I had a remote chat with Justus who is working as an Android Developer at our Swipe Studio. SinnerSchrader Swipe is a studio for mobile product management, design and software engineering with offices in Hamburg and Berlin. He told me how he got where he is right now and how his working routine looks like.
Who are you and what are you doing, Justus?
I am Justus, 31 years old, I live in Hamburg and work as an Android developer at SinnerSchrader Swipe. I started studying media technology in Emden in 2010 and then went on to do a master's in computer science near Leipzig and Halle and ended up in Hamburg as part of my master's thesis. That was the intention and funny enough, I ended up at Swipe. I wrote my thesis there for a good six months and after an interruption, I have now been back at SinnerSchrader since 2019.
Have you always dreamed about becoming an Android developer or how did that come to be?
Android only started to arouse my interest during my studies. There was quite a lot of programming involved. I liked it right from the start and then it consolidated over time and I programmed my first real app as part of my Bachelor's thesis. And so it went on as far as possible in the Master's programme and was further consolidated in the Master's thesis at Swipe.
I never had the clear intention to focus on Android. But because we were forced to learn Java during our studies and Java was used to program Android apps, and still can be, this simply happened. If there was another language on the curriculum, I might have ended up in iOS development - who knows.
Could you imagine changing direction again sometime or did you find your purpose with Android?
I know the iOS system. I also have some Apple products here. Of course I use an Android device privately. From time to time I look beyond the horizon and look at the code of my colleagues, but so far I didn't have the idea to change my area of responsibility in this respect, but who knows what will happen.
What does your typical day look like?
The rough daily routine is not so much tailored to a developer. I start with a daily meeting as usual. This goes on throughout the week and if there is not another meeting coming up I either have a task from the day before or I look at the JIRA board and see what is coming up next. If we work with several people in a team we will of course discuss who is going to do what. Most of the time this depends on experience and knowledge. Actually, for us it's working through acceptance criteria from a user story or subtasks. Of course I do not do this all by myself. I communicate a lot with the creative team to find out where do I get these pictures, where do I get the icons, what kind of font is used etc.
As a developer, I am not only responsible for ensuring that something is triggered when the user clicks on the button, but the button also has to go there first and it has to look nice, just as the creative team thought it up. So this is frontend and backend in one person. I write the logic of the app and I'm also responsible for making sure that everything looks the way the creatives imagined and defined it. And when I really have time to develop a task, then colleagues come into play again to look at my code. So this is at least a four-eye principle. Of course, my colleague has a different view of it and has not yet worked with it or seen it and has a different eye for possible errors. And only when he gives the OK, the task is considered completed and we can move on to the next task.
In your opinion, what makes the Swipe Studio so special?
Swipe has always been committed to keeping a special eye on mobile. For instance, I was part of the "Stopp Corona" app project for the Austrian red cross which only took as a few quite intensive weeks. There also are other projects that keep us busy for several months, so my tasks and routines always depend on the client and the project. It's definitely very diversified.
The atmosphere is also something that makes working at SinnerSchrader Swipe special. Under normal circumstances, it is easy to maintain a relaxed atmosphere and a family relationship within the team. This is formed by routine visits to the coffee machine, lunch together on the sofa or in the meeting room or simply by having a couple of beers at the end of the day, which we also like to celebrate. You can go to the Christmas market or have a barbecue and play bobby car races etc. There are a lot of jokes made, we are open with each other and we always have a lot of fun and when we’re getting tired on Friday afternoon we turn on some music. Therefore it is worthwhile to sit in a big office with only one table.
Do you do something in remote times to keep the spirit up?
Yes of course. In the meantime, that has fallen asleep a little, because many people have been involved in projects though. In the beginning we did it for example by making a date to drink coffee remotely and sitting with a cup in front of the camera. Last week we met Friday afternoon with a beer in a bigger group. The response is always quite high and you always see the usual faces, even the leads. Just like in the office. But still not the same.
With which thoughts do you look into the future?
When I work together with my colleagues I always see new things that are new to me and project-related I always try to change if possible and look at new mechanisms and technologies that my colleagues have already mastered and just found out and that new strategies are developed together in the team.
So you see yourself more as a practicing developer rather than a manager in the long run?
At some point maybe, because I see when I look around that my colleagues are better than me in some areas and I am better than them in others. I think I have no pressure there. At the moment I'm very satisfied when I have tasks that I enjoy doing that come out of development. I don't want to change that at the moment because I don't think my learning curve has already flattened out but with the change 1.5 years ago it is rather on the rise again. You get new input directly through a job change. So I want to consolidate everything and learn new things and develop them further.
What fun fact could you surprise your colleagues with?
We always have our Morning meeting on Mondays to get up to date and since we are in the home office we have introduced "Swipe Cribs" and show each other our flat or work place and walk around with the laptop. This is always very well received and everyone is amazed how everyone lives like this and there are real gems around. I have also walked through my flat and showed my self-built shelves and cupboards. So one thing that interests me apart from developing: I have a whole arsenal of tools and machines. With this I decorate my flat when there is space or when something else has to be sorted out then I take care of the replacement myself.
So you are a hobby craftsman, so to speak?
Yes I always look around on the internet. I got inspiration for a shelf I built at Pinterest, for example, and put it together myself in a modified form. It's fun and a nice change compared to always sitting in front of the computer or on the sofa.