From an English major with 10 years in Spanish academia to a front-end developer.
Isis has her roots planted deeply in academia. She is an English major (as is our senior developer Niko) with a PHD from Spain, and she has built her career in the academic world for ten years. Doing research, teaching, writing articles and going to conferences. She always thought that would be where she would work and build a future. On a conference trip to Helsinki she met her future husband and later the couple made the decision to make Finland their home.
Returning to academia in Finland was unfortunately not in the books. Even though within the EU we should have common standards, the Finnish universities were difficult to get into with a Spanish degree. Even with the hard work of trying to get into academia, she was faced with the fact that she needed to pursue a new career.
In Spain she had been involved in building and designing a website within the University. She recalled enjoying the creation of the look and user friendliness. So when she had to rethink a new career, this experience pushed her towards front-end development.
When she first started she joined the NetSuite team, and worked on Woolman’s own app, Woolman banking. This required learning to understand the NetSuite technology and scripts. She was assigned to build e-invoicing, vendor billing and invoicing approval features to “superpowering NetSuite” to the needs of the highly digitalized Nordic users. The team was great in learning new -together.
In four months she was invited to join the Shopify App Development team and she got to dip her toes in a Headless Shopify set up. This felt good and she got to work on the front-end development. She also improved her skills in React, an additional conquest. Next on the learning curve was to work with content management systems.
In May 2021 Isis signed a contract to work with Woolman full-time. This was such a victory and a payoff for all the hard work. Now it was time to do Shopify Plus development with a well-known Swedish brand. Here she got to work in a highly international team and a new culture (company as well as nationality).
Isis has moved from one team to another several times. The reason for this is that in a hyper growth company there is so much to do and situations change fast. She is a person who is trusted, known to be a fast learner and a dedicated colleague. She even finds time to mentor her juniors.
Working for the first private company in her life
Isis did not really know what to expect from a private company. She hadn’t really even thought about what to expect, but what have surprised her are the following:
- The transparency to strategy and financials. Knowing where the company is headed and having time to form an understanding is important. It also came as a surprise to learn that the whole company is informed in the financial status monthly. These both bring a feeling of security for her.
- The teamwork. She had not realized that the way of working in academia was actually quite individualistic. What she has now experienced is that developers pull together and they help each other. It is not just that the help is ensured in your team, but on a company level.
- The international culture. She feels that Woolman is a very international company on many levels. Not just having colleagues in many countries or that they are from many countries. It is also the customers we work with. When we come together from many different countries and cultures, there is a very respectful way of building relationships. It seems that everyone takes extra care in making sure that we understand each other.
- Having a window to other private companies' cultures. Even though for Isis Woolman is the first and only private company to work for, she has already had the opportunity of seeing many different cultures. She has learnt that some are very hierarchical, some form very small teams to work with, others engage a large team. She has come to value the flat organization of Woolman.
- Flexible hours and self control. In Spain there is still quite a strict culture of working 8-16, on site. (The Siesta people think to be an everyday standard is unfortunately an illusion.) What she really values is that she can work her own hours, in a way that fits her life and schedules best, without needing permission from anyone.
Where do you see yourself headed in your career?
“In just over a year I have had the pleasure of working with Shopify Plus and NetSuite technologies, as well as Shopify app development. I have learnt so much and had a chance to try out my skills. It has come more and more clear to me that I really enjoy working with the front-end projects. I love handcrafts, working with colors, different materials and textures. For me design and frontend with colors, shapes and putting together beautiful things create the same contentment I get from handicrafts.
If I share my dream, it would be to become a full-stack developer and work with Shopify customers and apps development. I also see myself mentoring others. Helping others learn comes from my background in teaching and understanding the different ways people learn.”
Dreaming of moving to Lapland
When so many people in Europe have the dream to move south, it is not for all. Isis, comes from Santander, Spain where it is mild and humid. She says she is not a typical Spaniard who enjoys the beach. Rather she loves the snow, staying home and lighting candles to create a tranquil atmosphere. The couple now lives in Oulu, but their dream is to move even further north to Lapland. They love cross country skiing and the long winters with guaranteed snow and polar nights. Having the possibility to work anywhere makes this possible and is something Isis values highly.
Mareena Löfgrén, Brand Manager, Woolman