The first time I saw my simple piece of code successfully turn into a draft of a website, it truly tasted like a victory: problem-solving has been at the core of my daily work from the very beginning.
But let’s rewind a little – after all, I was never meant to be a software developer…
I have always enjoyed visual and creative work, which is why after high school I decided to pursue a degree in audiovisual communication. Photography, video editing, graphic design… these were some of my personal interests I wanted to learn more about!
During my studies, we had to take a few beginner courses in coding to learn about the basics of HTML and CSS – I still remember how frustrating it was at first. However, I slowly started to get a grip of it. The code “obeyed” me: I was able to make a specific shape in a specific color just by writing a piece of a code.
After getting my degree in audiovisual communication, I continued to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in IT and Business, while simultaneously taking the first steps of my professional career as well. I tried my wings as a web designer and a content editor, before becoming a software developer trainee.
Kati Räsänen, Software Developer at Telia
Yet, the learning truly started after I finished my studies. I joined a team and company that was coding with React and creating an internal component library – and a great team it was. I had awesome mentors that helped me to learn and grow, and showed me what the work of software developers really consists of.
I joined Telia in 2018, and the first 1.5 years I worked with a similar component library as before. Telia had a vision for the library to grow into a Design System, and based on my experience I recommended building a dedicated team around it and jumped in as the first full-time team member. Nowadays, Telia’s Design System is a global system used in many European countries. It was so great to be a part of it from the very beginning!
One of the reasons for joining Telia in the first place was the possibility to make something concrete for real customers. Telia Dot, the team I currently work with, is a great place to fulfill this ambition. We build a mobile application and services for tens of thousands of users, and the features we create go rapidly to the market.
“One of my reasons for joining Telia in the first place was the possibility to make something concrete for real customers.”
My job as a software developer now is to ongoingly improve and develop the Telia Dot mobile application and the features it provides, but our Telia Dot -team consists of design experts, marketing gurus, customer service, and many other professionals as well. We all work in sync: our customer service provides us with direct customer feedback if something’s not working as expected, and our data analyst tells whether our latest product release was a hit seller or not. Working closely with the team is definitely the best part about my job and after the long remote working period, it feels great to finally work face-to-face again.
I don’t consider myself a risk-taker, but at my current position, I have caught myself often saying yes to new opportunities. I have substituted for different roles and been a part of different projects that at first were out of my comfort zone. Truthfully, I sometimes found myself wondering if I was really able to complete the new tasks…
But so far, I have survived every single one of them. Again, thanks to my colleagues for seeing something in me and giving me the opportunity. At school, we tend to learn the basics to fulfill a given role: but within teams, our colleagues can teach us so much. Mine have helped me tremendously over the years!
“I am looking forward to finding my own “full stack”: it is impossible to learn everything, so I want to find my own perfect combination of coding skills.”
It has been five years since I graduated, and I still feel like I am in the beginning of my journey as a software developer. I am looking forward to finding my own “full stack”: it is impossible to learn everything, so I want to find my own perfect combination of coding skills. Besides developing myself as a programmer, another thing I am looking to improve is the ability to give myself a little break sometimes. There are so many coding languages, frameworks, tools and techniques and on top of that, technology is developing rapidly all the time – it gets overwhelming sometimes, and I catch myself suffering from impostor syndrome. Talking to my teammates usually helps: it gives me some mercy to realize that I am not the only one tackling these issues. We cannot know what technology is like in five years, so we are all facing the unknown just the same.
Back to the beginning – I was never supposed to be a software developer. Along the journey, I have realized that there are many girls and women who think the same way because of certain stereotypes and misconceptions about coding. It is so important to have people of all kinds in programming, because we have different kinds of end-users: if we all thought and created the same way, our solutions would only serve those exactly like us.
Kati Räsänen, Software Developer at Telia