A series of interviews with Springest’s product development team
Like all tech companies, at Springest we love our developers. We just can’t get enough of them. If we were a corporate, we would give them a parking space right next to our office entrance. That’s how much we love them.
We can’t have enough of them either – we are constantly on the lookout for new hires to enrich our team. We look for a certain set of skills but we also look for a certain mindset. And this mindset can be hard to pinpoint. What is it that makes our developers choose Springest? And what is it that makes Springest choose them?
Buckle up. In this series of interviews I will try and answer those questions .
Iris Kuipers (41)
Big-haired amazon, dreams of travels.
Are you aware that your colleagues adore you?
Perhaps adore is a little strong. They are impressed by how fast you learn. So that will be the theme of your interview.
We have a theme?
Yes we have a theme. You actually learned on the job right?
Correct. I first did a coding bootcamp with Codaisseur [red: founded by former Springest developer Wouter Vos]. That was back in 2016. At that time coding bootcamps weren’t really happening in Amsterdam yet, they were an American phenomenon. I was considering a bachelor “Computer Science” at the university, but then I saw the announcement and applied. I was part of the first batch of participants. You get eight weeks of training, and then they help you find work at an organisation where you will continue learning. Codaisseur introduced me to Springest.
How was trialing?
Nerve-wracking. I trialed for two weeks. It was not just the fact that I knew nearly nothing about programming. There was holacracy too. It was like being in a foreign country where no-one spoke English. I had nothing to fall back on, no experience that could help me.
That first week I started on some small tasks. And I noticed that once I found the bug, they were easy to fix. So on Friday I told Rik (Product Owner) and Mark (Developer): I wouldn’t mind more challenging tasks. Ha. The week that followed they introduced me to “The Member Importer”.
Let me tell you: that kept me busy for quite some time. It was a hellish thing. Just thinking of it… My colleagues really helped me through. I learned from it. And I finished it.
And then you turned out to be a natural talent
Totally. You know the imposter syndrome? I felt like one for my first 1,5 year. I just couldn’t take myself seriously. But the senior devs tell me they still have that sometimes too. Moments where you think: I have no clue what I am doing. Now, when I feel like that I tell myself: it’s just a moment, take some distance, it will become clearer to you in a little while. Just trust those brains.
You had a very different career before. What made you switch?
Yes, I worked as an office manager for different companies. After work I ran my husband’s record label. I taught myself HTML and CSS, so I could create a site and write newsletters. Not a day went by without me thinking: shit I want to know PHP. I want to really build things. But still, I liked my work too.
It was after giving birth to my son that I felt I needed something new. It still took me years to really switch. It was only after I stopped working for the label that I found space for this step, a new direction for my hopes and ambitions.
Does reality meet your expectation?
The excitement I felt at home behind my computer when I figured something out – I get that every day now. I couldn’t be more happy finding this work, this career, and finding the shortcut that brought me here. Going to uni was a 10 year plan. Codaisseur took 2 months.
Seeing how much I’ve grown makes me really happy too. Automating our payment services last year was a breakthrough moment for me. That project made me proud. Completing it was a milestone. I was no longer the junior dev I was the year before that.
When I presented my project to the company, I really savoured it. I felt happy and satisfied. That feeling of completing something and knowing that you did a fine job; it’s priceless.
Should you have started you career as a developer earlier?
Sometimes I think that too. But there is no use in thinking like that. The fact that I made this switch is what matters most. And don’t forget: I liked my old career too and I learned skills that are valuable now. As an office manager I actually did a lot of finance work. This helps me now to make sense of all our super complicated payment flows, so I can automate them.
I’m not going anywhere soon. But what I would like for Springest is to hire more juniors developers. I think we are an excellent place to learn and I would like people to get the opportunity that I had. It’s a type of investment that has been put aside a bit right now, and that’s a pity, since it worked out so well for me. It’s of value for Springest too. We get to create our own senior developers and we learn a lot by explaining the codebase to a junior.
Speaking of new seniors: what do you think of your new colleague Ove?
Exactly what I was thinking. It’s time to get to know him. (Interview will be published soon)