How I became a Rocket Scientist

BloggausIt is a long journey to become a professional, no matter what you do. But even more is needed to become a Rocket Scientist.

Usually it takes years and years of education and hard work in different positions to achieve such a level that one can call him/herself a specialist. However, education or even a long career doesn’t necessarily account when there is no passion. And good friends.

From Commodore 64 to Master of Engineering

My career began already in my early childhood. Whenever we visited our family friends and relatives, I made sure that there was a computer available because we didn’t have one at home (got the first one when I went to a high school). I wasn’t that interested in people (of course we had happy times without computers too, but it’s a side story).

During the first classes of comprehensive school, I spent hours and hours after school playing games and copying Basic examples from famous old computer magazines into the computer – a Commodore 64 – without knowing what a single row did, finding and fixing typographic errors, and trying different numeric values where they existed, just to see what happens. The headteacher allowed me to stay alone at the empty school, coming back in the evening to turn off the lights (and to plug off the computer). Could this even be possible these days? I doubt it. Very special thanks to him!

After graduating from high school I started studying software engineering at a university of applied sciences. There I got to know a guy who became one of my best friends. He helped me on the way of coding even more than school did. He patiently taught me how to write games in Pascal. This I count as the starting point of my actual career. Yet school didn’t go that well. During those years I carried out the military service (this is another side story), got married and started a family (the third side story), worked hard, bought a house… After studying for five years I quit school. Fortunately it didn’t affect my career. I got interesting jobs, worked as an entrepreneur, and built professional skills block by block. Then, after many years, I went back to that same school and graduated (B. Eng) 13,5 years after signing up for the first time. Later I went back to this school again and graduated as a M. Eng.

Something was missing

Over the years of working I gained rock solid knowledge about embedded systems, hardware design, C/C++ programming and good practices. I also gained a lot of experience in topics covering GUI, cloud, web, IoT and plenty of other fancy keywords, but the circle always closed to the embedded systems. With that experience I worked as a senior R&D engineer and a project manager for renowned companies. My work tasks, and the products I developed, were versatile and diverse.

However, something was missing. I didn’t feel free. Answer to that feeling was not entrepreneurship. I didn’t want to spend time selling myself around. In spite of a the good position in a well known globally established company, I had been searching for a new job more or less seriously for a couple of years –just for the freedom. Personally I am an inventor and an enthusiast, and get easily frustrated with old stuff that has to be kept alive for decades at all costs and effort. The freedom I was longing for was an opportunity to switch the job when I wanted to.

What needed to become a Rocket Scientist?

Then I met Rakettitiede Oy, first in LinkedIn, then also in Facebook. I started to follow the company. They described themselves e.g. as a company where “you get one of the highest salaries on the market” and “you don’t need to be married with the customer”. The more I crawled on their website, the more the company collected points in my mind. Especially their sense of humor tickled my nerves. That was exactly the company I was looking for! Never before had I thought myself as a consultant, but, why not? This was worth a try!

So, what more than a long passionate career needed it from me to become a Rocket Scientist (an employee at Rakettitiede Oy)? At least courage, an open mind, and a totally different attitude to work. Courage, because changing job is always a jump to unknown. Open mind, because I would meet many customers with different problems to solve, sometimes even trivial ones. And a totally different attitude, because as a consultant I would always be working for a customer, at the customer premises. I no longer would be a “free-of-charge” resource among others in a corporation, but a “super man with a red cloak and blue tights fighting against enormously dangerous bugs in the dark tunnels of code” (or more ordinarily, just a guy who can be hired to solve that nasty issue which nobody wants to touch, and who does it incredibly fast). I applied, got interviewed, got a free lunch, got interviewed again, got interviewed again, got the job, got in touch with my first customer candidate, got hired, and started the job.

That’s how I became a Rocket Scientist.

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