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The Digital Engineers of Nitor: Jyri, Master of Arts, paddles on the waves of React

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December 16, 2022 · 5 min read time

Jyri Konttinen, Master of Arts, is an experienced graphic designer and a passionate user interface designer. This versatile digital pro has experience with startups, entrepreneurship, and design agencies. Today, his career as a digital consultant at Nitor allows him to grow as a professional.

Hi Jyri, what kind of work do you do at Nitor? 

Hi! I work as a Senior Digital Designer, which means I help my financial sector customer with the user interface design of investment tools. In practice, my work makes complicated things easier to understand for users, which is very motivating to me as a professional.

I work at my customer’s office about three days a week and otherwise at Nitor’s headquarters or my home office. My colleagues at Nitor who work for the same customer are definitely one of the best parts of my job. We share the same attitude and hardworking approach. I’m the only Nitor employee on my team, so it’s fun to sometimes go for lunch and peer support with them.

It sounds like you’re in the right job! You have considerable experience in different workplaces. How does your current work as a consultant differ from what you did earlier?  

I worked as a graphic designer at a design agency for 10–15 years, and I always got pretty excited when designing something digital, such as websites. At the agency, however, the projects were one-offs, and there wasn’t really any long-term ownership. But this changed completely when I became an entrepreneur and, later on, an employee at a startup.

Being an entrepreneur also allowed me to learn new things. Because I became increasingly interested in code and user interface design, I could design things like entire WordPress websites from start to finish by myself.

My career as a consultant at Nitor combines the good parts of all of the above. I can grow into the professional I want to be while capitalising on my strengths in long-term projects for customers. And on the other hand, I can also switch customers and projects according to my interests.

That is a very Nitor-style way to do things! What else do you think is part of a Nitorean Digital Engineer’s mindset? 

I don’t think of myself as some super designer who makes things look amazing with his divine vision. Instead, I see myself as someone who creates usability. Solutions must be genuinely practical. This is also the core of being a Digital Engineer: instead of blindly following fashion trends, we build long-lasting and timeless services and applications.

Digital Engineers have high professional morals. Thanks to that, we dare to be critical as needed so that the customer can get the best possible design or solution. An essential part of this is doing continuous validation instead of just creating something and hoping it will work. For example, the user interfaces I work on are diligently tested through all stages – including after deployment. If thousands or even hundreds of users do not understand a particular feature, it must be made easier to understand.

Pragmatism truly is a virtue. What has been crucial to you in your career path?  

Earlier, I mentioned my interest in becoming the kind of professional I want to be, and an essential part of that is having the opportunity to learn new skills at the workplace. For this reason, things like Nitor’s Core hours were a very attractive benefit to me already at the job interview. I remember asking if it would be possible to also grow as a Frontend Developer alongside my actual work. This turned out to be a perfect fit for Nitor’s way of thinking.

I have been learning about React during my Core hours for a year, and I still think it’s great that my employer supports me in learning new things. In spring 2022, we started an in-house mentoring pilot programme, and I got a Frontend Developer to mentor me as part of it. This massively sped up my learning, especially as React is sometimes quite curiously documented and not always easy to grasp for beginners.

Next, I will get to mentor another Designer who is interested in React and perhaps start working with my first customer as a Frontend Developer.

Jyri is an awesome colleague to have. He is a seasoned design professional who is curious and eager to learn new. A good example is his current enthusiasm towards learning React.

- Lotta Ahonen, colleague

Wow! Sounds like you have experienced a lot during your nearly two years at Nitor – and have also been able to develop your competence according to your wishes.

How do you find a good work–life balance? I assume you also have other things going on in your life. 

Yes, I have plenty to do outside work! I take care of my well-being by exercising, which I prefer to do outdoors and surrounded by nature. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I ran one marathon after another, which meant that I neglected my upper body slightly. Canoeing and climbing are my favourite sports, and they also happen to be great for balancing out the effects of sedentary work.

I also have a family, and I have to say that it’s been effortless to take my child to the dentist as well as run other errands flexibly during office hours. As long as my chores are broadly marked in the calendar, nobody is going to be constantly checking when and where I work.

And, of course, my colleagues at Nitor are a big part of my life, and we often gather at the office on Fridays. Catching up with them puts me in a good mood – it’s a little like coming home after a long week.

That’s lovely. Welcome home, Jyri! And thank you for the interview! 

Thank you! 

In this campaign, we’ll introduce Nitoreans in different roles. Every Nitorean is a Digital Engineer: a pragmatic and solution-oriented helper who doesn’t settle for assumptions. Instead, they take one step further to seek the right questions and even better answers.

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