Santeri Lähteenkorva

Cadmatic Brand Ambassador Santeri Lähteenkorva – Software Architect

Striking a balance

Being able to leave your mark on Cadmatic products makes for a rewarding work environment, says Santeri Lähteenkorva, Software Architect in Outfitting and Plant Design.

Here, there and Tampere

“When I was younger, my family travelled around a lot, which might explain why I have stayed in the city I was born in to study and work,” laughs Santeri Lähteenkorva from the Cadmatic office in Tampere, south-western Finland. When he finished his studies in mathematics and computer science at the local university, Santeri had several options he was considering, but ultimately settled on a career at Cadmatic.

“A lot of my friends went on to pursue doctorates, but I chose a different path. Because of my computer science background, I had software development as an option,” he explains. “The job ad said that an interest in mathematics and algorithms would be an advantage, which suited me perfectly.”

Santeri joined a software development team with a wide range of backgrounds, including engineers, physicists, and mathematicians, among others. This meant he fitted in well from the beginning. It was also clear early on that the work itself wouldn’t be boring. “It’s quite different to be working on long-term large-scale products of our own instead of on smaller separate customer projects like would be done in a lot of software companies.”

Adaptability in practice

The flexible philosophy of Cadmatic extends throughout the company and its products. On the software side, this aspect is a result of early design decisions that were made in the 1980s and 90s. A lot of CAD software was originally developed decades ago, and over time companies have incrementally added features that have become necessary. This means that if you want to compete in this field and start from scratch it takes a long time, and as a result most CAD products are filled with legacy code that tends to not be developer friendly.

“In the 80s Cadmatic only had a handful of developers,” Santeri explains, “and the decision was made that the whole product should be extremely customizable in order to meet varying customer-specific needs and to allow the customer organizations themselves to apply their own practises to how our design products operate. That would not have been doable by the small group of developers on their own. So, taking that approach – and even using English as the working and operating language, which wasn’t a given in Finland in the 80s – wasn’t an obvious choice, but they did it anyway and it’s made our success possible.”

Adaptable software comes from an adaptable working environment. Santeri’s team is divided into smaller groups depending on what projects are being worked on. “When I started five years ago the team that I joined – responsible for outfitting and plant design products – worked as one unit on the main product, but it was growing to the size where it wasn’t possible to have meetings that engaged everyone because it wouldn’t be related to what people were working on. So, we divided our forces into smaller groups for better problem-solving and project focus.”

Finding the middle ground

For potential new Cadmaticans, Santeri points out the importance of a balanced work ethic, being neither too serious nor too laid-back. “One of the main things I’ve enjoyed here is that we have a very good balance of the professional and casual. In bigger companies the trend is towards being very serious, while start-ups might be too relaxed. I don’t like either extreme. At Cadmatic we are focussed on doing our job, but we also understand the importance of a positive work environment.”

In his opinion, job satisfaction at Cadmatic comes from contribution. “Working here varies a lot,” he concludes. “Sometimes you’re under more pressure and have to go the extra mile to make the customer happy. Sometimes it’s more basic development work without tight timetables. In either case, I’m building something and leaving my mark on the product, and that’s rewarding.”