Holding great responsibility

Johanna Kaihlavirta works as a Developer in Nordcloud’s Managed Cloud Applications team in Jyväskylä and is active in a local group of women in ICT field.

You can read her inspiring views and experiences in the article Stereotypes That Still Prevent Women from Pursuing IT and writing about the NiceICT event at Jyväskylä office in our blog.

Here’s her story.

1. Where are you from and how did you end up at Nordcloud?

I’m from Jyväskylä, Finland. I ended up at Nordcloud nearly three years ago, when I was looking for new challenges to grow professionally. Small cloud company sounded like it would have tasks I had never done before, and so it has. There are still new challenges for me to pursue at Nordcloud.

2. What is your core competence?

JavaScript and AWS. On soft side, working with people, and communicating clearly and effectively.

3. What sets you on fire?

I love writing beautiful code to create useful software for customers to help them meet their business goals. I enjoy all aspects that are included in that process: collaborating with customers, pondering the best structure of code, making production deployments and helping colleagues with their problems, to name a few.

4. What do you like the most about working at Nordcloud?

I like the diversity of my work, responsibility and team spirit.

I’m working in a team which supports over ten software products for several clients. I’m responsible directly to clients, and that gives me great motivation.

Having so many products to look after, my work is very diverse. I work with many technologies and cloud platforms. I have different problems to solve regarding the product. The tasks I do vary from requirements engineering to making deployments, and of course all the diverse development activities in between. 

This makes my job really interesting.

We use automation a lot and write infrastructure as code, and document anything important along the way. This helps us make sure that all team members have the necessary information to continue seamless work with the product. Great team spirit is one aspect I love at Nordcloud.

5. What is the most useful thing you have learned at Nordcloud?

I have learned more courage to pursue things by myself, without asking for permission.

6. What do you do outside work?

I act as an organiser for a local group of women in ICT field. Most of my free time is happily spent with my family, but when I have time for myself, I read books from sci-fi to historical fiction.

7. Best Nordcloudian memory?

I had just started working at Nordcloud, when one colleague advertised a machine learning online course. I had a streak of online courses in my recent past, so I grabbed the difficult topic with enthusiasm. Discussion on the channel for course’s current and past participants was encouraging and we celebrated passed exams with various emojis.

After I finished the course, I received a small surprise gift from the company, initiated by the person who advertised the course and helped me along the way. I couldn’t have been happier!

Johanna’s Managed cloud Applications team is looking for new team members. Check here the job advertisement we wrote together with Johanna and the team!

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Short story of getting to Managed Cloud!

In Poland, we have built a team of Managed Cloud Engineers and they simply rock when it comes to multi-cloud clients’ support. Currently, the hottest stuff there is Kubernetes. Read the new #NordcloudianStory shared with us by Jędrzej Piszcz, from Polish office.

 

How did your adventure with Nordcloud start?

I was looking for a place to develop my professional skills in the first place but I also wanted to get more flexibility and challenges in my workplace. When I found out about Nordcloud I was very excited – but then during an interview, I realized that my skills weren’t a perfect fit for the position I applied for, but fortunately we found a new position that matched perfectly.

That’s nice because I actually was proposed to apply to another role and I really appreciate this approach to new candidates. I felt that someone cared about me even before I became a part of the team.

Do you remember your first impression after coming to the office/starting work?

A bit overwhelmed, yea!😅 People were talking a lot about public cloud-related stuff that I wasn’t aware of. In fact, this was also a reason why I managed to learn a lot in a short period and shortly after that joined the talks.

What are your role and core competencies?

I am Managed Cloud Engineer. I work with multiple public cloud environments, which were designed by our Architects. My daily work is making changes to these, ensuring their security, reliability and performance. Currently, I am focused on AWS and Kubernetes.

What do you like most about working at Nordcloud?

Support from world-class professionals and a variety of tasks. There’s no single person that knows every technology and framework, but when you have a network of specialists in your team, the results are more than only the sum of individuals

What is the most useful thing you have learned at Nordcloud?

To really appreciate practical technical knowledge (not to disregard theory, of course!) coming from many delivered projects.

What’s your favourite thing with public cloud?

That you can quickly start any project with existing templates and managed services (I develop some on my own as a hobby in spare time and I probably wouldn’t decide to use some technologies if I had to maintain all the infrastructure) and later on you can scale it any way you want.

What do you do outside work?

Read and write SF novels, play online strategy/4X games, play squash and travel (whenever I can).

Keen to hear more about our PL team? We are growing and looking for senior architects, engineers and developers!

Check out the opportunities HERE!

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Global induction AKA New Employee On-boarding at Nordcloud

For the past year, we have been planning and improving our induction process and so we recently implemented a new global induction strategy for Nordcloud. In this blog post, I’ll shed some light on our induction process and development opportunities.

