Timo Heinonen

Computer science meets 3D graphics.

Timo Heinonen interviewed for a summer job at CADMATIC in 2017, armed with almost three years of knowledge from computer science studies at the University of Turku, as well as a keen interest in 3D graphics and the shipbuilding industry. His skills and interests secured him a traineeship as a junior C/C++ CAD developer at the CADMATIC Turku office. The rest, as they say, is history.

Before joining CADMATIC, Timo had no idea how code was written “in the wild”, so he was excited to learn how real software development works. One of his first impressions upon starting the summer job was that CADMATIC was a place where everyone was very focussed on and passionate about their work.

“There were no ball pits or bean bag chairs. The quality of the software products was clearly the centre of attention.”

Expectations meet reality

At the start of his traineeship, Timo expected to spend at least a month or two learning the ropes and not contributing much to the product, with real work to start only later. To his surprise, he was assigned his first real task already on his second day!

At first, I got to make small changes like moving a button in a user interface, but it taught me how to use the tools required for the job. I also got to do the first shallow dives into the codebase. Over the course of the summer, I got to do increasingly challenging tasks, mostly related to improving the user experience when working with the 3D model.”

A steep but enjoyable learning curve

The practical experience boosted Timo’s software development knowledge and programming skills.

“By the end of the summer, I had definitely learned more about software development than during my three years of studies, and my programming skills had skyrocketed.”

Timo says that he enjoyed improving his programming skills by reading and writing code all day. He found motivation in the interactive nature of the CAD application, which made it possible to immediately see the results of his work.

He adds that one of the most pleasing aspects of his work was seeing that it was valuable enough to become part of an actual product.

“It was great to be able to work on real problems and eventually provide added value to the design application…to see that your contribution was valuable enough to become part of a product used daily by customers.”

A key takeaway for Timo from the summer job was the importance of writing easily readable code, something he says was not the focus of his university classes and projects.

Head in the point clouds

When it came time for Timo to select his thesis topic, he was happy that CADMATIC has a list of potential research topics with business value. He became interested in the topic of point cloud data rendering and in how rendering performance could be improved.

“CADMATIC helped me to understand the use cases and wishes designers might have when working with point clouds. They also assisted me in defining the requirements for my thesis, but after that I could work independently.”

Joining full-time working life

After completing his thesis, Timo signed a full-time contract with CADMATIC as a Software Engineer in 2020.

Nowadays, his main responsibilities include developing new features for 3D design applications. For now, his goals include improving his skills as a developer and to keep working on increasingly interesting and challenging projects.

But all work and no play make Jack (or in this case, Timo) a dull boy, so when he is not developing the latest new software feature, Timo likes cycling and playing video games. He has also made a hobby of collecting musical instruments, even though he says he very rarely plays them. He currently has 3 guitars, a balalaika, a mandolin, a mouth harp, a harmonica, and a recorder.'

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