Get to Know Us | Nea Piha, Tech Trainee, Tech & Innovation, Helsinki
12 November 2020
We interviewed Tech Trainee Nea Piha, who works in our Tech & Innovation Team. Nea is based in the Helsinki office, but as her team members are located both in the Helsinki and Stockholm offices the nature of her work is cross-border. Nea is currently studying law at the University of Helsinki, and she has also studied finance at Hanken School of Economics.
Hi Nea! You started as the very first tech trainee at Hannes Snellman in August. How has it been so far?
It has been very exciting! I got to roll up my sleeves quite immediately. My first project was helping to coordinate and execute a cross-border firm-wide Sprinthack challenge, which was also a great way to get to know my own team and many colleagues in these exceptional times when most of us are not able to see each other at the office on a daily basis. The whole firm participated in the Sprinthack in small teams and innovated around challenges that relate to our daily work at Hannes, and the best ideas will be refined and executed. What I have really enjoyed so far is the spirit of our team. Everyone is very eager to try new solutions and ideas, we are motivated to learn new things, and everyone is encouraged to take on new challenges without having to be too afraid of failure even though we have high ambitions. It has been very refreshing to switch my brain to a trial and error mode and constantly challenge myself to try new things in order to find the best solution or to develop something new. Our team brainstorms a lot together, and there is a low threshold to share ideas and opinions, which I truly enjoy and appreciate. The steep learning curve is one of the best parts so far.
What kind of tasks are included in a tech trainee’s workdays?
Since this is a new position, and our team works with development projects, there are not really any routine tasks that are my responsibility. No day is like the other, and that suits me perfectly. At the moment, I am working on AI projects and document automation, which probably take up most of my time. We are several people collaborating both in Helsinki and Stockholm, and we discuss and help each other out a lot and try to solve problems together. Because of these two projects I also get to work quite closely with lawyers when testing and reviewing results. I think that both my legal studies and my previous job in the tech ecosystem have helped a lot in my work. I feel that my role is to be a bridge between the lawyers and the legal tech solutions we work with. Lawyers express their needs and challenges and our team tries to find the best technical solution and then implement it into daily case work. It is challenging and can feel quite tardy at times, but when we have a breakthrough it is also extremely rewarding on a personal level.
You study law at the University of Helsinki and have also completed studies in finance. Please tell us a bit more about your studies and choices you have made as a student.
When I graduated from high school, I honestly wasn’t sure what I wanted to study or work with. I contemplated everything from medicine to industrial design but ended up in a business school, since I thought it would be useful for almost any career path. I studied finance for a few years but after having worked full time as a board member of the student union I didn’t feel so passionate about it anymore. Due to a series of coincidences, I decided to apply to law school and got in. After studying for a few years, I wanted to take some time off for different internships to figure out what I would enjoy working with in the future and finally ended up at Slush working with global investor relations. I really enjoyed the field and realised that a law degree can also be very useful when working with startups and tech investors. When I then returned to my studies and saw that Hannes Snellman was looking for a tech trainee, it felt like a perfect match for me, and so far I have been more than happy with my choice. For me, it took a bit of time to find my passion but now I feel that it has been worth the time off from studies, and I’ve had some truly unique experiences and learned some invaluable lessons along the way.
What would you say to students interested in a tech trainee position at Hannes Snellman?
Curiosity is your biggest asset! Having an open mind and a strong willingness to learn takes you a long way. An analytical mindset and project management skills are also very useful. Don’t be afraid to try and fail even though it can be very frustrating at times, but it is also necessary for development.
What is your tech superpower?
“Failures are fingerposts on the road to achievement”, is a quote by C.S. Lewis that strongly resonates with me. It is easy to pass on opportunities or to leave things undone because we are afraid to try and fail. But if we don’t try new things because we are afraid of failure, it will forever limit us, both personally and professionally. I think a childlike curiosity and not fearing failure too much are my superpowers.
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