Backend developer at Qasa
"There's nothing quite like programming to make you feel stupid. But I think the reward is also that much bigger when you figure it out, conquer your problem and find a solution. You’re always chasing the satisfaction of solving problems. Being able to come up with a really neat solution to a problem that looks complicated when you first start it.”
Christian’s fascination with code goes way back. “In eighth grade, I got to try Basic. It just so happened that my school had a computer lab with this really old Swedish computer called ABC80, from a time when 16kb of RAM seemed excessive. Obviously, it was at a really basic level. I mean, ABC80 didn’t even have an operating system! It just had a screen and keyboard, you entered the code, pressed enter, and it ran your code.”
“As I was growing up, most people did not have a computer. My family did, because my mom was super convinced computers were going to be a thing in the future. So I definitely think she's to blame for all this.”
By high school, he had reconstructed his own home computer multiple times. “I like building electrical things myself. To me, there’s a sort of freedom in being able to make something myself that I’ve always seen as something that can only be made in huge factories by huge corporations.” As of late, Christian has been exploring 3D printers. “The first thing I 3D printed was the case for my keyboard, which is why it’s got mismatched colours.”
“Learning things has always been a passion for me. I want to know how everything works. And in this profession, that’s sort of what you spend most of your time doing. If you already know how to do it, then you’re done in five minutes; but most of the time you’re integrating with some new service you haven’t seen before, or delving into a new domain or software.”
Christian is currently part of the development team at Qasa as a Ruby on Rails backend developer. “Since I've mostly been on the backend/DevOps side in my career, they felt that I have useful experience and expertise to help them scale up their services and improve their developer experience.”
The most challenging part of being a developer? “Planning far ahead, as in, how much effort to put into doing things properly and making them future proof, and how much effort to put into just building something you can iterate on. During my career, there have been many times where I wished me and my team had spent more time trying to make things a bit better for the future and focus less on just delivering on time. Other times we should’ve just built something and moved on. I find it really tricky to predict, ahead of time, which is going to be which.“
Regarding the perks of being a consultant, Christian says: “Getting to try many different things is something to strive for, I think. It broadens your perspective, experience-wise. But most of the time you can learn more by doing the same thing in two different ways, than doing it in one way for twice as long. In other words, working as a consultant really allows you to see similar problems from many different viewpoints and contexts.”
Words of advice for someone starting a new assignment as a consultant?
“Try to get a feel for what the workplace is like - what your colleagues are like, how they do things - so that you can, in a sense, adapt to the way they run their shop. That way you can play along instead of just barging in and demanding that they change the way they work to fit you, unless you really feel like they're doing something wrong. It's a collaborative profession, so keep that in mind.
Especially as a new programmer, but also as an experienced programmer in a new position, it's easy to put too much pressure on yourself. It's rare to be expected to be very productive in the early days, but it's easy to forget that because you want to be on your best behaviour when you arrive.”