Nico Ulbricht: the story of an untraditional programmer
Interviews Kathrine Nicolaisen
Faced with the closure of his previous startup, Nico Ulbricht began searching for new job opportunities in Berlin and came across Honeypot. Following a call and a code review, Nico became visible to companies on Honeypot:
“The day after my profile was set live on the platform three companies had already contacted me, then two more followed, and another two, and so on. I didn’t expect that many companies would be applying to me - especially since I don’t have the typical background you would expect from a developer. It was pretty cool to receive that much recognition through all those companies applying to me.”
Before long, Nico went with an offer from FreightHub. The entire process took 17 days. Throughout the whole process Nico was in very close contact with Fabio, his Talent Rep, who checked in making sure Nico was doing alright with his interviews.
“Honeypot is such a young company, so I was surprised that there was that many big and small companies were already using the platform. Normally startup jobs are very difficult to find, and when you apply through other sites, the competition is rough. My entire experience with Honeypot has been very cool. There were just so many companies applying to me, and I wasn’t expecting it at all!”
Is a degree in Computer Science necessary to become a professional programmer?
Originating from Hamburg, Nico moved to Berlin five years ago to study 3D design. Nico’s untraditional background in 3D art and printing brings up the common question: “Do I need a Computer Science degree to become a software developer?”
“I feel like there is a 50/50 split with developers: the people that studied programming, and the people that thought it was just fun to do - and then suddenly it became their job. The last one is me.”
Far from being a disqualifying factor, Nico attributes his success (he was previously a CTO at a 3D printer firm) exactly to his varied background in technology:
“I think it’s an advantage because I’ve used such a broad range of technologies, I’m not limited to one language, so whenever someone throws a problem at me I can approach it from a completely different angle. I think it really helps having different areas of expertise - it gives you a different point of view point.”
… so why FreightHub?
“I really like startup culture due to the great atmosphere of smaller, younger teams getting together to achieve their goals.” Nico explains. “I enjoy it a lot - it just doesn’t feel like work!”
Having interviewed with his share of startups through Honeypot, Nico eventually settled upon the offer from FreightHub. When asked what made FreightHub so special, Nico’s reasons were many and detailed, ranging from a speedy hiring process of a mere 1.5 weeks to company size and culture. As FreightHub is a very young company, and only had their official launch two months prior to Nico’s hiring, the employee count was just 10 people around the time Nico was interviewing.
However, the deciding factor leading to Nico signing a contract with FreightHub is down to the passion, excitement and encouraging leadership style of the CTO and Co-Founder, Erik Muttersbach:
“When I had my interview with Erik we had these technical exercises, where even though I made a couple of mistakes here and there, we just had such a pleasant talk, and he was just so enthusiastic. You could really see his eyes light up, when talking about the product FreightHub is building, and that’s kind of the stuff that pulls you into a company”
Despite already having had a taste of the life as CTO, Nico is happy with his new role:
“After all the stress I went through in my position at Twinkind, it’s great to be able to just sit down and write code having a little less responsibility. Perhaps in a couple of years I’ll pursue another role as a CTO again, but right now I’m perfectly content with where I am.”
So what did Nico think of the Honeypot experience overall?
“It genuinely felt like Fabio, my Talent Rep, cared about me, which was really cool and very heartwarming! Before Honeypot I’ve had some pretty bad experiences with headhunters who would just throw a bunch of companies at me and I never really felt like I was supported.”
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