From Shenyang to Växjö
An interview with Nils Sun, Softwerk Java developer
“Programming is like playing a video game: you finish one level, and then you’re on to the next one.”
Hey Nils! What’s your story?
Nils Sun: In China, I studied a Bachelor’s of Computer Science and Technology, and a Master of Computer Application at Northeastern University. After I graduated, I got a job in a state-owned telecom company, where I worked for nearly 10 years as a project manager. I had the chance to work with lots of developers which got me interested in code, especially Java code. After my main project came to an end I wanted a new challenge, and began thinking about working in an international company.
But I realised that there were two main obstacles in my way: lacking language and programming skills. So I quit my job and moved to Växjö, Sweden. At Linnaeus University, I studied software technology and programming and started improving these two skills.
How did you start working at Softwerk?
I was lucky to get to know one of the founders, Welf Löwe, during a one-week work exchange program to Germany. And the other founder, Rüdiger Lincke, was the teacher of my last course at Linnaeus University, namely software quality. After the course, he suggested I do an internship at Softwerk.
To be honest, when I started my internship I was a bit nervous about my coding abilities. At the time I didn’t have much confidence. But the co-workers were very kind and in a way my internship felt like a continuation of my university studies. It was a very good environment. I compensated my somewhat lacking skills with working really hard and after my internship, I was offered a job.
What’s your position at Softwerk now?
I’ve been working here as a software developer for three years now. My main focus is Java developing, and I’ve worked on a couple of interesting projects, such as Danfoss, AIMO, and Fortnox. I’m happy to be at a stage in my career where I can experience the whole software cycle.
What’s an average day at the office like?
If I were to define Softwerk in three words, they’d be: optimistic, passionate, patient. Here, people get along like friends. As opposed to Chinese companies, Softwerk has a flat hierarchy. The bosses are kind and very patient and I feel like I’m free to ask anything. If there’s a problem, people will take the time to make sure you understand – and if there’s a language barrier they will even draw it out on the whiteboard!
The company also gives us lots of space to improve our skills. One example is when we organised seminars where each employee gave a lecture about a field they’re experts in. Softwerk also helps us foreign employees with visa applications, and offers Swedish language courses.
Personally, I feel grateful, because the company really has given me a lot. Not only have I improved my English and programming skills, but I also feel I’m more sociable than before. I’ve improved my social skills through all kinds of group activities. For instance, the team has gone canoeing together, and we’ve gone on trips to Alicante and Macedonia.
What’s the best thing about working at Softwerk?
The best thing for me is I just get more and more interested in my job. I think programming is like playing a video game, you finish one level, and then you’re on to the next one. I like problem solving, and that’s what I get to do every day: I work with cross-application platforms, checking the interface, log, and analysing problems. I think this is where I really can exert my strong abilities.
Beyond that, I like our office environment. Softwerk is concerned with its employees and the company adds new features to the office according to our demands. We now have many ways to entertain ourselves on Friday evenings; with a dart board, PS4, VR helmet, pullup bar, and tap beer. I think this brings us together as a team. It’s a special culture.
Finally, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’m very happy here, and feel like I’m working among friends. In the future, I’d like to apply the techniques I learned from my projects to other projects and to tackle new challenges. I also want to improve my developing skills. My aim is to become an architect, to really grasp the software framework. Ideally, I’d be responsible for a new project as scrum master.
And speak Swedish fluently. [laughs]