Alva Olsson, Systems Engineer

Alva Olsson, Systems Engineer

Is it really possible to combine a career in engineering with being an elite athlete? Sure it is – at least if your name is Alva Olsson and you work as a Systems Engineer at NIRA. Here’s how she manages to juggle training camps, competitions abroad and advanced software development for the demanding automotive industry.

I first got into orienteering when I was eight years old. I remember joining my brother on one of his trainings, and … well, it’s safe to say I got hooked. To this day, orienteering is an important part of my life, and since 2013 I run for the Swedish National Orienteering Team. Right now my major goal is to compete in the World Orienteering Championships 2017.

Alva Olsson, Systems Engineer
As for my professional life, I’ve worked as a Systems Engineer at NIRA for a little over two years, and I can say that the role is very varied. If I’m working on a customer project, like the one I’ve been involved in with Audi for instance, a lot of my time is dedicated to customer contact. But if I’m working on an internal project, like I am right now, I spend more time troubleshooting, doing bug fixes or writing functional tests. All in all, I would say that as a Systems Engineer at NIRA I am constantly faced with new challenges, with lots of opportunities to learn and grow.

Another thing I really like about NIRA is the freedom I have to work my own hours, as this of course makes it a lot easier to manage my everyday training schedule – I do, after all, often spend around 14 hours a week training. I also feel that NIRA appreciates me being an athlete, and so it’s never a problem to go away on a championship for a while.

In some little way I think that the time I spend orienteering even helps sharpen my engineering skills. Like engineering, orienteering requires both logical thinking and problem solving skills, and of course you’re always trying to find the optimal route to reach the goal. So I would definitely say that there’s a correlation between the two.