Home / A day in the life of...Mikael Eriksson

A day in the life of… Web Developer Mikael Eriksson

David Lockie: Hi Mikael, thanks for agreeing to do this interview! So you’re based in Sweden yeah?

I’m in Sweden. Yeah, I’m in Norrköping (Angry Creative’s HQ). I usually work at the office but sometimes I’m at home, like today.

DL: And before Coronavirus, did you go into the office often?

Yeah, I’ve been working here for about 17 months now. So when I started working we still had the old office.

DL: I think the old office predates my time here!

I did go to the old office a lot when we were still there. And then I went to the new office for a few months before I started working from home.

DL: So tell me your story. How did you end up working at Angry Creative? Did you go to university? When did you start coding? I want to hear your story!

Yeah, so I actually have two degrees. The first one is in business and economics. So I have a master’s in business and economics, and I worked in that field for a couple of years. And I was really into doing Excel spreadsheets, making calculations.

Illustration of a spreadsheet

DL: So did you get to the ‘I can write Macros’ tier of Excel use?

Yeah. A bit. I thought that was really fun. So people said ‘maybe you should do programming, maybe that’s your thing.’ So I started experimenting with that and discovered WordPress, and did a few WordPress sites, started my own business and did some corporate sites on the side, and realised that that’s what I really want to do. So I went back to school. I did both school and work for a couple of years. And then, by the time I was about to graduate, I really wanted to move back to Norrköping, I think because this is where I was born. So I found Angry Creative. I don’t remember exactly how, whether it was through social media or if I just found an ad for a job, I’m not sure. But I thought it seemed like a really cool company. So I think I applied for every available job!

DL: Like a brute force attack!

Yes, I did a brute force attack! And then I contacted Malin a couple of months later, and I asked her about it. She was like, ‘Yeah, we’re not really sure what you want to do because you applied for all of the jobs.’ I had a pretty good talk with her and explained why I really wanted to work at Angry and she said, ‘Well, we do have one position that might be good for you, which was this position as a new WordPress developer.’

DL: Nice. So that was the route you went down in the end. So you went back to school to do some formal computer science? Or was that you still doing your business and economics school?

No, I went back to do computer science, a two year programme. That was very heavy on JavaScript and front end stuff. Basically, not a lot of WordPress ironically. But you know, you still learn a lot about both functional programming and object oriented programming from it. So the step into WordPress was, since I had already worked with WordPress, not that big.

DL: That’s cool. And so do you still do anything with business and economics? Just as an interest or not even that?

I don’t do a lot of that. It’s kind of a hard thing to do as a hobby, you know? So, no, I’m focusing on programming. 

DL: All right. So Angry Creative was your first job outside of working for yourself and your own business. 

Well in this industry, yes.

DL: Okay, and so, in your day to day life, as a web developer at Angry Creative now, do you use those front end skills? Do you get to use much of that front end JavaScript? Or have you kind of evolved into a bit of a back ender? Or is it a nice mix of both?

I do some JavaScript, but I actually really enjoy PHP development most. So I try to work on that as much as I can. But you know, WordPress is getting more into JavaScript with the new Gutenberg blocks. So I think it’s just a matter of time before that starts to take over more and more.

DL: So you wake up in Norrköping. Tell me about a typical workday.

So on a typical day, if I go to the office, I wake up, grab a coffee, take my dog for a walk, pack my backpack and go leave my dog at the dog sitter. I have a small dog, a Pomeranian Chihuahua mix!

I get to the office usually around eight o’clock and you know, have a chat with my co-workers. Then I get to work, get stuck in. Logging time and doing some tickets.

DL: What do you do for lunch? Take some lunch with you or go out around Norrköping? Do you have some nice cafes? Do you get up and go outside and walk around?

Norrköping has some really nice cafes and places. But I usually bring lunch. Most people bring lunch to the office and we all try to be able to eat at the same time. So this is a really nice thing about being at the office that I really come to appreciate now since I’ve done so much remote work.

DL: Having lunch on your own can be a bit lonely.

Yeah, it can be. 

DL: So you’ve finished your lunch. You smashed through a bunch of tickets and finished the day. What do your evenings look like?

During Corona obviously, everything changed. I mean that this is the new normal. But what we used to do before was we often went out to have a beer or something after work. Not every day obviously. But we were pretty good at doing stuff like that, you know? Which is a really nice thing about working at Angry. There’s a lot of people who value social activities after work. Of course there are those who just want to go home and be with their families, which I totally understand but it’s really nice for someone like me who has no kids yet to be able to have a lot of co-workers that want to hang out after work as well.

DL: They’re a nice bunch as well. You got some nice people to hang out with over there.

