoothly. Every day, all year round. This is certainly a position for a person who thinks that most things can always be done a bit better. Here, you will meet a nerd who has filled her mind with this since she was a child.
As one of the few women within computer science, IT and coding, Christina is mindful of how her background has influenced her career. In fact, computers and programming have been a natural part of her life since she was very young:
“Both my stepfather and my grandfather introduced me to the computer when I was little. My stepfather brought me a Commodore 64, while my grandfather showed us how a printer could print a cat made from at signs and other symbols. At that time, this was incredible! As I got older, I hung out with a group of boys who were interested in computers, as I also got excited by the many opportunities that the computer could offer. I have always been good at maths – the logic and the structure within programming were just my cup of tea. This was confirmed when I began studying computer science," she says on her subject which, according to herself, has changed since then.
Even if Christina does not mind being thought of as a nerd, she dismisses the thought of IT and programming as nerdy and unapproachable subjects, which is the prejudice she often comes across.
“Actually, IT and programming have become more user-friendly in recent years, and there is way more focus on usability today, so you might say that the subject has become softer. This may originate from the fact that software has become a common item which is embedded in our everyday life. Therefore, this is also a very competitive area, which means that if something does not work for us, we quickly move on to something else. You might say that if an app or a website does not work, it appears unprofessional and slobby which makes us lose trust as users," explains Christina and reveals some of the things that makes her fond of geeking out with software:
“I love to optimise and make things smarter. I am always looking for the one per cent improvement – tweaking the details and making it a little bit better. It's important to me that we focus on creating value in the things we do. Every time we automate something or create an even better process, we release energy which we can use on other and more important things."
Having an eye for detail is one of the qualities that makes her an extremely good asset in COWI's organisation. She has always worked with software in one way or another and in COWI she is responsible for the centrally managed engineering applications (BIM and CAD solutions).
At the moment, she is gathering a team which will be responsible for software development. Up until now, she has been working on optimising the operation of third-party software development to adapt it to COWI's requirements. However, there has been a need for the development of more customised solutions:
"We see that there is an increased demand for custom build digital solutions. Development is a new discipline in Group IT, and we have the opportunity to really dig into the code. That is why we are currently working on finding new solutions in which we can support the new requirements."
It is a task in which Christina Wulf will need her background as a computer scientist and her new coming interest in behavioural psychology, which has been instigated through her management positions that are part of her CV:
“It is about being able to understand what is going on in another person's mind and how the other person perceives the world we are living in. I use this knowledge, both as a manager and when I work with software. In relation to our development project, I am the one who must find the right resources. At the moment, we do not have these skills in-house which is why it will be interesting to find these new profiles and make them part of our house. As part of the new venture, we are looking for a new Tech Lead for my team in Lyngby. If you would like to hear more about this, please send me an e-mail via firstname.lastname@example.org.”
What does the word nerd mean to you?
“To me being a nerd is a huge compliment, as a nerd is a person who is competent within his/her field and very engaged at the same time.
Which nerd do you look up to – and why?
“The people I look up to are not necessarily the sharpest tool in the toolbox within technology. To me, it is more impressive that they are persistent and keep fighting even if the odds are low. A man such as Nelson Mandela is a good example of a person who went all-in in terms of what he thought was the right thing to do."
What is the next thing that you would like to become better at – and why?
“I have taken some courses in negotiation technique, and I am looking forward to get out and practise this. I am responsible for some contracts and, in relation to this, I would like to land some good deals.”