For a good two and a half years Kowatsch has been working in the international environment in Heidelberg. Through the monthly job newsletter of the Carinthian University of Applied Sciences, Kowatsch found a vacancy as a software developer at the Institute of Geography at the University of Heidelberg. From the initial university project the independent company "HeiGIT" gGmbH developed in July 2019 (heigit.org).
"The combination of the theoretical basics of geoinformation, as well as a profound programming education in Java at the Carinthian University of Applied Sciences at the Villach campus perfectly fitted my future tasks in Heidelberg". In addition to the student training, professional experience at KELAG Wärme GmbH in Villach and the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) in the course of internships were additional guarantees for acceptance in Heidelberg. After a six-month stay at the San Diego State University in California, where he worked on his master's project, he moved to Heidelberg one week after his successful completion of his master's studies at the beginning of October 2017.
Fabian's everyday working life is quite varied. One of his main tasks is programming a Java-based web interface (ohsome.org) to provide various analysis functions for OpenStreetMap (OSM). Thanks to his proximity to the university, he is also able to give lectures. The seminar "Geodatabases" was successfully held by him and other colleagues in the last two summer semesters for Bachelor and Master students of geography. "It is a very interesting experience to be 'on the other side'. In the winter semester 2019/20, I held a beginners' course for Java together with a colleague, which we had completely reworked. Putting together a new course is a challenge, but I simply enjoy imparting knowledge to students". Writing scientific papers and giving lectures at conferences (e.g. AGIT30 in Salzburg, FOSS4G in Bucharest and State of Map Conference in Heidelberg) are other exciting activities.
Away from work, his German place of residence, the 160,000 inhabitant city of Heidelberg, has a lot to offer. "Apart from weight training, I have also found my way back to an old hobby here in Heidelberg: dancing. Furthermore, I was able to get to know a completely new and interesting sport with rugby, but so far only in the spectator stands". Fabian's private life is also very busy: "Last December my girlfriend moved from Italy to Heidelberg. We are very happy to be able to connect our centres of life here".
Although he often misses the beautiful mountains and lakes of Carinthia, he does not regret his decision. "As long as you are still young and have no obligations, you should take advantage of the few opportunities and gain experience abroad. In my opinion these are priceless.
"Finally, I would like to thank the professors and the eager scientific staff in Villach, whose education has made my current life in a vibrant, international city possible. I'm sure we'll meet again at one or the other GI regulars' table".