What is your area of responsibility at fino, Tobias?
That’s not so easy to answer, because there are a lot of things. I started out as a “normal” software developer, but over time I took on more tasks. These days, I work with a team of seven and we have created the KYCnow product from the first line of code to productive operation. We are continuously expanding this solution together. Today, I don’t do much programming myself, but have taken on more of a strategic and coordinating role. The goal is to drive certain topics forward, such as the software architecture at the moment. What is very important to me is to share my knowledge with others. At the same time, I also motivate colleagues to share their know-how in Tech Talks.
How did you get involved with fino?
Before Corona, fino regularly organized so-called Hacktoberfests, hackathons that take place in October. These are hosted by various groups around the world and bring programmers together who then work on open source projects. In 2017, I took part in such an event together with a colleague who is now also at fino. We sat together with a few fino employees and realized that this is a pretty cool group. In the evening, we got to know each other even better over an after-work beer. I really liked what the finos told me about their day-to-day work.
Is programming your passion?
Absolutely. At school, I took advantage of every further education opportunity that was offered that focused on IT and also took the subject as an advanced course. I understand programming not only as my work. It is my hobby. Even today, I program home automation projects in my spare time – for example, when the alarm clock rings, the coffee machine starts automatically. For privacy reasons, among other things, I don’t want to use Alexa or other voice controls for this, but program the necessary hardware on an open-source basis.
You have also written a book on this subject.
Yes, exactly. It’s called “Creative DIY Microcontroller Projects with TinyGo and WebAssembly” and has just been published. In this book I explain in English on more than 300 pages how to program microcontrollers with the language Go, which we also mainly use at fino. This starts with making LED lamps light up and goes all the way to the processors’ communication with the Internet.
How did fino take the idea that you wanted to write a book?
That was no problem at all. We set up a corresponding supplementary agreement that allows me to work as an author alongside my job.
Now developers are being sought by many companies. What makes fino special for you?
It’s simply the people. Here’s a concrete example: on my trial work day at fino, I talked to a lot of people, and then someone came up to me, casually dressed, and also talked to me for quite a while. The conversation ended with my counterpart saying, “By the way, I’m Florian, the CEO of fino.” The fact that I was able to talk to a CEO in such an open, direct and relaxed manner was something I had never experienced before in my working life and found to be very positive. Of course, developers are courted and approached by numerous headhunters. But we have a great team spirit. If there are problems, I can always ask colleagues for help. Even if they don’t know what to do, they can at least name the contact person who will work out a solution for me. In my home office, I’m connected with my team all day long via video and chat channels. Everyone is happy to listen, whether it’s important problems or just to talk. I don’t think this level of cohesion exists at other companies, especially now that everyone is more or less sitting in a home office. Another point is the free allocation of time: fino doesn’t care when you’re productive – whether it’s from nine to five or at night between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.. That’s not an issue at all. In short, it’s the people, on the one hand, and the opportunities to structure one’s life and work, on the other, that make fino for me. For example, I’m also allowed to bring my dog to the office. If I think about it for a long time, I could enumerate an endlessly long list of fino’s plus points!