Yeah, definitely. Definitely. I think I say that’s one of the best things about working Angry – the really cool mix of people working here.

DL: Okay, so you might go out for a couple of days and then are you a ‘take a ready meal from the freezer and microwave it’ kind of guy or are you into cooking?

I’ll have to confess I’m more or less a microwave guy but yeah, I might quit it. I like cooking but I’m not really into doing it all the time. Especially not on my own. So I try to cook a lot. And then I have a lot of ready meals.

DL: Ah OK so you’re buying ready meals…

No, I cook them myself but make a lot of food at once when I do make it.

DL: Yeah, I do the same thing. Batch cooking for the win! And we talked about the guitars that I can see behind you now. So what sort of music do you play? 

Right now I play a lot of blues. It’s a very good style to play when you’re playing on your own because you can basically just loop some chords and then solo for 15 minutes which is not as dependent on playing a group. That’s something I tried to do in the evening so yeah, I get home, sit down with my guitars and I try to just play a bit. It’s a good way to clear your mind after a day of being really focused.

Mikael Ericsson playing the guitar

DL: Yeah, it’s a nice way to unwind isn’t it? Are you into exercise? Do you go out for a run? A lot of the people at Angry are very health oriented and they’re always out running or walking or being outside.

Yeah, I’m really into walking. I like going to the forest and going for a long walk. So I usually take my dog and I go, maybe drive out to the lake and walk around the lake or something like that. I really like that. And then I go to the gym every now and then, and I do yoga every now and then.

DL: It’s important if you’re sitting at a desk all day to make sure you keep your tone up and stretch your body out and stuff. Maybe not because you’re a young whippersnapper, but when you get to my age, it’s very important!

Yeah, it is. You really have to think about keeping your back elevated and straight. You need to make sure you don’t just sit bent over a laptop all day.

DL: One of the things that I found most interesting when I joined angry creative was the standardisation of all the tooling and processes for being a developer. So did you find that kind of quite a big transition when you jumped from being a freelancer to work in the company? Having so much infrastructure and standardisation? Was that a change or were you pretty organised anyway?

When I worked by myself, a very nice part of that is that you can set everything up exactly the way you wanted. And you know the ins and outs of the entire process. When you’re at a really big company like Angry you have to learn how we do stuff and a lot of its internal stuff, so you can’t Google it. You just have to learn it by heart basically. So that was a big challenge, actually, when I started but now that I know it’s very helpful to know that everything works. We have our hosting, we have our dev environments. I know how everything is set up, and it’s really structured in a good way.

DL: I think that’s definitely one of the most impressive things about the tech side of the company is just how everything fits together to make sure that it’s efficient.

Yeah, absolutely.

DL: So for people who are thinking about coming to work here or clients who are curious about what it’s like to work with Angry. What would you say? What would you want them to know?

That’s a tough one. I guess for someone in my position, who’s relatively new in this industry. I think it’s a very good way to really get to know how the industry works. You do a lot of different things. You’re not just on a project and then you do just that project for six months. During my time here, which has been a little over a year, I’ve done a lot of different projects, which use a lot of different setups, and there’s been a lot of different things. So you get to really see a lot of different aspects of the development. In my career, it’s a really good thing to get to try a lot of different things. So that’s a really good thing about working here.

DL: Where would you like this role to take you in the future?

I’m not sure actually, I really want to learn as much as possible because I still feel like I mean, I have been here over a year now, but I still feel like I have just scratched the surface. Every day’s a school day. So I really just want to learn as much as possible. There’s a lot of really talented people at this company that I can learn from. And I guess, you know, I’ll just find whatever is my thing, eventually, but right now I’m happy just learning new things.

DL: I think as long as you’re learning, then that’s sort of the point! Is there anything you’d like to tell anyone looking to work in the Angry team, or with us as a client?

I would like to say that if someone is reading this and is thinking about applying for a job as a developer – it doesn’t have to be at Angry, it could be anywhere, really – but if you’re thinking about it, you might be unsure whether you’re ready for it. I would say just go for it. Because I’ve learned so much more from working here one year than I learned two years of school. So I would definitely say that if you’re considering it, just go for it.

DL: It sounds like you’d recommend it as a fulfilling career as well?

Oh, yeah, definitely. There are always new things to learn. There are like 100 different fields within it to try out and find out what you really want to do.

DL: Last question. Is there anything that you would recommend to people like a book or audio book or a TV show or movie or computer game? What have you found really awesome recently? Doesn’t matter if it’s personal or professional?

I would really recommend an artist called Gary Clark Jr.

He is going on tour next year. I know he’s coming to Sweden. He’s like a modern blues rock. Gary is really good, really talented!

DL: I’ll give him a listen after this.

Hope you like it!

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