Learning software development among the pros

Working on real projects teaches you not only coding, but also planning, time management, and teamwork

A bit over a year ago I landed my first ever summer job at Trineria. For a 15-year-old, I felt that this was an astounding achievement. It’s not exactly clear-cut getting a job in a field you’re interested in when you’re just an inexperienced middle-schooler. The experience itself proved fruitful for both the company and myself and that autumn I signed a new part-time contract with Trineria. I’ve now been happily employed for a bit over a year and in this blog post I’ll share my thoughts on what it’s been like to dip my toes into the working life while still attending lukio – the Finnish equivalent of upper secondary.

Juggling work and school

The first autumn of lukio was hectic to say the least. New semester, new people, and more freedom with your classes made sure that the new job wasn’t the only thing on my mind. Although I must admit that I tended to prioritise work over school, often thinking that I’ll put only a little bit of time into this work project and suddenly that essay for Finnish class was nearly a week overdue.

Studies in lukio are more demanding than on preceding grades. It’s not enough to rely on the brains you were born with; you need to put in actual work. Over time I managed to balance work with everything else that needs time put into it. Luckily the community at Trineria was very helpful and accommodating from the beginning so no problems arose, and I was never put under any extreme deadlines.

Another thing I got to challenge myself with was managing my own finances. When you’re just a student and don’t have much in the way of running expenses, the first instinct is to enjoy your newly found wealth. But moderation has its upsides and learning financial responsibility should begin before (I suppose especially before) your livelihood depends on it. I have a lot to learn in that regard still, but that’s what learning is all about.

The dream job was set since childhood

As far as the work itself goes, I’ve been interested in programming from a very early age. Video games have been an important pastime for me ever since I was a child and I ended up tinkering with computers a lot outside of gaming too. While I spent a lot of time hanging out with friends, I always felt most comfortable diving into all things IT on my own. This one time I had the idea of downloading Python to an old desktop, and the rest is history.

From the early stages of my amateur programming career, I’d seen it as my future profession, although I had no idea it would happen this soon. Having taken my first few steps into coding during my first few school years, I started telling everyone I’d become a programmer when I grow up. Confusion was the most common reaction I got. As a dewy-eyed kid I didn’t really understand why people weren’t as taken in by the idea as I was. In hindsight it’s pretty clear how silly it sounds for a child to suddenly declare his commitment to a bit of a weird profession. But I was fully determined, even back then.

Working on real projects teaches you not only coding, but also planning, time management, and teamwork

Even though I’ve done software development as a hobby before, professional development has its own set of challenges. Being a part of a team working on a project for a real client is quite far off from hacking away at your own bedroom coding projects. Watching my co-workers has shown me that I actually know quite a bit already. It has given me more confidence in my own skills, and I’ve learned more about my own strengths as a developer. There are things I need to get better at as well of course. With larger projects, planning and scheduling are extremely important, but as a hobbyist you rarely pay attention to those things.

All in all, I’ve been awfully grateful for this opportunity to work at Trineria. I’ve learned a lot and there’s undoubtedly still plenty more left to learn. The future looks bright.


The author of this blog, Elias Mäkelä, works as a part-time Software Developer Trainee at Trineria



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