Employee Spotlight: A day in the life of Axel Jonsson, Junior Software Developer at SilverRail
Axel Jonsson is one of our Junior Software Developers who has been with SilverRail for the last two years, based out of our Stockholm office in Sweden.
Axel joined SilverRail via our Swedish internship programme – find out what projects he’s involved in, what makes him tick and his top tips for any software developer.
- Axel, tell us about your background. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to college and what did you study? What was your very first job?
Up until the end of my teens I lived in Mölndal, a small city bordering Gothenburg to the south. In 2013, at the age of 19, I moved to Stockholm and I landed my first job, delivering and installing new PC equipment in elementary schools, libraries and such like.
In 2014, I applied to and was accepted by a vocational university called Teknikhögskolan. The programme was a good fit for me since it combined a general approach of “learning by doing” with lots of individual responsibility and freedom in assignments.
- How did you first hear about SilverRail? And what made you apply for the role?
The final part of my studies involved a three-month internship. In preparation for this, the school invited a whole bunch of companies who were all involved in tech in one way or another.
One of the companies who were invited was SilverRail (although the name of the Swedish branch was Linkon at the time). I was intrigued by how a seemingly small organisation could, at the same time, be so well established in the industry. It seemed like a great place to learn, so applying for an internship was an easy decision.
- How did you end up landing your current position as a Junior Software Developer at SilverRail, and what are you working on currently?
After a few weeks and several meetings, I was happy to receive a positive reply for my internship application. I started in March 2016 and, by the end of June (the end of the internship), I was hired full time as a software developer. I think the internship was a win-win for both me and SilverRail. It enabled me to get some free prior hands-on experience with the systems, essentially learning the job before I was even hired.
At SilverRail Sweden, my team and I develop the ticketing and payment solutions. We recently finished two of the biggest projects within the ticketing platform since I started. It’s been a great learning experience for me so far.
- What are some of the interesting projects that you and the rest of the software development team are tackling?
I recently worked with a project to provide a standard for ticketing and payment solutions for several Swedish carriers in collaboration with each other. During the development there were some interesting challenges. We had a tight deadline from the get-go, and the project consisted of a lot of integrations between different parties. The other parties were developing their systems at the same time as ours and getting them to play nicely with each other was not the easiest task. Fortunately, we have great team leads and product owners who make sure that the communication between teams and parties is as good as it can be. We managed to deliver what was promised on time and with great quality, despite the challenges.
- It looks like your degree in Java provided you with a great foundation for your career. How did this experience help get you to where you are today?
My studies were important in that they gave me the basics of software development and the means to learn more on my own but, honestly, a large part of my foundation as a developer has been built here at SilverRail. There are people in all different chapters of their career and I’ve got to learn tons from the bright minds working here, and not just from the software developers.
- What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’m proud of a lot of things that my team and I have accomplished during my time at SilverRail but, if I must choose, Swish takes the cake. The project was completed by the end of 2016, when my team added Swish (an instant payment through a phone app) to the arsenal of possible payment methods in our platform. Swish has unarguably been the fastest growing payment method in Sweden in recent years and it felt good to be an early adopter of their merchant API. It also proved to be a great business decision, given that it’s now the most used payment method.
- As a travel technology software developer, how do you stay current with the latest technologies?
I’m a bit divided on this matter. On one hand, it’s fun and exciting to try new stuff. On the other hand, I’d rather have a stable system if the tradeoff is being able to say I’m using the latest JS library. It’s important that you don’t let your legacy system age too much, but I definitely see the challenges in keeping up when your codebase gets larger. A good time to try fancy new technologies might be when you’re developing a standalone product from the ground up. I like to do hobby projects in my free time to scratch the most experimental technology itches.
- Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?
Every day is different, but every day starts with coffee. If I’m running early I might grab a cup from the Italian coffee shop down the street (too often, frankly), but any coffee is better than no coffee. When I get to the office, I check Slack (our internal collaboration tool) to see if anything interesting has happened that I need to know about. Usually I’ll have a pretty good idea of my tasks for the day. We work in sprints which provide a scope for the near future, narrow enough to make it easy to focus on what needs to be done in the next week or two. The remainder of a typical day consists of a healthy mix of programming and occasional meetings, as well as code reviews, testing, analysis and documentation.
- What part of your job do you enjoy most?
I enjoy the dynamic of working with different people, in different roles, with different experiences. Thinking back to my studies, putting six programmers with the same experience in a room together to do a group assignment wasn’t the optimal setup for an innovative and creative result. I’m always excited to hear other people’s perspectives in the workplace because, even under the same circumstances, their conclusions about issues and solutions might be entirely different to mine.
- Do you have any productivity hacks or tips?
- StackOverflow and Google are your friends…
- Pair programming! I found that this was super productive, especially when helping new team members get up to speed. It turns “This is how we’ve always done it” into “Why don’t we do it like this?”.
- Take a break. Don’t stare at the bug. You will just make it angrier.
- What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?
Easy… Top 3 apps, on my phone, in order:
- What do you like to do in your spare time, or as SilverRail would say – how do you ‘enjoy life’?
After moving to Tyresö in the spring, I’ve spent a good portion of the summer exploring by bicycle. I think it’s a good middle ground between working out and having fun. But I’m more about the fun part! I love anything related to cooking and food. I try to experiment with new dishes at home as much as I can, which is not always appreciated, but I’m willing to bet I have spent more time watching cooking shows than programming!
JOIN US AND CHANGE THE FUTURE OF RAIL TRAVEL
- Do you want to work on a product that is really changing the world for the better?
- Are you passionate about programming, software development and cloud computing?
- Do you like working on difficult problems that have not yet been solved?
- Are you an innovator with great ideas you’re prepared to defend?
- Can you work independently, yet still contribute to your team?
…If this is you, come join our team and help change the future of rail. We believe anything is possible if we put our minds to it – check out our career page.