Intel stands out when it comes to various career possibilities and employee development. We talked with Michał Szarmach, an AI frameworks engineer at Intel, who has been awarded the Culture Change Agent title and co-created the Career Spring initiative. He shared why he thinks that there’s always room for change and carving out a career that suits your interests.
Michał, what has your career path been like at Intel so far?
I’ve been employed by Intel for five years. I started out as a contractor and collaborated on testing Intel server motherboards—making sure that everything works seamlessly in large data centers. Then I moved from being a contractor to being employed by Intel, in a high performance computing (HPC) group. As a software engineer, I got to collaborate with a wonderful team on HPC solutions and we released a new version of software. After the release, it was possible to switch projects, as a new AI department was being established. I’ve been working in artificial intelligence for almost four years, and I specialize in Graph AI, which is artificial intelligence related to graph data. It’s a very prosperous and future-proof part of AI. I’m excited to work on its development.
This year you became a Culture Change Agent. What does that mean to you?
Intel employees choose colleagues who drive the change happening at the company. I was pleasantly surprised when I was awarded the role of Culture Change Agent. It means that my work for positive change has been noticed. Working on change can be summed up by the words of Heraclitus: "Change is the only constant in life." This applies to professional and private life. Finding out ways to be proactive, looking for what’s missing, what to improve and how to facilitate cooperation. These are topics worth raising because they don’t happen on their own. I’m glad that Intel is acknowledging that change is necessary and that it's happening.
You also took part in GIG, a program in which you can join a different department at Intel for a certain period. Would you tell us more about that?
GIG helps employees broaden their perspectives, skills and business knowledge. The initiative resulted from the need to support employee development. My GIG started for Business HR, where I supported the launch of the Warmline program at Intel Poland. Warmline offers employees guidance through challenges in their career. During my GIG, I also did an analysis of employees’ expectations and how their needs can be met. That led to delivering the Career Spring initiative, focused on sharing the possibilities and useful tools for career development.
What motivates you at work?
I’m motivated by the possibility of cooperating with extremely smart and talented people on a global level. Another motivator is a software development method that I also use in everyday life—the Scout Rule—“Always leave the campground cleaner than you found it.” When I’m working for a specific cause, it motivates me to see that something has improved thanks to my efforts.
And what do you value most about working at Intel?
I appreciate the organizational culture, openness, reciprocity and respect. Being able to learn and collaborate with interesting people who are experts in their field. Plus, Intel provides access to many free educational tools, knowledge, training and solutions. There are plenty of possibilities. This is something I appreciate a lot. Finally, the ability to work on various projects that are at the junction of different fields.
Do you face many challenges?
In my everyday work as an engineer, I would mention three key aspects: technical work, project management and team management. Each of these areas has challenges. Especially in AI, where there’s a lot of novelty and research—often the results are unknown. Project management is about making decisions and prioritizing goals, in a way that allows you to move forward. In team management, a lot depends on what’s currently happening globally and what cross collaboration is in motion. There’s a lot of aiming for self-organization, so that everything works smoothly. It’s also important to know how to talk to people, especially in international teams.
We know that no one lives by work alone. What do you do for fun?
At Intel, we take employees’ free time very seriously. When it comes to nurturing my mind daily, I like to learn. Not necessarily things related to my job. It relaxes me and brings me joy. Besides playing basketball, I think about the sense of existence in my spare time.
What would you say to people who are considering applying to Intel?
Intel is a global company working at the interface of many technologies, influencing the lives of millions of people around the world. If a person has a vision for themselves, there is a very high probability that Intel has an interesting opportunity for them. Intel works on hardware, software and specific solutions. Engineering, project management and people management—there are a variety of options. That also applies to current employees of Intel. We have programs like GIG, where you can switch departments, try something new. There aren’t many companies that offer such a wide field of choices. This sets Intel apart from others. And in relation to Career Spring and how people should view their careers—it’s worth proactively considering what we want to do and actively searching for it. You must invest time, but if something doesn't fit, you can change it. Always remember there are possibilities. Nothing is a given; you can always carve it out.
That is a good tip concerning career management. Would you like to add a final thought?
It’s the people who create the company, even if it's a global one that hires hundreds of thousands of employees. A lot depends on our individual activities and commitment, willingness to change and career development. We should always start with ourselves, from the professional and life point of view.
Would you like to start a career at Intel Poland? Find out more about available openings.
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