Ozobot Embedded Systems Engineer, Ondřej Pilát shares how he got started as an engineer, why he loves programming, and tips for aspiring engineers in this month's Behind-the-Bot.

Behind the Bot: Celebrate Engineers Week with Engineer, Ondřej Pilát

In honor of National Engineers Week, we’re thrilled to feature Senior Embedded Systems Engineer, Ondřej Pilát, in this month’s Behind the Bot.

A member of Ozobot’s Prague-based team since 2015, Ondřej serves as Senior Embedded Systems Engineer where he is responsible for programming the core functionality of Evo as well as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication in all Ozobot hardware. 

Prior to his work at Ozobot, Ondřej studied programming and embedded systems at Charles University in Prague. While at university, he was a key member of robotics teams and participated in multiple international competitions which fueled his passion for computer science. 

Read on to learn more about how he got started as an engineer, why he loves programming, and a few helpful tips and advice for aspiring engineers. 

What inspired you to start coding?

When I was 10 years old, my older cousin introduced me to a basic JavaScript code for how to build a popup box in a window. It was so incredible in those days to be able to create an output on a PC screen. Looking back now, it was so easy and uncomplicated but it was my first memorable experience with coding. From that experience, I began learning programming languages such as PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) and writing web pages.

What is your current favorite project?

There are always pros and cons to each project. Some parts of a project can be fun, while others are not as fun. For instance, fixing weird bugs without manufacturer support can be tedious. On the other hand, there are rewarding moments, like the first blinking of an LED or when a bot starts to follow a line. My overall feeling from work is positive, especially because teachers and children are benefiting from it. 

What has been the biggest challenge in your career?

The biggest challenge in my career was laying out the foundation for Evo and building it from conception to completion. It was my first big project immediately after I graduated from University. While I studied embedded systems and competed in robotics competitions, Evo was a much bigger challenge mainly due to the commercial size and scale of the project. 

Why do you love being an engineer at Ozobot?

I think the coolest part about being an Embedded Systems Engineer is seeing what you do in the real world. You can manipulate the physical world through coding, in the digital world. It’s an awesome feeling to see your programming work come to fruition and come to life, right in front you, in the form of a physical product. 

My favorite part about working at Ozobot is our talented and kind team. Having a group of nice and supportive colleagues is very important!

What advice do you have for aspiring engineers?

Engineering is not as difficult as it may seem. Just focus on learning one thing at a time. Knowledge and coding skills can be learned gradually with small and understandable steps. For instance, programming resources and platforms, such as Ozobot Blockly, can help build and advance your coding skills through straightforward and user-friendly activities. 

I saw a small snippet of JavaScript code for how to build a popup box in a window and now I am writing complex code for robots and smart devices. Stay the course!

If you’re curious about engineering and would like to learn more about Ozobot’s team of engineers and the type of work they conduct, check out our other Behind-the-Bot employee spotlights on the blog.

Stay tuned next month to get another behind-the-scenes look at the people behind the bot!

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