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Juhani is an Android Lead, Founder, and Partner at Snapp Mobile, based in Germany. He is an Android developer, design fanboy and Android GDE. He blogs, talks and raves about the need for engineers to appreciate, design and preach about a way multi-discipline teams can to work together to create great real-world products. He had 10 years backend developer experience in Java before jumping on Android, which he’s been doing for almost 10 years. His true passion is to build amazing and helpful, easy-to-use user interfaces for Android apps. He believes that the core of all this is to create a fluent and tight integration between the designer and developer disciplines. He self-identifies as a nerd.
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Tell us a little about how your career in development started. How has it evolved since then?
I got into my first programming job after completing my first year of university studies. That was around 2000, and getting a programming job was very easy. I fairly quickly moved into working full time and studying part-time. The first 10 years, I mostly worked as a Java backend developer with some notable exceptions as an Eclipse plugin writer for a couple of years. I’ve had three big milestones in my career.
What did you wish someone had told you back when you started software development that you had to learn the hard way instead?
Software engineering is people business. We might be staring at our screens and talking more to computers than we are to people during a normal work day, but in the end becoming successful is all about your connections to people. Expand your circles and create connections. Learn to know people who think differently, have different ambitions and skillsets. These connections are what will later bring you opportunities in forms of customers, possibilities, and even potential business partners. I regret not actively putting effort in creating people connections outside my immediate circle for the first 10 years of my career.
You are a senior developer who managed to stick with coding, despite founding a company and executing all of the management that comes along with that. Even though many developers seem to move into management or CTO positions as they advance in their careers, how can developers stay hands-on as they take on more management responsibilities?
I’m in a lucky position where I get to influence and choose my own role as long as I’m willing to put in the time and investment to make sure that I carry my weight in our company. I don’t like this de facto idea that if you’re a developer with a lot of experience, the way forward is to become a manager or a CTO of a company.