People of Bakken & Bæck: August

In our digital world, it’s still about the people. In these blog posts, we’ve gone behind the scenes and invited the people of B&B to share their personal stories.

Front-end developer August Skare beekeeping it both real and virtual as one of our main office beekeepers and a self-proclaimed digital cabinetmaker.

What does being a front-end developer at Bakken & Bæck entail?

Naturally, most of my day goes to writing HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I build the interfaces on websites that users see and interact with. I work closely with designers to make sure everything looks sharp, and meet with clients to discuss solutions to their problems and develop the services accordingly. Lately I’ve been spending most of my time on Kron, a platform for smart investments. I also work on in-house projects like the B&B website.

Why did you decide to become a front-end developer and how did you go about it?

In my second year of high school, we had a school assignment that required creating a business and a working website. We tried making it ourselves, but we quickly realized how hard it was without any precognition. My father suggested I should ask Gjermund Gustavsen, a family friend who made websites for a living, to help us out. He gladly showed me the ropes, and we ended up with a really nice website. It was really cool to learn the basics of coding, and once I saw its endless potential, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in web development. So after finishing high school, I moved to Oslo to study interaction design at NITH (Norwegian School of Information Technology).

How did you come to work for Bakken & Bæck?

After moving to Oslo, Gjermund offered me a freelancing gig through his company Tight that I combined with my studies. Back then, Tight was sharing an office space in an old stable with another startup company, Bakken & Bæck. After a while, I found out that the guys at B&B were looking for front-end developers to join their team, so I applied for the job and was hired shortly after.

How do you keep yourself updated on your field?

The tools and technology in front-end development are constantly changing, so I always have to update myself on the latest developments. I listen to podcasts, follow relevant twitter accounts, and read certain tech blogs to get the latest news.

I also went to the Render Conference in Oxford last year, and attended the Nordic.js conference in Stockholm this year. I prefer going to conferences rather than just watch the talks online, as you get to meet a lot of like-minded people from the industry and engage in topical discussions.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

As I mentioned, the front-end field is constantly changing, so staying updated can be a challenge. Working on client projects can also be challenging as they usually come with deadlines. You just have to do the work to the best of your abilities, be satisfied in the moment and move on.

Do you have any side projects going?

I always try to keep a side project running and make things, but I have yet to finish and ship anything. I always come up with ideas, but down the line I find that they are too ambitious and time-consuming or that I’ve started at the wrong end of things, ending up leaving the product at 80%. I also really enjoy running, which I guess you could call a side project as I like to train and compete in races. The last race I participated in was X-Run which is an obstacle course where you and your teammates have to get yourself through almost 20 tough obstacles over a 6 km course. Pretty intense, but very fun!

… you haven’t gotten into the office bike craze, then?

It’s definitely tempting, but I like the simplicity of just going out the door and start running. Cycling requires more planning and equipment.

As one of the main contributors to the B&B beekeeping project (boy, that’s a tongue twister), what can you tell us?

Our bee colony has at least doubled in size since last season, amounting now to four beehives. During the season we usually check in on the bees once a week, checking to see how the queen is doing, and whether the rest of the bees are happy with her. The queen laying eggs is a good indicator that the bees are content. But it’s not always easy to spot, so we need to be meticulous when inspecting the frames. At the end of the season, we collect the honey the bees have produced. And in the off-season they just tend to themselves, huddling up in the forestry trying to keep the queen warm and happy.

Why do you enjoy beekeeping?

Personally it’s mostly been about learning a new skill. Bees are fascinating creatures, as is the process. We’ve gone from initially being a bit scared, putting on an extra layer of clothes underneath our suits just in case, to sticking our heads into the hives without flinching. It’s also interesting to observe the whole lifespan and life’s work of a bee, and how they build their own communities.

Bug fixing
We’ve gone from initially being a bit scared, putting on an extra layer of clothes underneath our suits just in case, to sticking our heads into the hives without flinching.

Interesting bee facts?

I appreciate the basic and pragmatic manner of bees. When bees get old and know they are about to die, they leave the hive to avoid being a burden on the rest of the colony. I suppose this also applies to other animals. But the main thing that fascinates me is the swarming. Swarming is the reproductive practice of bees in which thousands of bees leave the hive in pursuit of a new permanent residence. I first experienced swarming this summer, and it was quite intense, really. The bees clustered around a fence on the roof, and we had to move fast to secure them in a new box to avoid them leaving us for good.

Swarming!

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self ?

I probably would have advised myself to speak up and voice my opinions more as I have had my fair share of could have, should have moments. I think sparking discussions is a good thing, and I appreciate the low threshold for voicing opinions here [at Bakken & Bæck], as everyone is very respectful towards suggestions, ideas and comments across fields.

If you had to choose another line of work, what would it be?

I find building things very satisfying, so if I had to choose something else, I think I would enjoy being a cabinetmaker. It is essentially the same as being a front-end developer, but in a physical sense. I assume you would get a sketch or description of how the product should look in terms of measurements and texture and such, and then you get around to building it.

I find building things very satisfying, so if I had to choose something else, I think I would enjoy being a cabinetmaker.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I am really not sure. I don’t like to think that far ahead. Still, I wouldn’t say I live day-by-day, but when booking a vacation for instance, people tend to count down the days, weeks and months, whereas I don’t get that anticipative feeling until maybe the day before.

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7 quick ones

Hang up: Podcasts. Serial is probably my all-time favorite. But some of my regulars are The web platform podcast, StartUp, JS Party, The Daily and Giæver og Joffen (a Norwegian newsweek recap).

Hung up: Facebook. I didn’t use it a lot before, but now I’ve almost stopped using it altogether.

Latest stream: Just finished watching season 3 of Fargo.

Work tools: Browser, VS Code and Sketch.

Favorite emoji: The huggy face 🤗. I used to use the upside-down smiley until someone told me it’s sarcastic.

Personal fun fact: I played the Althorn in the school band and Tromsø Brass for 10 years and practised the violin for about 6 years.

Comfort food of choice: Pizza 😋