Interview with Cecilia von Wachenfeldt
Cecilia is quite a new face in the developer community, but none the less interesting! She started her system developer career with Nansen in Stockholm earlier in 2009 and I had the opportunity to meet up with her for a chat on business during recession, general development and personal matters. Enjoy!
How did you feel about beginning your developer career in the middle of a financial crisis?
I cannot say I felt the financial crisis that much because I began working with a company that needed me. I also found it useful to start studying in the beginning of the crisis and start working when the worst was over. I've had the luck to find a good company where I feel needed so it've felt good so far despite the crisis!
How come you went to Nansen then?
My brother had contacts in the company board and put in a good word for me. There were quite a few who were looking for professional practice at Nansen but I was picked because they knew me. Obviously they also thought I was good because I was offered a full time job after the practice period!
- Cecilia von Wachenfeldt
- System developer (.NET) at Nansen (Stockholm, Sweden)
- Main focus on EPiServer development
- MCTS certified
- Follow on Twitter
Have you done anything special at work to handle the economy?
Not really, but I work hard and try to be as productive as possible. I've been very busy at Nansen since I came here.
Why did you choose to study .NET at Nackademin?
Again, it was my brother who thought I should try it. I've spent a lot of time with developers and I've always thought the IT industry's been interesting. Also, The World Wide Web is very changeable and you constantly develop when working with the medium. I've always liked to work with a computer too.
To study .NET was a bit like hit or miss because I hadn't programmed before, but I trusted my brother and it gave results.
It helped a lot too with Nackademin's reputation!
Was anything particularly hard when studying .NET?
You've got a MCTS certification, do you have anything to say about it?
Nansen invests a lot in the employees and a part of this is the MCTS certification (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist), which is the first step to the MCPD certification (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer). A certification is a proof of your skill and you gain from it both personally and professionally.
Any recommendations for those aiming to take the MCTS certification?
It's good to read the book many times. There are also practice tests and tasks you can do - they're very good! If you have a hard time with a block, just study it over and over again.
You can also find exactly what to study before the exam on MSDN.
I think you just have to study hard and then take the exam!
What are you most satisfied with when it comes to you and web projects?
Hard question. I'm very accurate and I care very much about the end result! I also ask more experienced developers if my code is good and if a specific problem can be solved in a better way. It's important to discuss ideas and solutions!
I can't say I'm the best programmer but at least I'm accurate!
Have you been part of a project where your work was particularly praised?
It's a project that isn't released yet, but I heard the EPiServer website I developed was very easy to maintain and understand! I've not been a part of particularly large projects yet, I've developed in smaller projects so far, but in this project the client was very satisfied with my work!
What's the greatest thing about work then?
Your coworkers and the tasks you stand before. It's fun to solve problems and to learn new things - I learn new things every day which is very fun! I like almost everything - it's a fun industry with many great people. There's nothing bad I think!
How do you feel about being a woman in such a man-dominated profession?
No problems at all - it's very easy - this profession feels good. I've always had an easy time collaborating with men.
Do you have any plans on an upcoming blog?
Actually, yes! I built a simple blog platform during the ASP.NET course in school and right now I'm pimping it - but I don't know what I will write about yet!
What are your thoughts on Twitter then? Do you enjoy it?
I think it's very interesting to follow important people on Twitter, there are more experienced developers who are posting great links - it's a good way to keep you updated!
I'm quite bad at updating my Twitter account but it's fun to follow others and read interesting things!
Worst piece of code you've ever found?
I've maintained a project where you can almost pick anything from. I think it's an old ASP developer who've developed the website because there's so much inline styles, if statements in front-end code and so on. Here's an example:
What does your home computer setup look like?
I've got a tiny regular laptop. I used it during my training period at Nansen and now I use it at home.
You moved to Stockholm three years ago, why was that?
I wanted to move to Stockholm right after high school! I'm from a small village in Hälsingland that's called Bergsjö and there are not very many job opportunities there and not much to do, so I wanted to see something else.
Then I got myself an apartment and a job in Stockholm and that made it easier to move!
What do you enjoy most about living in Stockholm?
There's always something to do here, an accessibility you don't get in a small village. There are many bars and restaurants to go to and the commuting service is good too. And if I get homesick it's just 2.5 hours by train to home!
I tried moving to London when I was younger but that was one step too large for me. Stockholm was much better!
What did you do before you began working as a system developer?
I studied to an optician technician in Norrtälje outside Stockholm. You get to learn a lot on eye diseases and to handle different types of lenses and so on. You learn to do everything the optician does except the vision screening.
I studied for a year and then I got a job in Stockholm city, where I worked as an optician assistant. After a year I felt that job wasn't very developing though – it was fun with such close customer contact but there were no career opportunities.
When you've got a free evening, what do you do?
I meet up with friends and have a cup of coffee. I also like shopping and during the summer the best thing to do is to sit at a bar outside and just take a beer.
Any favourite bar?
Reisen at Skeppsbron (in Stockholm) is very good – they've got delicious drinks! But they do also have an unpleasant bartender.. Other than that, I like Monks - but they've still got the best drinks at Reisen!
The latest concert you went too?
The latest one was Metallica, I've seen them three times this year! I saw them twice in Sweden and once in Paris, since I've got a friend who's living there and had a spare ticket!
Computer games you enjoy the most?
I like the Resident Evil and Silent Hill games, because they're so scary!
But I also like LocoRocco and Patapon, they are very funny and very cute and something completely else than Resident Evil.
I don't game that much, but I like horror games!
What do you have to say about iPhone 3GS and HTC Hero?
What I like about HTC Hero and Android is that everything is so free and open minded, with iPhone everything's dictated. Also, the iPhone can't multitask very well, even though it has a better CPU and smoother navigation. I don't know if there's anything more that's good with iPhone. It gets very smeary too! I like HTC Hero much better!
If you go on vacation for two weeks and have all expenses paid, where would you go?
Either the Maldive Islands or Mauritius. I like the tropic climate and want a beach with a turquoise like sea – I love to lay in the sun and bath!
It's also nice with large towns, like Barcelona – I want to go back there! But if I get all expenses paid I want to go to Mauritius, because it's quite expensive there. I also would like to go to Japan, because there everything is way too expensive!
We change it to Japan – that's the place I want to go to!
Best way to travel?
Aeroplane, it's fast, even though it's not environment friendly!
Nintendo vs Sony (for gaming)?
Oh, I want to say Nintendo 8-bit for the nostalgia, but PlayStation 3 kicks ass!
Three blogs you can recommend?
Interesting and fun interview!