​History of a Developer – Sticking IT through the years

Oct 12, 2018, 9:11 AM

My career at Nitor started 10 years ago. In this post, I will talk about what has happened during these years in the Finnish IT scene. Participating in events usually blesses you with various stickers to decorate your computers with. I’ll let the stickers do the most of the talking today.


My first laptop was a Windows PC that didn't see much development work, because my customers provided their own computers for me to use. Funny stickers were also not yet in fashion. I would describe this as the Dark Age of the Portals and Enterprison Java. Who would want to advertise those stickers? So let’s get on and jump a couple of years ahead.


Around 2010, Apple was innovating and came up with the ultraportable Macbook Air, which replaced my old merely “transportable” laptop. I tend to program on the go, so I was really happy with the reduced weight. I started to spend more time in hackathons, meetups, and conferences – and thus began acquiring stickers.


When I started at Nitor, Agile methods were just starting to gain foothold in Finland. They were popularized by the Agile Finland community and the Scan-Agile conference. I had already been trained as a Certified Scrum Master (we train every Nitorean in agile methodologies). But agile was also becoming passé! At least I was already tired of the symptoms of its popularization such as selling various methodologies instead of shipping working solutions. My first stickers are therefore from the Scan-Agile conference, where the community was also having a few laughs of self-irony.


Unfortunately I was fast and broke things by spilling water on that Air, so I had to switch to another. That one lasted almost to this day and you can almost see the heavy use in the worn out stickers.

Besides agility, the remaining stickers include some of the hot emergent phenomena of the day: GitHub, Overtone, and Rails Girls. I do Open-source development, and GitHub has helped me make Git and the Pull Request workflow enjoyable. I was also active in both Rails Girls and ClojureBridge communities, and helping battle diversity issues is still close to my heart. The Overtone sticker thanks go to Sam Aaron for his inspirational work in live programming music and getting kids involved!


I jumped on the Linux bandwagon after seeing Jonas Berlin a.k.a. xkr47 at work. That was when the first Dell Linux laptops had became available. He is amazingly proficient at work after investing into his environment and tooling over the years. Thus, it was the combination of Linux, i3, Emacs and Clojure for me. I consider my current ultrabook, the Dell XPS 13 the peak machine in both productivity as well as stickers.

Clojure became not just a language that I use for hobby projects but the one I use for pretty much everything. I bootstrapped the Clojure Finland community and finally ordered stickers for it. Thank you ClojuTRE for the recent Grace Hopper sticker!

As a nerd I like gadgets. The Internet of Things has become popular and I have my share of smart watches, buttons and whatnots that come with advertisement stickers like the Pebble, may you rest in peace. I have also done my share of development for mobile and connected devices, for example the Digital Space System for our offices and recently a Voice User Interface for a bank.

Finally, a few words about the Nitor stickers: as you can see, Nitoreans are proud to display their allegiance!

Our brand was refreshed a few years ago and the flame became the torch. We are a Digital Engineering Company that aims to do Sustainable Digital Development and offers a lifetime guarantee for the solutions we build (“Ikitakuu” in Finnish). The square root is a nod to Nitor's sqrt(100) birthday which we celebrated a year ago.

The humorous side of our engineering is displayed in the G.O.A.T sticker that portrays Nitor’s spirit animal, the goat which has been a mascot of Nitor for quite a few years. We are the Greatest Of All Time consulting company in my not so humble opinion. We also had a bump with the Ukkeli brand when Teemu Keisteri created us some t-shirts.

What is in store for the next 10 years? I'll get back to you later. It's really hard to see even what devices we'll be using in a few years. One thing is pretty certain though; I'll be programming with a Lisp, it’s the forever language. (((( ))))



Markku Rontu is a is a full-stack digital engineer capable of shipping solutions all the way from initial concept creation to continuous deployment. In his free time he dances salsa or swings a longsword, while trying to bring about a sustainable digital future