Blog Martti interview

On code and career moves

Now would be a great time to take a steady hold of that helmet of yours, because the Faces of Frantic is back – bigger, better and a little more thorough than ever before. This time, we tricked one of our newer additions, über talented developer Martti Hyvönen into answering a couple of questions about life at Frantic and beyond.

How’s it going and what have you been up to recently?

I’m alright, thanks! I’ve been busy wrapping up a web development project of a service that we launched recently and getting briefed on another, really interesting case that I’ll take the lead on. So that’s kept me busy, but in a good way.

What do you do at Frantic?

I build websites and web apps. I mostly work with Angular, JavaScript, PHP and WordPress, but also HTML and CSS, since you always need those two in web projects.

How did you become a developer?

I started studying at Tampere University of Technology just like many other high school grads who had taken AP math. As a part of the first year curriculum I had a mandatory course in programming and then after doing military service for a year, I decided to move to Jyväskylä to study mathematical information technology full time. I guess you could say that I got a spark for programming on that first course, and then realized that there are a lot of interesting jobs out there for software developers.

What makes a good developer?

The willingness and ability to learn new things constantly. Additionally, I think it’s really important to develop a sense for selecting the right technologies for each project. Just like a construction worker wouldn’t use a hammer to chop up a piece of wood, we should be able to choose our tools based on the task at hand.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Interesting projects and the ability to influence the technologies and approaches we use in those projects. I like the clients we get to work with, both as people and as companies. It’s also great that we get to make web services and applications for thousands of users.

What’s the most challenging thing about your job?

Now that I got used to working from client premises, it’s been a little weird to get back to communicating through JIRA and Slack. On a more general level, the technologies we use are always changing and so sometimes keeping up with them can feel overwhelming. However, that’s definitely a positive challenge, and I’m always happy to learn new things.

What has been your favorite project so far and why?

I’ve only worked at Frantic for about 6 months so I haven’t been involved in that many projects yet. But even with my limited experience, I’d have to say Sitra.fi – it’s an interesting service with an awesome design and a great team, including the client as well as our people.

What would your dream project be like?

I’d love to build a popular web app or service – something to do with e-commerce, maybe. It would be fun to work on a service that I use.

How would you describe the culture and ways of working at Frantic?

We work in smaller project teams so it’s hard for me to speak for all of Frantic, but at least in my teams we’re pretty good at maintaining a healthy balance between work and play. What I mean is that we do get things done, but we try to have fun while we’re at it.

What I also like is that there’s no excess bureaucracy, but we always try to come up with a way of working that suits the project at hand. I like the fact that I get to communicate directly with our clients, and that our project managers are responsible for budgets, scopes and timelines rather than passing on messages for the rest of us.

Like you said, there is currently plenty of demand for talented developers. How did you end up choosing Frantic from all the options?

I didn’t really know anyone at Frantic, but I had only heard good things. I liked the fact that Frantic is not just a software development company but that we also do design and content. I like working with in-house designers, because that allows us to help one another throughout the project.

I was also drawn in by the clients. I really like the fact that we’re making customer-facing digital services and products for big, interesting companies. That means that our work is often used by thousands of people, which is a great driver.

The third big thing that helped my decision were the technologies we use. It’s great that Frantic is always exploring new technologies and that we all get to influence those decisions. And also, I think it’s awesome that we’re encouraged to study new frameworks and technologies at work.

How has working at Frantic helped you grow professionally?

Challenging projects are definitely key. I’ve learned lots of concrete things about HTML, WordPress, Angular and CSS. I mostly worked on my own before, so it has been really useful to work in teams and learn from other people.

On top of projects, we have internal training sessions. For instance, we’re currently running an Angular course every Monday. We also have personal competence development budgets, which people typically use for conferences abroad. And then there are smaller events in Helsinki. For example, a couple weeks ago a big group of us went to WordCamp, which was actually pretty useful.

Even though I’ve used Scrum in projects before, I’ve also learned more about it here. It’s an interesting project model but it does some have weird semi-religious vibes, which I wouldn’t necessarily adopt as they are. But the great part is that you can cherry-pick the parts that suit your project, and leave the rest out.

What skills would you like to develop in the future?

Currently I’m really interested in software architecture and designing large, scalable solutions. That’s one of the bigger entities, where there’s always new stuff to learn. Learning new frameworks, React in particular, is also on my to-do list.

Would you recommend Frantic as a workplace?

Sure, but obviously it’s not for everyone since we all have our preferences. If you’re interested in working on big, customer-facing products and services, this is definitely the place for you. However, if you’re more into invisible system executions, I’d look the other way. And also, I’d only recommend it to cool people.

Thanks for the interview, Martti!

Want to be more like Martti and be part of creating digital products that are used and loved by thousands of people? Well, take a look at our careers page and get applying!