From circus performer to software developer: HiQ's Henkka enjoys strange challenges

Henrik aka Henkka, HiQ’s Senior Frontend Developer, was a circus performer who ended up as a developer by accident.

Solution-oriented Henkka has created a significant career in software development through self-learning and still spends a lot of his free time on self-development. In addition to customer work, Henkka leads the frontend competence group at HiQ and mentors younger developers.

In the 90s, Henkka was a traveling circus performer who swallowed fire and charmed the audience with his juggling skills. When the Internet arrived in 1994, he saw it as an opportunity to become famous. He didn't know it at the time, but a completely new career path was about to open up through the creation of his own website.

"I found HTML guides and thanks to them, I managed to create a website for myself. The feeling was magical: I did this, all by myself, and now the whole world can see it. I was immediately hooked and wanted to learn more," Henkka describes finding his passion.

The feeling was magical: I did this, all by myself, and now the whole world can see it. I was immediately hooked and wanted to learn more.

Senior Frontend Developer

Henrik Rinne

In the 21st century, Henkka moved to Hamburg and looked for a job through the Yellow Pages. Without a university degree and with his high school studies unfinished, Henkka continued self-studying websites and built his portfolio, using Flash for example. The stage confidence gained from the circus hobby also helped in applying for a new field.

Thanks to his portfolio, Henkka finally landed a job at a company making websites and continued his career development in different jobs and as a freelance developer.

"At that time, web designers like myself used Photoshop to design the layout of the website and also implemented the HTML website. The roles between designers and developers were not as differentiated as they are today, which was great, because I like graphic design. I progressed in my career by constantly developing my skills and following great people’s example. Among other things, I became a really good Flash developer."

After seven years in Hamburg, Henkka returned to Finland. His rapid career development continued at for example Rovio, when their signature product Angry Birds game was most popular.

"As a software developer, the jump from websites to game prototypes didn't seem big. As a person, I'm also really solution-oriented: I figure things out I like to tackle “strange” challenges. Many times I have been hired precisely because I enjoy tasks for which there are no ready-made answers, but they have to be found by researching and experimenting."

Study broadly, but choose one area of ​​specialization

Henkka found his way to HiQ in 2022.

"We had already planned cooperation with the design agency Great Apes regarding Flash projects years before. A suitable time for a joint project was not found then, but I remembered the company later, and I thought that it still makes cool stuff. After Googling, I found out that Great Apes is now owned by HiQ, and HiQ also looked like a company that does interesting projects."

HiQ has made it possible for Henka to have a versatile job description, where he can try out different projects and industries. Lastly, he has gotten to know the world of vehicle insurance and learned a lot of new things. Henkka, who specializes in frontend, believes that for an experienced developer like him, consultant-based work is perfectly suited.

"I like to make and experiment, and it's great that I can go to a client for a year or two without having to change jobs."

At HiQ, Henkka leads the competence group for frontend development, whose monthly Frontend Friday events present industry changes, news, and trends. In addition, he mentors younger developers, with whom he often spars about, for example, technologies and the importance of continuous learning.

"The T-model is a useful competency model for a developer: study widely but choose one area of ​​expertise to specialize in. Constant reading and practicing new things in practice is important because everything can change quickly in software development. However, I don't assume that everyone uses their free time with the same passion for self-development, which is why it's great that HiQ enables the use of time for self-directed study during working hours as well."

Henkka's story is a part of the #HiQPeople series, which showcases hiqers' life stories & personas beyond the job titles.

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