As we all know, sometimes things can get really hectic, there are multiple on-going projects, people are busy and yes, we get it, sometimes all the steps in the induction process are not the first things in mind – however, we truly believe that dedicated time and well structured steps for new employees’ induction makes a huge difference in the long run.

That’s why we started with two clear objectives on what we work towards to:

#1 Make a lasting impression and give warm welcome

  • We ensure a common frame to welcome new employees – while ensuring kick start is also a fun experience
  • Company vibe, ways of working and services are discussed with everyone regardless of role, site or unit while the most important part of induction, role based one, has also clear guidelines

#2 Elevate tenure & performance

  • Global Induction frame is for 2 weeks, and we have a way to collect feedback – that’s built in for the first 6 months of employment
  • We want to digitise as many manual elements of induction as possible, and have repeatable content to ensure even more structured process and therefore ultimate business value.

Nordcloud’s induction starts already in the recruitment process.

It’s so important to know not only the role and tasks of a company you’re joining, but for example ways of working, company policies & services, culture & people, career development opportunities and of course the practical things like tools, dress code, benefits or schedule for your first days.

✍️ After offer discussions and signing employment contract, the new joiner is welcomed by our Talent Acceleration team and Hiring Manager via phone & email. It’s time for all the practical preparation (work permits, systems, tools, welcome swag, schedules etc). We will also send short introduction videos to get to know our people and plans already prior to official start date.

On the first day, as with anyone always, there is a lot of information, yet excitement and many new people to meet. It’s time for the local welcome.

📲 💻 We’ll make sure your systems and tools are all set up, give you a tour of the office and go through our Employee Guide. One of the cool things that we did with Trello is also Personal Induction cards where you can track your own induction process, make sure that you participate in everything that is planned for you in a time that works for you and this way you can already get used to the independent and flexible (but supportive) ways of working that we like. That said, your team lead and managers are also of course doing their best to make sure that you get all the information you need and they’ll also take you out for a lunch with your new colleagues.

In the afternoon it’s time to start with our Global Induction sessions, giving everyone a chance to speak with our CEO about our vision, mission and strategy. This session is followed by another session with our Global People Operations Lead, who shares our history, values and career development opportunities as well as gives guidance to our daily tools. All of these are live meetings, but thanks to 2019, you can obviously join remotely too, via Hangouts.

We use Slack actively for communication and you will be invited to all the relevant channels and get a warm welcome from other global Nordcloudians – it’s time for a short introduction about you and your role, but also about your hobbies and passions. Welcome new friends!👋 👋 👋 👋

🤸🏽‍♀️ The first week goes past quick with global and local role-based induction sessions as you will get an understanding of:

  • our Customer Cloud Journey and our services
  • what our Product Areas & Service lines do and how you can select your focus area and contribute to it
  • your personal development plan involving trainings and certificates that you will agree on with your manager (everyone has an independent training budget and time off budgeted for learning & development).

During the second week, you will get an idea of your role in the Cloud Journey. We will be:

  • agreeing project priorities
  • learning best practices and reference solutions 
  • learning about our productised services 
  • making sure your Nordcloudian CV is on point and all security policies are in place.

Now you have completed your first two weeks and have a good overall understanding on all the important factors for your successful journey at Nordcloud.

We have a bunch of great tools to systematically keep track of your happiness and well being as we go along. You can always follow up and contribute to your own and your teams’ journey with digital tools like Trello or Officevibe and we are continuously analysing data but most importantly, you have learned that at Nordcloud, we have an open and transparent culture where you can and should ask whenever something is unclear, or if you need any help with any matter or when you have ideas and suggestions to share!

Our new set of values is well integrated to our ways of working – even in our induction process you can see us working towards common goals:

We make a difference
We win together
We work smart
We grow together

Read more about our values and how they came alive here.

If you’d like to hear more about our induction process, here’s a good article from one of our Senior Cloud Architects about his first 6 weeks at Nordcloud. You are also more than welcome to get in touch with Anna who coordinates our global induction.

Welcome to #NordcloudCommunity.

 

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Getting from A to B with AWS Team Lead

CATEGORIES

Life at Nordcloud

This week’s Nordcloudian Story is shared by AWS Team Lead, Tamas Kiss, from our London office. Tamas has worked at Nordcloud since 2017 and is a big fan of cloud, Open Source, infrastructure as code, heavy configuration management and deep monitoring. Let’s hear his story!

 

1. Where are you from and how did you end up at Nordcloud?

“I am originally from Hungary. Prior to Nordcloud, I was working with DevOps but started to get a bit bored so I was ready for new challenges with more variety. I looked up different consultancies, and got approached by a headhunter. Even if I wasn’t actively yet looking for a new job, Nordcloud’s type of projects, flexibility, size of the team, quick recruitment process and new line of work attracted me to join!”

2. What is your role and core competence?

I wear many hats! My official title is AWS Team Lead, but I also work as Senior Cloud Architect and Solution Architect supporting sales team.

