ArticleSeptember 20, 2022 · 4 min read time
Janne Hyvönen, a sports enthusiast and former Ironman national championship athlete, joined the Nitor team in Tampere at the end of February. What is it like to be a digital engineer in Tampere? Does he commute to work on foot, by bike or by swimming along the Tammerkoski? We interviewed Janne and asked him about his career and his first impressions of Nitor.
We were instructed to say ‘moro’ as a hello! How did you get excited about coding?
I started studying mechanical engineering at the Tampere University of Technology in the early 2000s and was very involved in automation. Back then, Excel was very popular, and I often came across problems that could have been solved through programming. That's really where my interest in coding came from.
Coding is constant problem solving and very rewarding when, for example, you manage to automate and make things easier. After completing my MSE degree in Mechanical Engineering, I completed a Master's degree in Computer Science.
In fact, we have several former engineering students from Tampere at Nitor. Do you have fond memories of those days?
The initiation ritual for the freshers to take a dip in Tammerkoski was perhaps the most memorable experience.
That's the kind of swim I'd remember. Apparently, the renowned Tampere-based musician Mikko Alatalo wasn't there to accompany your swim, though. What have you done in your career before you joined Nitor?
In the early days, I worked a lot with hardware. I think it's been useful to know the infrastructure, in essence. At the beginning of my career, I was mainly coding B2B software for industry but then I started to focus more on consumer projects. In consumer projects, you had to think about things like usability and visuals; it brought a whole new dimension to the work. Coding today is really people-oriented work. It's constant creative problem-solving. That's the coolest part of the job!
Sometimes I feel like I'm getting paid for a hobby I love...
Wonderful! I suggested to our marketing team that they make this a decorative board for all the people of Nitor. They never replied. How have you adjusted to the Nitor way of life and work?
I'm a fullstack developer in the project of our customer SOK, currently focusing more on backend systems, where AWS plays a big role. There are eight of us Nitoreans in the project. Remote working is smooth, as everyone has been used to it over the last couple of years. I always visit the customer in Helsinki or come by at Nitor's headquarters as needed.
We're still a small team in Tampere, but it's quite nice to be able to develop the office and activities together. It's been fun to see what the people in Nitor are doing during their Core time, and I've also been able to start my first core project.
(Ed. note: By Core time, we mean not only core training but also quality time that can be used to develop your skills.)
What is your first impression of Nitor? Any surprises?
Almost immediately after I started, we had a trip to Ruka together. The Prosecco Friday tradition is also a nice surprise! As a sports lover, I also enjoy weekly yoga and other sports activities together. The Core projects and the general focus on skills development at Nitor have also been a positive experience.
What convinced you that Nitor would be a good place to work for a developer?
During the recruitment process, I got really good vibes from everyone I talked to. I got a clear idea of what a job as a software developer at Nitor would be like. It felt like it was 'people first' and not 'numbers first'. That's probably the most important thing for me.
I also appreciate that there is time to develop my own skills. It was also a really good sign that the founders of Nitor are still working here and some of them also code every day. They really know what a developer's job is like.
We hear you are a passionate triathlon enthusiast. Tell us a bit more about your free time?
I exercise every day, either jogging or bodyweight training. I used to compete at the national championship level in Ironman competitions, but nowadays not so ambitiously. My latest hobby is learning to play the acoustic guitar, and in the summer, I roll up my sleeves and go to the summer cottage to plant potatoes.
Coding is also still an important hobby, and I have various ongoing projects. The cool thing about coding is that you can try different things and always learn something new. At the moment, I'm interested in Next.js and mobile applications, especially the new features of React Native. Machine learning and neural networks would also be nice to learn more about!
I feel that there are many similarities between triathlon and coding: both require perseverance. First, you have to complete smaller distances and from one stage to the next. I wouldn't recommend anyone to run a marathon cold, but if you train for a couple of years, you'll get the hang of it. A bit like a good wine, it takes time to get a good result.