Social skills and technical know-how. How do they go together?
There is an old stereotype of people in tech, and software developers in particular, claiming that they are anti-social geeks who would rather send an IRC message than talk to their colleagues. However, that picture quickly faded away when we had a chat with three of RedBridge's staff. It quickly became apparent that Magnus Bengtsson, Hassan Nazar and Robin Dagerfall all had something in common, a strong social drive and a talent for collaboration.
Magnus Bengtsson's career as a developer and container architect was far from obvious. He started as a social studies teacher in Skärholmen and soon became IT manager at his school, where he quickly became very fond of the open Linux environment. After a while he realized that the best part of the working day was the part when he got to work with Linux development, so it had to be a full-time job. First at Stockholm City, then at RedBridge as a consultant and later at Bonnier News development department. After a few years specializing in container technology, Magnus returned to RedBridge.
- I think the idea of OpenShift and collaboration attracted me more than the technology itself when I moved back to RedBridge, Magnus says. I also think that my background in the humanities gives me slightly different entry values than the typical developer. It usually happens that I think more about what problems we solve than about the technology itself, but also about how to collaborate best. That's why the DevOps philosophy at RedBridge has fit me like a glove!
- Now that Open Source solutions are starting to dominate, more people are sharing what they are doing within the organizations, and silos are being demolished, Magnus concludes. This way you can see how much technology and organization really affect each other when it works properly.
At the age of 25, Hassan Nazar has been given the highly responsible task of migrating the private banking server at Sweden's largest commercial bank into a whole new platform. That he has already gained such great confidence can be partly - but not entirely - explained by a natural fallacy for problem solving.
- Already in high school I was fascinated by physics, chemistry and subjects that were about solving difficult puzzles, says Hassan. When I later discovered programming it was obviously even more satisfying, because it was more concrete and because I got faster results.
Another major reason for Hassan's success is a willingness for collaboration and a more organizational approach to problem solving.
- Coordinating the development work and developing the team has been a great learning opportunity for me, concludes Hassan, who despite his young age already has experience in both design and architecture.
The practical aspect was the main attraction when Robin Dagerfall chose Nackademin's education for Linux and networking. Being able to combine a solid education with helping people and companies with their technology problems in real life, was exactly what Robin wanted.
- I've had several different types of jobs since my education, Robin says. What they all have had in common is that they have involved personal service almost as much as technical expertise.
Today Robin works within the operations department at RedBridge, which consists of a group of people with different skillsets and a strong common interest in technology. Together, they help RedBridge's customers reduce the time they spend on operations within their IT department. This is done using, as an example, the Ansible tool, which helps customers automate time-consuming configurations in their IT infrastructure.
- An important characteristic of doing well at the operations department is to be a good judge of character, Robin concludes.