3. What do you like most about working at Nordcloud?

I really enjoy the initial phases of project where we are figuring out the customer goals and get to do design and play around to get from A to B to achieve the business goals.

As an example from air crafts, Aériane Swift or Cessna 150 or Magnus Fusion UL, Airbus A380 or Antonov An-225, or something unusual like the P-791 or the Horten Ho 229, all can get you from A to B (with some luck), but they all have something unique which makes them the best choice for a problem. I strongly believe in the right tool for the right job; having the whole landscape in front of me when picking is a lot of fun. 

4. What is the most useful thing you have learned at Nordcloud?

“Every estimate must be multiplied with two. This means if you think you are done in a week, count it with two!

Project management is hard. At least for me it’s much harder than the technical stuff.

I also learned that having a good head set for calls is crucial, as every meeting starts with “can you hear me?!” 😁

5. What’s your favourite thing with public cloud?

“It’s a full time job to just stay up to date with the demand of changes and new features.

You can reinvent yourself every second week. Right now I’m learning about Kubernetes, serverless and CDK”.

6. What do you do outside work?

“I have couple of open source pet projects going on and I enjoy spending time with my family.”

7. Best Nordcloudian memory?

“So this one time I took Ilkka, our new Cloud Engineer, to a client of ours. I was introduced as the Senior Engineer and walked in with t-shirt and shorts (as I do). 

The management joked around; “how much do we pay this guy again?”, as in “he must be good as he’s got the confidence of walking in in shorts!”. Ilkka then walked in, wearing a suit, and the client went “He must be new”. 😂

Keen to hear more about our UK AWS team? We are growing and looking for senior architects to Tamas’ team. 

Check out the opportunity HERE!

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Hooked with cloud

CATEGORIES

Life at Nordcloud

This time we got a chance to talk to our Solution Architect and Serverless Ambassador Paul Lyons who puts high value on expertise of the Nordcloud team! Paul was voted as the 2019 “Nordcloudian of the Year” for the Finland region. If you want to talk about astronauts and 3D printing with someone, you know who to look for. Here’s his story.

 

1. Where are you from and how did you end up at Nordcloud?

I’m from the UK originally and I’ve been working around Europe since 2006 in Spain, Germany and Finland. I started out in broking and banking and then worked with sports trackers and wearables. Now I’m a Solution Architect and Serverless Ambassador for Nordcloud.

I was working in finance when the 2008 crisis happened, so suddenly I had a lot of spare time on my hands. I used this time to learn distributed systems with Erlang and this was the start of a journey.. First learning about Integration Patterns, messaging systems and how to build systems as separate elements that can talk to each other, but aren’t directly connected. You’ll know this today as Microservices.

When the cloud came along and opened up so many opportunities, I was hooked. Off-the shelf scaling of databases, web servers and even our own applications. Suddenly complex set-up tasks that sucked time out of every project were a commodity. Also immutability! The exact same servers in all environments – no more late nights tracking down subtle differences in server set-ups. 

Then Functions as a Service became a thing, there were “no servers” at all, just code responding to events elsewhere. A microservice dream! Other serverless services too – store files without considering disk space, insert data to a database without worrying about shards and partitions.

I joined Nordcloud to put these concepts into practice. 

 

2.What is your core competence?

My speciality is being a generalist. If that makes any sense… There’s better programmers than me, people who know each of the cloud providers better than me, better project managers than me. I aim to learn just enough of everything and guide people to make decisions with their eyes open about alternatives.

 

3.What do you like most about working at Nordcloud?

There is a focus on the human side of things, people are not just their CV or job title. Recognising this uniqueness, people ask each other for advice and opinions and there are always unexpected people getting involved in the conversation. I love how we all interact in this way – hierarchy free zone.

 

4.What is the most useful thing you have learned at Nordcloud?

That’s a bit like asking which drop of water makes the ocean wet. There is such diversity at Nordcloud. Not just from having offices throughout Europe, even within the offices there are people from all different backgrounds, nationally, culturally, training, hobbies. The expertise that all these different people have is amazing. Every day I feel like I learnt something from someone – a new word in another language or a way to misuse some cloud service to save time and money on a project.

 

5.What sets you on fire / what’s your favourite thing technically with public cloud?

I would have to say that it’s the democratization of infrastructure and the freedom that gives to developers – no more fights over limited capacity. 

Compared to the “old days” when there was one development server in the basement somewhere which was shared with everyone on the team. There is now (effectively) an infinite capacity in the cloud and they are all an API call or mouse click away. Want to try a different database? Want to see if your application can do auto-failover? Need to store and search terabytes of log files? 

All just a click (and credit card number) away!

 

6.What do you do outside work?

What any self respecting nerd would be doing: Preparing to be an astronaut. 

I have a few 3D printers and the aim is to design and build a spacesuit for Mars which can be repaired several million miles from home with a few watts of electricity and a couple of rolls of the right plastic.

 

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