From studying at VAMK to working in top tech companies of the world. Pawel Kijowski is currently developing AR, VR and AI at Facebook.

    ”A dream that would not have happened without VAMK”

    • Bachelor of engineering, Information technology, Vaasa University of Applied Sciences 2006. 
    • Work history includes IBM, Samsung and Facebook in Finland, UK and US. 
    • Current work at Facebook. Started in 2020 at the AR/VR research center.  
    • Lives in Seattle, US with his wife and daughter. 

    The grey hoodie has “Facebook” written on the chest, a uniform essential to growing tech business workers during the last few decades. Pawel Kijowski, on the other hand, seems to be wearing it for the cosiness. He is a family man living in suburbs of Seattle and working for a social media giant Facebook. 

    – Facebook has a totally different approach to the recruitment process. First they hire you, an engineer, and after that they ask you what projects inside the company are you interested in. So you mold the job according your interests. 

    Pawel was keen to research and develop artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality, and that’s his job now. Facebook has a VR/AR branch in Redmond, Washington, which is also known for the Microsoft campus. The area is becoming a significant IT-hub, and Kijowski family likes it there. 

    – I have always wanted to try different things and move around. I used to live in Dallas for almost 11 years before moving to Seattle, so maybe it was just time to move on.

    Head start from uni

    Dallas was everything a young Information Technology engineer could wish for. The weather was warm, and Texas sky was high. 

    – I also met my wife in Dallas, and we bought a house, which was kind of a big deal for me. Perhaps that was the reason we stayed for so long. 

    The old roaming heart started to awaken, when Facebook continued wooing Pawel. So he decided to leave, for adventure’s sake, at least. 

    He had lived in Poland, Finland and Britain, and had the chance to work some dream jobs. For that he is grateful Vaasa University of Applied Sciences. 

    – Without VAMK, my dreams would not have come true. I have had a head start for my career because of the good education. 

    Pawel Kijowski has warm memories especially of inspirational teachers, practical training programme and the Technobothnia lab. 

    – The curriculum is planned to be actually useful for your future jobs. Technobothnia was fantastic, and I was amazed by it. We didn’t have those kind of labs in Poland where I came from. We could work on our ideas and projects and see them become real products. 

    Pawel first came to Vaasa as an exchange student. He was supposed to study at VAMK for only a few months but applied for extension. 

    Eventually he graduated from Vaasa in 2006 and never returned to Poland.  

    In Vaasa Pawel started working at Wapice, and after a little while he left for Britain to develop Symbian software for Nokia devices. 

    – It was a crazy time in the British job markets. You could just go and work almost anywhere with a proper degree, and I was valued for my studies at VAMK.

    Infinity and beyond 

    Having worked with Nokia software before, Pawel shortly proceeded to a programming job in Dallas. At Quick Office company he worked on an e-mail software for Nokia devices. 

    – I was young, single and adventurous, so I figured, why not? Pawel recollects. 

    During Dallas years, Pawel worked for a variety of big tech companies, including Samsung and IBM, until he caught Facebook’s eye.  

    – When I was a newly graduated engineer in 2007, all this seemed like a dream. 

    He sends his regards to those thinking about wheather or not to apply in Vaasa University of Applied Sciences. 

    – If you are wondering, the answer is yes. If you put some work into it, you can explore the world. There are companies like SpaceX looking for engineers and even sending people to Mars!

     

    Posted on 11/17/2021.

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