Development

My experience with a coding bootcamp


It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up. Thinking back on the things I have considered, the common thing seems to be that I want to create. I have studied textile design and packaging design and at some point I wanted to be a baker or work with movies, you get the picture. Then two years ago I had to really rethink my working life and decided I needed a new challenge, a new start. That’s when I surprised both myself and the people around me with realising I wanted to become a developer. 

After a rigorous application process with tests, two interviews and a letter of motivation, I got accepted to a 12 week bootcamp in C#, with the promise of a job after graduation. It was a scary step to take, but I’m so glad I took it.

The bootcamp

The first three weeks were dedicated to the basics, like if-statements, loops, data types and classes, in a very high tempo. For each concept we would get a short lecture followed by related coding tasks. In those first days we could run through 5-6 new things every day. At the end of the third week we got our first group assignment, build a console app and of course all six groups decided to make some kind of game. My group did an ASCII Battleship game and even though it wasn’t pretty, it was so gratifying to make something that worked! 

After that every week we tackled a new subject, like SQL, Entity Framework and MVC. Now and then we would have a one-day focus on something like UX, Scrum or RegEx, along with lunch and learn sessions about softer skills, like communication and consultant behavior. One day we got to build a simple html site in pairs as an intro to git (with the goal to solve as many merge conflicts as possible).

Every week ended with a checkpoint, a test to make sure that everybody kept up with the pace. For some that sounds scary, but to me they were a great confirmation that I took in the knowledge for that week and could spend the weekend getting ready for a new week of information bombardment. 

During the last two weeks we did our final graduation project to tie all our new knowledge together in an actual product and at the end we had to present it to a panel of industry people. The project was just as much about working in a team and trying to work within Scrum as it was about the code. After that, we got to toast as graduated developers.

Now over a year later, these are some of the things I find myself reflecting over. 

Lifelong learning

I knew from the start that I would not know everything at graduation, rather I would know enough to get started as a junior developer and continue learning on the job. For me one of the greatest things I took away was the knowledge that I can learn anything. Even though the bootcamp was mainly in C# I could confidently say “not a problem, I pick up things quickly” in an interview for a position that was not C#. 

Peer-to-peer

We practiced pair-programming and were always encouraged to help each other out. For me explaining something to someone else will help me cement the knowledge in a much better way. It also created a great team-feeling where we all wanted success for each other, and no one was afraid to raise their hand and say they didn’t understand something.

Soft skills

Like I mentioned we were also coached in other areas needed to be a successful developer today. For a junior developer it can be those other skills that are going to set you apart from other developers with more experience than you. Because in the end it’s not always enough to know the technical part, speaking with customers (in a way they understand) or being a good teammate can be just as important.

Is it better than a university degree?

No – it’s just a different way to become a developer.

For me it’s two completely different things. In pursuing a computer science degree you gain deeper knowledge on the theoretical and high-level concept, and a bootcamp focuses on the practical skills you need to be a productive programmer. It all depends on who you are and why you want to become a developer.

Development

TIQQE leadership program


Last september we started the TIQQE Leadership program. In this post I am going to tell you about my personal experience and reflections I did about it.


Change is constantly in our life. You deal with changes all the time: in your job, in your everyday life and in your relationships, with others and with yourself. 
Everything changes, everything evolves and you can’t stop that.
The only way to not be left behind, stuck in your safe bubble you have hardly built, is to embrace changes, to be a part of them. 

Embracing changes forces you to continuously question yourself and actively decide to make actions that could lead to failure, loss or even force you to start from scratch, again. And sure, that can be scary but it is the only way to grow and to improve yourself.
Embracing and being part of change is fundamental in a developers life.
In fact, IT leads the evolution and in the last two decades we have witnessed a real and true revolution in the sector.
Software has pervaded our lives and reshaped them.

The way of developing software evolved, so did the role of the developer.
Working in a team, having good communication with colleagues and customers, feeling empathy, being flexible and able to adapt, listening and supporting, being nice, depersonalizing, taking responsibilities and having leadership skills, are all qualities that a developer should have to be successful. 

Mastering one programming language to develop a certain kind of product on a specific infrastructure is not enough and valuable anymore.
What is important instead, is the attitude to never stop learning, to start from scratch again with a new technology.
Being ready and prepared to challenge yourself is precious. 
Despite the name, soft skills are not easy to master at all, and in order to achieve some of them you really need to be prepared to work on yourself.
Not all the IT companies have realized that yet and above all not all of them dare to change.

Receiving the invitation to join the TIQQE leadership program was for me, like receiving a message saying “we believe in you, we are investing in you”.
That was really nice. I got really thrilled about the idea that I was receiving a great opportunity to work on and improve my soft skills.
The program had the aim of working and practicing with some really simple but powerful tools and making their use a habit, something that is a natural part of our way to work and think.
The tools give us the ability to see different perspectives and help to work on ourselves not only personally but also in a team context and in a company context.

The best part of the experience was for me, the possibility of sitting together in the same room and speaking about ourselves. It gave us the possibility of getting to know each other, and learning from each other. I thought a lot about what my colleagues have told during the sessions we had and I tried to bring some of their perspective in my life.

I think it was an amazing experience that gave me a lot and that showed me how much I can grow and improve both personally and professionally, for myself and for the people around me.

#theTIQQEcode

Have you found Your place?


I got the question, in connection with it becoming official that I would become vice president where I am now. Are you going to take your place now? What are you thinking? Will you step forward now and take your place?

