Professionalism – everyone offers it and everyone buys it, but what is it exactly?

Does professionalism refer to super intelligence, talent, know-how, a way to act or what? What do we talk about in terms of professionalism? What does it mean in software development?

Petteri Räisänen has worked in software development for almost 20 years. Since early 2017, he has been a consultant in an e-commerce project for a customer of Compile, which is executed by a team of over ten professionals. His career in coding began with applicable studies at the University of Kuopio. As a man from Savo, Petteri urges all his interlocutors to take what he calls “a mugful of salt”, meaning that not everything he says should be taken too seriously.

“I don’t really know how to do anything else. The neat indoor work suits the engineer types well,” Petteri sums it up.

Fortunately for Petter, the employment prospects in the software sector are so good that he doesn’t have to change his day-time job any time soon. Over the past 20 years, he has developed some kind of an idea of how software work is done. Professionalism cannot be found behind any mystical, magical or cryptic curtain. Computers are stupid and do, with the utmost logic, exactly what they are told. Once you understand the logic of their action, you can solve everything.

Experience helps, but it’s the attitude that counts

Professionalism, especially in software development, is about tolerating change, the desire to learn, curiosity and the ability to adapt to ever-changing situations in an ever-evolving field.

“One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years is that you shouldn’t get stuck to a particular job. You have to be ready to study and do things differently.”

After the warm-up, the modest consultant finally agrees to talk about professionalism and himself in the same sentence. According to Petteri, professionalism is purely a matter of attitude.

“If you’re willing to accept that nothing is static and you’re not against change, but accept it, you can go a long way.”

“If you’re willing to accept that nothing is static and you’re not against change, but accept it, you can go a long way.”

In Petteri’s opinion, professionalism is also about taking responsibility and not leaving things halfway. You have to know your own limits. You have to admit it when you need help. You shouldn’t be too proud. You must be able to cooperate with people from different organisations.

Experience helps. The more you’ve coded, and the more you’ve seen and done, the more automatic programming becomes. Once you’ve gathered experiences under your belt of situations where you have gone wrong, you know how to avoid making the same mistakes again. The continuous development of technology and the speed of change ensure that there is always more to learn. And it’s never boring.

“New things are the perks of this job. You don’t have time to get bored. Challenges keep the mind fresh.”

Roles are made to be broken and objectives to be shared

Professional implementation of a software project also requires a lot from the customer. Buying software expertise is challenging. The creators must have an appropriate framework and all parties must know their role. Mutual trust is essential.

“It is important that, as a consultant, I feel accepted by the client and their staff.”

“It is important that, as a consultant, I feel accepted by the client and their staff.”

In the current project, Petteri mostly works as both a developer and an architect, but in the agile team everyone does everything they are able to.

“The team I’m in now has employees from at least five different companies. You need to let go of such boundaries. You must not think that you can’t work with someone because they work for a competitor. You need to understand what our common task is and what we need to achieve.”

It’s not always fun and easy.

Programming is like any other job: sometimes it’s fun, sometimes not so fun. The moods vary between wails of despair to shouts of joy. Where does Petteri get his energy?

“When you’ve been trying to solve something for weeks, even years, and two pieces finally fall into place, you get great feelings of success.”

Petteri speaks first and foremost about the way we deal with situations, the environment, change and other people. In 20 years, he has had some time to live and learn.

“I didn’t know much about anything in my 20s. But the older I get, the harder it is to learn. I have to focus on what’s relevant. I’m not trying to understand everything, but I’m focusing on what’s relevant to me.”

You have to be prepared to learn new things, if not on a daily basis, at least monthly. It also gives you a competitive edge in the labour market. And Petteri says he’s never specifically strived for professionalism.

“I’ve just done what needs to be done and what seems reasonable, logical and right.”

the eNPS calculation is based on the Employee Net Promoter Score formula developed by Fred Reichheld, which was originally used to study the customer experience and customer satisfaction of companies. Lately, it has also been used to research employee satisfaction (e as in employee + NPS).

This is how the calculation is performed.

We ask our employees once a year, “How likely are you to recommend your workplace to friends or acquaintances on a scale of 0 to 10?” Then we ask for clarification with an open question: “Why did you submit this score?”.

Those who submit a score of 9 or 10 are called promoters. Those who submit a score from 0 to 6 are called detractors.

The eNPS result is calculated by subtracting the relative percentage of detractors from the relative percentage of promoters. Other answers are allocated a score of 0.

The calculation results can be anything from -100 to +100. Results between +10 and +30 are considered to be good, and results above +50 are considered to be excellent.