My journey at Squeed, and time as a Squeed Evangelist
"I’ve always had an interest in tech, primarily through video games. I’ve not, however, always been interested in coding and development."
So often you hear about these prodigies who got their first Commodore 64 and started coding when they were three months old or something, and it feels like you can never be as good as them, because you didn’t get that head start. Well, that was not the case for me. The closest I came was piecing together some websites in notepad on the family computer, but these never left the confines of the local hard drive.
The closest I came was piecing together some websites in notepad on the family computer, but these never left the confines of the local hard drive.
I always thought of myself as more of a graphic artist than a coder.
But after having gone through university (Video game graphics), and later a trade school (Java developer), I realized that the truth was actually somewhere in the middle. And so I latched onto web technology and have been loving it ever since. The mixture of tech and aesthetics suits me perfectly, it turns out!
As a part of the trade school education I did an internship at a local company in Gothenburg.
It was a cool startup kind of thing, in an interesting field, and you’d think that that would have been an excellent way into the industry for me. I was, in fact, offered a job at the end of my time there, but I had not been happy. Mostly because they didn’t really know how to handle having an intern. It was a mess. At the same time though, my friend Lena had been having a great time at her internship at Squeed, a company I knew from before because of the meetups they arranged. So I sent over an application, and after a few interviews I was welcomed aboard.
Working at Squeed was a whole other deal.
I suddenly felt that I had space and time to grow and evolve, without sales breathing down my neck. I also got to work with new and interesting technologies, and being in a team with lots of other Squeeders provided social safety and comfort. To this day, those same things are what makes Squeed a good place to work. Growing in your professional role is not an option, but a requirement in order to stay sharp and competitive. You are fully responsible for taking the time you need for this (paid time of course) and to help your colleagues achieve the same. The social context is also ever present and it’s almost surprising how good the camaraderie is considering so many of us work at different customers' offices in our daily work. It doesn’t come for free though, it is something that both management and employees must actively work towards.
I suddenly felt that I had space and time to grow and evolve, without sales breathing down my neck.But I’m not just a dev, I’m also what we call an evangelist.
This means I put an even greater focus on learning and teaching. I write articles and do workshops, sometimes I talk at conferences, and I’m always available to answer any questions that my colleagues might have regarding frontend development. This takes time of course, and so I dedicate 20% of my hours towards this every month. The only real obstacle to doing this is getting the customer to agree to only having me with them 80% of the time, but if you ask nicely and explain the influx of knowledge and learning that this indirectly will bring to their company most will be hard pressed to find a reason to deny such a request.
As a part of the evangelist role I maintain a personal website and blog.
I haven’t updated the URL to reflect my recent name change yet, so you can still find it at tobiasljungstrom.net. Here I post articles about frontend development on a regular basis, as well as some tech demos and other little things. It’s nice to have a little corner of the web that is all mine and that I can do with what I like. It’s also a great place to experiment with web tech or graphical styles in a way that I may not be able to at work. Right now the whole site uses a kind of "bauhaus-esque" style with big bold colors and experimental geometry. This is why I love personal web sites in general - I think that is where the web really shines and its creative potential is truly unlocked!
I know much better who I am and what I can do, what I can expect and what will be expected of me.I’ve been with Squeed for five years but, sadly, all good things must come to an end.
In May I will be leaving to start work for a local Gothenburg company called ChargeNode. It’s a cool startup kind of thing, in an interesting field, but this time around I believe I am ready for it. I know much better who I am and what I can do, what I can expect and what will be expected of me.
None of this would have been possible if it hadn’t been for my time at Squeed and the opportunity that was awarded me.
– Tobias Thorin, Squeed Evangelist