That comment stuck with me. Step forward and take my place. I’m good. I’m tremendously good at my job. I am competitive, determined and over the years I have become better at running businesses forward than many men my age and in my industry do. Because I have to. I have worked all my working life in IT, which when I started consisted of less than 10% women and now stands at around 30%. I know budget, forecast on the penny when. I can see the goal that exists in ten to twenty years, make strategies for how we get there, I understand more technology than I need. I can work methodically and patiently, but above all I can see overall pictures. I have been involved in running projects worth many millions, I have worked with customers who turn over billions. I have been in smelters, traveled in mines that have more than 40 km of paved road underground, been with customers outside Sweden and gained insight into what strip mining is. My choice of profession has given me the privilege of working in Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Italy, Greece and the USA.

I have noticed a difference in how I look at a managers and leaders role compared to many. And that is that I am completely convinced that we must change how we look at successful leaders and how we create success.
How do you measure success? How do you know you have succeeded? When are YOU the BEST leader?
Is it when I get the Tag Heuer watch because I was elected Leader of the Year? When I get to talk to 700 people about my view on leadership? Or is it when I get to have my father, who in many ways laid the foundation for how I look at leadership, in the audience at a leadership event when I give a lecture on why I lead as I do?

Of course that means something to me and that I’m proud!
….but…
What really matters to me is when people I have around me and that I am responsible for somewhat feel safe and step forward. Take a step up and take their place. Dare to write the certificate with the risk of “failing”, challenge themselves to lead interviews with potential colleagues even though you do not yet see yourself as the fantastic role model you are, dare to expose yourself and your feelings for me even though we are at work, write fantastic blogs even though it doesn’t feel comfortable. When people know that every tag-line or word of value is for real and not just talk. I look forward to when we as “leaders” understand, right in the stomach and heart, that the only thing we have as our main task is to ensure that everyone around us who is on a journey to the next step, is given the opportunity to take that step. It’s not about strategies or hidden agendas. When we release, enable and see people’s potential, there is no stopping what will be achieved.

Having said that. I have taken my place 😊 The energy I get and my feeling of success is not in my title or position. It lies in all the people around me who take their place more and more every day. So today I want to thank ❤️
I want to thank those who let me find out what my leadership philosophy is and let me practice, fail and succeed over the years and I want to thank all the amazing people who work with me today. I’ll quote Buzz Lightyear.
❤️✨ To infinity and beyond ✨❤️

#theTIQQEcode

Leadership program at TIQQE

Why would a company at its right mind want to invest in a leadership program for all employees?

I am a people person. Throughout my whole career I’ve been working in the technology industry, and don’t get me wrong, I love technology and all things that IT enables, but even more I love the people that come with the territory and everyone’s little peculiarities. Because we all have them, our customers, employees, partners, friends and families. But the fact is that the more we know and understand each other, the little quirks that you perceive as annoyance transforms into likability. So to get there, we need to have a common ground on how we interact and communicate with each other.

We have a number of core values at TIQQE and we were born with a strong culture that we want to make sure that we maintain over time.

  • Awesomeness – Always make our customers heroes, our teammates awesome
  • Autonomy – Let the teams be self driven with the knowledge that they’ll always do what is right for our customers
  • Ideas over status – Anyone can have the best idea. Encourage bravery in all to present smart thoughts. And be prepared to change your mind, without seeing it as a defeat.
  • Courage – We want to challenge current “truths” to achieve new things.

This isn’t just important to us. It’s our highest belief that this is what will make us succeed in our joint mission to “create a company where we all want to work” that we never will want to leave and in just that small quote comes big responsibility from everyone. In order for us all to take charge of our own personal #theTIQQEcode. We’re doing this work. Simply because it is our responsibility as a company to assure that everyone has the opportunity to affect what we are and who we are. And we want to do it Together.

What if we all were leaders and How many leaders can a company have? Here at TIQQE we believe that we can have as many leaders as we are employees. Let’s start with the definition of a Leader, which of course can be very individual. Forbes published an article of the most essential qualities that define great leadership a couple of years ago. Here is some of the qualities from that article:

  • Sincere enthusiasm – True enthusiasm for a business, its products or mission cannot be faked.
  • Integrity – Whether it’s giving proper credit for accomplishments, acknowledging mistakes or putting safety and quality first. Great leaders always do what’s right. Even if it isn’t the best thing for the current project or even the bottom line.
  • Communication skills – You can’t accomplish motivation and inspiration if you’re not a good communicator. Nor can you underestimate the importance of listening, as an integral part of communication.
  • Loyalty – True loyalty is ensuring that all team members have the training and resources to do their jobs. It’s standing up for team members in crisis and conflict.
  • Decisiveness – You are willing to take on the risk of decision making, with the knowledge that if things don’t work out, you’ll be held accountable. 
  • Empowerment – A good leader has faith in their ability to train and develop the employees. Because of this, they have the willingness to empower those they lead to act autonomously. When employees are empowered, they are more likely to make decisions that are in the best interest of the company and the customer as well.

All of the above, is something that I don’t believe is my exclusive right as my every-day work. I am convinced that all of us that are employed at TIQQE possess this within, and we all matter and have a part in the above.  We are all leaders of ourselves and we all just have to practice on it to maintain it and get better at it.

Imagine the difference between one or two people defining the truth for a whole company, rather than the whole company defining what we want the company to be together. What would the difference be in commitment to the company, the mission and purpose of our business? We believe that the difference is humongous. That’s why we invest in a leadership program for all our employees. We’re building trust, practice how we communicate and how we can coach each other, discuss and practice different tools, experiences, life and work. So if you wonder what’s happening in our office one Thursday a month? We’re preparing everyone to be tomorrow’s leaders today.