Tuukka Uosukainen is a man of many talents, programming being just one of them. He joined Sangre a few months ago, and has quickly established his place as one of us. We interviewed Tuukka to hear his inspiring story of how he made his way from delivering mail to becoming a programmer, and to give you some tips for learning programming on your own!
Hi Tuukka, how did you get into programming in the first place?
I used to work at the post office as a mail carrier for 10 years before I started my career as a programmer.
During my time at Posti I had a blog on WordPress and I wasn’t happy with how it looked, so I wanted to learn to edit the layout. I decided to order a book that turned out to be full of code that I had no idea how to read. So, I just picked it up and slowly started to learn by myself.
While working at Posti I also applied for a Web Designer course at AEL. When Posti started to lay off people I took the chance to make a career change and left voluntarily. I took some courses in graphic design and thought of pursuing that career track, but the Web Designer course that I had taken earlier somehow got me more into programming. So, in addition to applying to study programmes in graphic design, I applied to study information technology and finally got in. Now I only have my thesis left to do to graduate.
So, what do you do at Sangre now?
Now I’m working at Sangre as a Front End developer. So far, I’ve done some responsive design and CSS stuff with Sass, which I really like. I’ve also done some bug fixes and implemented functionalities for React and Drupal projects. Jumping into existing code base has been an interesting challenge and I really appreciate the help and support of my colleagues at Sangre.
What has it been like to work at Sangre so far?
It has been great. We have a nice atmosphere here. People are not overworked, and it’s a safe environment to learn a completely new trade. Everyone’s nice and patient with me. I’ve already learnt a lot and the best thing is that I’m actually excited to go to work every day. It’s a big thing for me.
Do you feel like your studies have been a helpful at work?
A bit yes, but not much to be honest. You get a good overview, but you have to do a lot of work on your free time as well. Technologies develop so quickly that study programs that continue for years can quickly get a bit outdated.
You seem to be really motivated to keep learning on your free time as well, and you still have some of your studies left. What else do you like to do on your free time?
Other than more programming? Well, I hang out with my wife. We watch shows from Netflix or HBO and live a pretty normal life I would say. As soon as I’m done with school and get settled at Sangre, I would like to draw more though. We also got a garage and a 3D printer with my friend and we’re planning to experiment with that more. Do some robotics with Arduino and iOT stuff.
As a person who has successfully done a pretty radical career turn, what advice would you give to aspiring programmers and those who would like to start learning?
First of all, it’s not easy, but you can learn it if you put some work into it.
There’s a lot of free resources for learning, but I’ve personally found it extremely useful to use paid resources as well. If you really want to pursue a career in programming, I think it’s worthwhile to invest in your own development.
For new programmers I could also recommend cloning existing open source projects and starting to implement stuff in it. Write new functionalities, break and fix things. Most of the time developers work on existing code base so learning to figure out how a program works quickly is definitely a good skill to have.
Most importantly, don’t give up! It takes some grit to continue when you run into obstacles on the way and sometimes you get disappointed too. It took me couple tries before I even got into the school I applied to, let alone those that I never got in. Networking helps as well. Find people who could help you.
"Most of the time developers work on existing code base so learning to figure out how a program works quickly is definitely a good skill to have."
Is there a network you are a part of and could recommend to others?
Not really. But I’d like to start one for people just like me - normal people who don’t have a technological background but are interested in programming. I think that if I could learn it, anyone can, and a network would help with that a lot.
If you're interested in working with Tuukka or want to know more about what it's like to work with us, check out our Careers page. Connect with Tuukka on LinkedIn if you want to learn more about his journey or want to have a chat with him.