Why understanding business makes you a better developer
Let me start with a brief introduction where I came from and how I got to where I am today. Early on, when I was roughly 7 years old playing Commodore 64, it hit me hard and clear. “This is something I want to work with in the future.” So I spent my childhood doing normal teenager stuff (not gonna share dirty details 😜) and graduated as a Bachelor of Science-oriented in software programming.
I started my career as a developer fresh and hungry to learn and keen to see what it has to offer. Like almost everyone else back in those days, I went to work for Nokia. New mobile devices and applications. It was something I only dreamed of when I was younger. Working with music and video players, Nokia stores, book readers, Spotify. I didn’t know anything else other than coding. But it didn’t matter until the day came that Nokia shut down most of their sites and our project as well. I understood why. Tangible results were not being produced. We spent time, and a huge amount of resources, but didn’t get things done fast enough.
I had made some contacts while being at Nokia and these connections led me to another job at Osuuspankki. I started to learn Android. I had a team to work with. It was all very different from Nokia. Things were actually happening. It was rewarding and there was only a little bureaucracy. Everyone had a common goal. To deliver on time.
A year on and I moved to a “startup” project inside Osuuspankki called Pivo wallet. Now we are talking. This was software development I was not used to seeing before. It was as agile as it can get. We had a small team which was collaborating with each other in all kinds of ways. I started to see a lot more about what software development is about and I was hungry to get more.
This hunger led me to join a startup called SPENT. I took the title of Lead Developer, but soon learned it’s just a title. I needed to learn more about what everyone else is doing. I started to contribute more. I learned how hard it can be to make a product. How ideas sound good, but are not necessarily what people want. How you build something just to change it later, many times. This was where I started to dive into the “business”. It’s not just good code, it’s so much more. It’s everyone in the project and it’s everything about the project. Development costs. Time costs. Poor quality costs. The wrong business model and strategy costs. I learned to adapt my coding to this fast-changing environment. I started to accept the fact that this is not final, it’s not necessary to spend 3 times more for it when I can make it work faster and it’s “good enough”. I learned to make my code highly flexible so I could anticipate and quickly adapt to the fast changes that would constantly occur on projects.
I took all my working experiences and learnings and founded Finlabs with former colleagues from my past with same mentality and passion for the work we do. We aim to bring all this knowledge and talent to those who need it. To those who have not necessarily gone through all of this yet. Software development is a journey that will never get boring for as long as you journey with it. Let it teach you, reward you, slap you. You will learn from all failures and successes. Don’t be afraid to fail. Aim to succeed. And once you go down this path you can offer more to more people. You have seen it. You understand it. So far, for me, it has been an amazing journey and I know there is so much more still to see which I am grateful of and hope to share with you.
About the Author:
Niko is Finlabs mobile development guru. Working in a team, or as a one-man show, Nikos skills in mobile development are some of the best and fastest around. Niko has strong experience in modern development methods and technologies and has flexed his development muscles at the likes of Nokia and Osuuspankki, where he was a leading member of teams creating global, award-winning products.
On our projects, Niko is often the driving force. His passion to push himself to the edge encourages other team members to push themselves beyond their regular limits.