Pauli Marttinen

My name is Pauli and I have been working at Surveypal as a frontend developer for about four years even though I have never received any official training or education in computer science. In fact, my field of expertise is officially in the world of classical music, more precisely composition, theory and history.

Photo by Tuomas Puikkonen

I have been extremely passionate both about music and programming since I was a child. I have tried and failed over and over again to create simple graphical effects and games with QuickBasic on an old Intel 286 just as much as i have tried and failed to create music on the classic Impulse Tracker 2.14.

Before I joined Surveypal, programming was a hobby: creating static web pages with PHP, developing games with C#, attempting to build web apps using JavaScript and JQuery. My experience with modern web development technologies like TypeScript, React and Node.js was practically zero, but that didn’t scare me: I saw an interesting job posting, I applied, and I got in.

Everyone at Surveypal has been supportive of me joining the company, its codebase and its culture.

I never expected any workplace, especially my first workplace, to be so open to new people with such a limited skill set, yet Surveypal has certainly been that.

Programming can be extremely difficult without passion. Often a programmer must think in a way that’s unnatural for humans, and even simple problems may not be as straightforward as you might think. It is a creative endeavor where one must try and fail and try again, which requires a lot of patience, and that patience comes from passion.

So, in a way, writing code and writing music are not that different from each other, are they?

Now I am a reasonably experienced developer in some of the most relevant technologies of the day, but the journey is not over. No-one is ever a complete programmer. Even those who have been in the business for decades must learn new things regularly. Sometimes it’s a new programming language, sometimes a new style, sometimes new software, sometimes a whole new paradigm. That is the nature of this industry, and it is for the better not just for the industry, but also for personal cognitive health, mental health and life balance.

On the side, I write lots of original orchestral music and arrange music from video games, anime and films for symphony orchestras, choirs and wind bands. I also play video games, mostly focusing on one titled Overwatch 2, and some board games, mostly focusing on one known as Riichi Mahjong. If I have the time, you might catch me watching a game of hockey or pesäpallo.

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