Software Developer Hugo Constant

22 - 6 - 2023 - Career stories

From a French engineer to a Finnish-ish developer

Everything started at the end of my bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and industrial computing.

Software development

I was set for an adventure, one year of Erasmus exchange in Ireland to study the dream of many kids, software development with video game speciality. In the end, the studies didn't reach the high expectations I had. When graduating I closed my mind to software development as a possible career. Ireland gave me something else. What I could have not expected, was to meet an amazing Finn that would lure me to the North couple years later.

From Engineer to Developer

Back in France, I finished my studies in engineering and got into apprenticeship. Initially working in the industrial vision field, I found myself bathing in a toxic work environment which engineers are unfortunately prone to in France. I changed company mid-studies, after 1,5 years, mentally tired, trying to re-align my work with my interest in the Smart-Industries (industrial automation, SCADA systems). I had then my first exposure to a positive minded environment. This environment set very high bar for the next job. 1,5 years later, I graduated, my studies were over. I took the jump in the unknown and moved to the North to live with my Finn girlfriend.

Arriving in Finland, I found a job market much more hostile than what I was assuming. Speaking fluent English, but not Finnish proved to be a significant hindrance, coupled to only two years of work experience. I never got into a job interview for engineer positions although I applied to number of them. What I did receive, were interviews for developer positions. The problem was that I was a coder at hobby level, but not a professional developer. I decided to jump all in software looking back at my Irish Bachelor. I started an online Bachelor to specialize myself in Frontend development.

Becoming part of Insta

Mid-way these studies, I joined the team of Insta Digital. I was immediately integrated in the company and enjoyed the friendly and open-minded culture. Much the same I appreciated in my second apprenticeship in France. I started by doing support tasks on different projects, mentored by other developers. I familiarized myself with different frameworks, explored the full-stack aspect, discovered cloud solutions and DevOps setups amongst many more subjects. A whole new world.

My first full-time project was for a digital health coaching product as a frontend developer. We were a small team of three with a very active customer. It was a fitting situation for me to take my first steps as a developer using my past work experience. I worked with React, Node.js, MongoDB and AWS. My tech skills grew immensely thanks to being able to count on the other more senior devs to show me the ropes. I was trusted and later handed the project management and took a more fullstack-ish role.

As the project transitioned to maintenance mode, I asked to re-orient back on industrial subjects. I started on a gas distribution, monitoring and logistic product used in Northern countries. Following that I transitioned into my ongoing project, a material management and iron manufacturing program for a factory. Mostly as a Frontend developer with React, having some time to explore the .NET and Azure backend too.

I found here in Insta software consulting a similar culture, which I loved in France. We have possibility to grow our skills in any direction. On the personal side, I found a sticking together community and a desire to shape a great place to work. I was offered possibilities to grow, to meet others and to enjoy my working days.

A sea of possibilities

A self-directed environment like Insta Software consulting needs people to be active on the subside. I was more than happy to be able to add my brick to the edifice. Many extra-responsibilities are often open for people to grab them if they wish.

First, I started to support others as an AWS Admin. Initially only monitoring and learning few things about cloud services. Now additionally helping colleagues on their ongoing / birthing projects and improving our existing AWS structure. I also orient trainees and juniors when they show interest in AWS.

Secondly, I jumped into the world of recruitment. I review the code assignments, participate in interviews, and aim at offering a supportive recruitment process for candidates. Some of the applicants, just like me not so long ago, are self-learners and juniors. I am aiming at showing just a bit of help and sparring that can often get them very far.

Thirdly, we handle the onboarding of our summer trainees with few other colleagues. We welcome them in the work life and culture of Insta, help them take their mark and support them in their first steps in a professional project. My latest adventure is the growth coaching, our method of learning and development. After receiving so much support on my early days, I wanted to try to give some back.

In the end, I started only two years ago, I am still not sure where this career will lead me. It is a tree with many branches. I could push my focus on the technical side, specializing in a technology or spreading my knowledge and be a jack of all trade. I could also aim for a more management-oriented position, taking care of the customer handling and project lifecycle. All I know, is that I will be supported in Insta Software Consulting and offered the relevant opportunities for my next objective.

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Hugo Konttila

Hugo Konttila

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