Job title: CTO (Chief Technology Officer)
Employer: Forsight Inc.
Year of graduation: 2016
Supervisor: Professor Damir Seršić, Ph.D.
Study profile: Information Processing
Hello everyone, my name is Ivan Ralašić. I graduated from FER 6 years ago and then got my PhD 2 years ago. I currently work as a technical director at the American start-up Forsight, where we develop systems for intelligent video surveillance of construction sites and other industrial environments. In my spare time, I play tamburitza, ride my bike, and travel.
What are your responsibilities at your current workplace?
In addition to the position of technical director, I’m also a co-founder of Forsight. My tasks therefore also include the feasibility analysis of various technical solutions, communication with engineers and customers, practical work on the product itself, and much more.
When and how did you decide you wanted to work in the field you’re in now?
I’ve always been interested in technology. At first, I was more interested in audio production and sound editing. But during my studies, with the help of my mentor, Professor Damir Seršić, I turned to image processing and advanced information processing algorithms. At that moment, I discovered a whole new world. Through a combination of circumstances, I then received an offer to become a co-founder of Forsight and work on developing an initial solution in a related field.
What are the challenges you face in the workplace?
It’s often said that working in a start-up is a “rollercoaster ride”, and in my experience it really is. The situation changes from day to day and is very dynamic. This brings a certain amount of stress and uncertainty, but also an unusual satisfaction.
How did you find the jobs you did during and after your studies? What did your career path look like?
During my studies, I played in the tamburitza band Posegana, and that was both my main source of income and stress relief. During my undergraduate study, I did a summer internship at the company Stype and there I got to know “serious” work for the first time. After graduating, I worked as a Ph.D. student at FER, where I received my Ph.D. in 2020. In parallel with my Ph.D. study, I also started working at Forsight. Unfortunately, at that point, I decided to sacrifice my music career, but I’m very proud of the album we released under Croatia Records.
What skills and knowledge do you use in your work? Which of these did you learn during your studies and which did you learn independently of your studies or afterward?
Technical knowledge and understanding are very important, but at the same time, it’s crucial to have certain social skills. For my technical and social development, working in the Ph.D. programme with excellent people from ZESOI and especially with my mentor was crucial. I’d say that during our studies we collect pieces of a puzzle without having a concrete idea of how to use them. The moment we start working on real problems in practise, we can make wonderful things out of the collected pieces.
What advice would you give to students considering a career in your field?
Technology is changing the world and you can all influence what the future looks like. I wouldn’t say you should push the boundaries, because actually there are no boundaries!