Annika Anikari // August 14 2019

Rahul – an Indian man loving Finnish nature and making snowmen

Annika Anikari

Leader and Privacy Expert, Lead of Developing Client Operations, One Digitalist Platform Product Owner

We at Digitalist cherish diversity in our culture. We believe that diverse teams are more innovative and make better decisions. Annika Anikari interviewed Rahul Sharma, a relatively new employee with Indian background, to hear fresh feedback on our success in diversity related questions as well as his ideas where we could improve.

Rahul has started his career as software developer in 2010, and he joined Digitalist Group as Senior Software Engineer in September 2018. During his career, he has worked with many industries and in many roles, having responsibilities in developing back end and front end, and working as a full-stack developer. His core competences are Java, Scala and many frameworks based on these programming languages.

Looking for a job opportunity abroad

My first visit to Finland was a 6-month assignment in 2015. I had been looking for an opportunity to work abroad, and I got a proposal to work as a local coordinator for some project work in Finland. Because I had this wish to get work experience outside of India, I immediately said “Yes” even though I did not know much about the country at that time. I started to search information on Finland and Finnish culture – and found that this is a good place to live in. I really enjoyed my first half year period in Finland. I was lucky to stay here during all the warmest months with much daylight and got to enjoy the Finnish summer.

Joining Digitalist

When I travelled back to India, I found myself missing the Finnish innovative culture and beautiful nature, which both had made an unforgettable impression on me. As I am a silent person, wandering in the nature and enjoying the good air quality and beautiful views is the best way for me to relax. The country also attracted me because people are open-minded and you can do what you want to, there are not so many restrictions. Because of enjoying my first visit so much, I came back to Finland in August 2018 and started to look for a job to be able to settle to Finland.

I sent my application to several companies. I got invitations to many interesting interviews and I was offered a job in three different companies. I chose Digitalist over the others, – at that time mostly because of the excellent location. Digitalist studios all over the world are located in city centers, which make them easy to access from almost anywhere. Now I have been working here since last autumn.

What I like about working at Digitalist is that we constantly get new projects and we are all the time working with something that nobody has done before. In India all the companies are working with the same big players and mostly repeating tasks that are already familiar. In Finland innovation culture, service design and product development are overall on a totally different level than in my home country. Here everyone has the possibility to grow their skills very fast by working with new things all the time.

Snowmen and overnight cruises

In October 2018 my wife joined me in Finland. She arrived right before the cold and dark winter months, and I was not sure what to expect. But she loved it! In India we have travelled to the mountains to see snowflakes. Because that has always been so special for us, and because of the beautiful Finnish nature my wife still all the time has the feeling of being on holiday here. She draws even me out from our cozy apartment to make snowmen despite of having -15 ºC outside. In addition to enjoying the nature, we have also enjoyed overnight cruises from Helsinki and visiting Suomenlinna Fortress Island to take in the beautiful views.

Digitalist working culture

In my opinion the best thing at Digitalist is the culture that allows to connect with anyone, everyone is always available. Digitalists are open-minded and very innovative people, who are not bound to one single skill. Everyone has a very broad skill set and we are all the time learning new things. What I also like the about our culture is the fact that we have people representing many different nationalities at Digitalist. Being part of such an international work community feels good, because it is one kind of an assurance for a newcomer, the company must be good because of people joining it with so many different backgrounds. It is fun, too, because you get to know many different cultures and habits and you can learn from national specialties every time when we have meetings or parties together. For example, I have learned that Finnish people are very technical and straight-forward compared to Indian people. We could never say a direct “No” to each other; we use different indirect ways to say the same thing. But in our studio the whole team are members of the same family, respecting each other, and we understand the argumentation when someone does not like an idea that has been thrown to the discussion. We are working as a collaborative team, everyone having their own strengths. In the beginning, my colleagues helped me a lot to get started: they have always been willing to share their knowledge on any issue. My colleagues and the management are all so supportive, we encourage each other to innovate better ideas all the time.

What could we improve at Digitalist? Maybe we could have more scheduled trainings for gaining new skills and also get these skills certified. This would probably be good both for the company and for each one of us individually. What comes to diversity, I think that we could also recruit more juniors. They have fresh knowledge, fresh ideas and latest updates from the school and they think in a different way than persons with long careers. That would again help us making better services. All in all, I find working at Digitalist very comfortable; it is difficult to find any negative sides.

Thank you Rahul for your interview!

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