October 18, 2018

On the road to code: A summer trainee tells all

TIVIA, the Finnish Information Processing Association, estimates that right now Finland needs another 7000 software development pros. By 2020 that figure is expected to more than double.

nikke

Simply put, coders are in hot demand. Consequently, as soon as they leave university they can expect to get inundated with a ton of offers. So, what should a junior developer eager to get cracking on a career look out for in an employer?

To find out we sat down with Nikke, a trainee who joined us for a couple of months this summer. Nikke started coding for kicks when he was just twelve, beginning with traditional static HTML before getting hooked on C++. Then a school work experience placement showed him the delights of JavaScript.

“After that I never looked back,” he says. “Now, I’m one of the world’s totally self-educated coders.”

United through recommendation

While looking for a summer job, one of Nikke’s friends recommended Kodan to him. “He told me you guys were clued up and highly skilled,” Nikke says. “It was a happy coincidence, because I didn’t know about the company before.”

But did our reputation live up to the hype? One of the things, we believe, that makes Kodan such a rewarding place to work is that we give people responsibility early on. Over the summer, Nikke worked on two different projects. One was totally tailored to his needs to help him develop his skills. The other gave him the chance to learn some totally new tech.

Big data, big challenges

“In my first project, I managed large amounts of data and combined it from different sources. I really wanted to do that because in my own projects it’s hard to generate big data,” he explains. “The tool was for a big media company and it was great to do something practical that would really benefit people.”

The second project was arguably more challenging as the technologies weren’t just new to Nikke but to the entire team too. Thankfully, Nikke was undaunted and accepted the challenge with real enthusiasm, while exploring a whole new world with the team. Our collaboration worked a treat from both our perspective and his, but were there any surprises?

“I was surprised by the openness and lack of bureaucracy, in a good way. And it was ace how quickly I was accepted on the team even though I was ‘only’ a summer worker,” says Nikke. “My contribution felt appreciated and my opinions and questions were taken seriously. I really felt like I was part of the Kodan family.”

nikke

Respect is the name of the game

We’re very enthusiastic making people feel at home and showing their work is valued. In short, our aim is to create cool things and have fun while doing it. A key part of that is treating everyone with respect and showing interest in them and their projects.

This attitude seemed to rub off on Nikke, too. His key takeaways included that you should “be interested in everything you do, because in this field you’re very much responsible for learning all the time.”

On top of this, Nikke also gained heaps of self-confidence. “Trusting myself was perhaps the most important lesson I learned. Initially I’d fine tune every detail for ages, wanting everything to be perfect,” he says. “However, after a couple of weeks I relaxed, which helped my coding a lot.”

Helping up and coming talent like Nikke to get a taste of life at the cutting-edge of coding is always super satisfying. There’s really nothing cooler than seeing a young coder earn his wings. We’re pleased to hear that the feeling was mutual, because when we asked Nikke about his future plans, he replied: “When I finish secondary school, I’d love to come and work at Kodan.”

We’re always keen to make dreams come true, especially for coders as talented as Nikke. So, the happy end to this story is we hired Nikke to work for us on an hourly basis. Now, he can do as much or as little work as he likes. That way he gets to learn on-site skills, while ensuring he has enough time for school. And we get a super talented guy on the team. In short, everyone’s a winner, and that’s just how we like it.

So, if you’re looking for a flexible way to develop your skills with a top team, you know where to come. Just ask Nikke.