Ozobot Engineer Spotlight: Ladislav Láska

As Senior Embedded Systems Engineer, Ladislav Láska leads the electrical engineering team in Prague in researching and developing new products and oversees the integration of hardware with firmware and other software components. With Ozobot since 2016, Ladislav introduced numerous improvements to internal processes, such as the continuous integration framework for automated firmware testing and tooling for release management. He strives to continue making the team more efficient at development and problem solving.

Prior to his work at Ozobot, Ladislav graduated from Charles University in Prague and worked  as a software consultant specializing in embedded and open source software. We recently asked Ladislav some questions about his career, from how he got his start in CS, to what his biggest challenge has been, yet. Read on for his answers.

On what inspired him to start coding…

Before I ever learned how to code, my grandfather showed me how to build simple electronic circuits. I thought that everything that moved, blinked, or made noise was cool, so my grandfather’s apartment was full of homemade alarms, Christmas lights, cable cars across the living room, and similar projects. 

Later on, I was experimenting with computers – playing games at first, but fascinated by the ability to program them. First, Batch files, followed by QuickBasic, x86 assembly and a plethora of languages soon after. At that time, I could build way more complex projects on the computer than using the soldering iron. At one point, I found out what microcontrollers were–small processors one can program and connect other electronics to–and discovered you can get samples for free! I figured that learning C or other assembly language would not be that hard, so I got some and was hooked.

Later on, I did explore other fields of IT and mathematics, but stayed true to microcontrollers and electronic circuits in the field of embedded engineering.

A fun project he is working on…

Self-education, specifically learning Chinese, among other things. I didn’t appreciate that back in school, but later on I found out that learning new things is one of the most fun and rewarding things a person can do.

On the biggest challenge of his career…

I always thought that people were the biggest challenge. Engineering is simple in a sense, I only need to obey the laws of physics, everything else is under control. But convincing people or reaching an agreement in a wider group? That’s impossible most of the time. Take climate change for example. We’ve been talking for years about it, but didn’t agree on much more than, “We plan to have a plan.”

Fortunately, at Ozobot, this seems to be less of an issue, so I only need to care about the second biggest challenge, and that is the current shortage of basically everything the robot is made out of. This makes building new and existing designs very challenging, but I enjoy a good challenge!

His favorite thing about working at Ozobot…

Probably the diversity of work. That I can touch different aspects of development, including hardware, firmware, and other software tools. At the same time, the collective is the best I have worked in by far. Everybody is very professional, but communicative and friendly. 11/10 developers recommend this kind of work.

Stay tuned for our next Ozobot Engineer Spotlight to get a behind-the-scenes look at the people behind the bot! 

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