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Meet the engineers behind Dance: Nynke
One of the reasons Dance is so special is its people. We’re a group of builders committed to creating more livable communities, two wheels at a time. The Dance experience is created by experts across operations, engineering, technology and more: and today, we’re going backstage with one of our software engineers, Nynke, to learn about her career path. 

What are your main responsibilities at Dance?

I primarily focus on the front-end of the member-facing website, and Dance’s internal operations tool, a mobile app that our city teams use to deliver and maintain our fleet.

How did you hear about Dance? How did you get here?

I was approached by the head of software during the company’s initial pilot phase in Berlin.
He shared an exciting prospect: the chance to launch an ebike subscription service. A fervent cyclist myself, I immediately knew I wanted to contribute to Dance’s ambitious, sustainability-driven mission. I felt that in the role, I could grow as a person and software developer while working on something I really believe in.

What helped you pursue a technical career?

My background is actually in social sciences. While still writing my master’s thesis in sociology a few years ago, I decided to apply for a web development scholarship from the Grow with Google initiative. 
I got the scholarship, and enrolled in the three-month program offered by Google and elearning platform Udacity. The best 10% of the 60,000 students that participated were awarded with an additional six-month nanodegree, in which I also took part. 
It felt lucky, but it also took some courage, and a lot of eagerness to learn. After the program, I started my career as a software engineer, and that was that.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

A combination of the kick of solving a problem after sitting on it for a while, cross-team collaboration with very smart and enthusiastic people to create the most compelling user interfaces, and the knowledge of working on a project that I truly stand behind.

What is the most challenging part of your work?

One of the most challenging parts for me is not sitting behind a screen the whole day! I’m a very active person, but when I’m coding, I really have to remind myself to get up and go for a walk, or to take my eyes off the screen.
The fun thing about working at Dance is that employees are encouraged to spend time with other departments, which means I have also cycled around the city, shadowing delivery drivers and mechanics, and visiting our workshops and assembly centers. What I love about this part of my job is that it gives me great insights into our company and its processes, which then helps me build the best products.

What are you most proud of accomplishing at Dance so far?

I didn’t have experience building native mobile apps before I started, and then, together with a great backend team, built an app that is now used by all our delivery specialists, mechanics and city coordinators. The internal tool is an essential part of our platform here at Dance.
I am proud that I was given the trust to do so, and that in the process, I was able to learn so much from other engineers in the company. It is amazing to see something like this come to life and be of help to the broader team.

What is your advice for anyone unsure about pursuing a technical career?

Do it! You have the no, but yes you can get. Remember that the most important things are motivation, enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. Your technical skills will follow. Feelings of uncertainty and fear are part of the journey. 
I’m not saying these feelings are fun, I’m just saying everyone has them and you have to push your boundaries to grow and find your potential. And, even though tech might seem like a field inaccessible to many, I firmly believe that everyone that wants to, can get into it. There’s so much more to it.

What is a common misconception about your profession that you’d like to debunk, once and for all?

Oof, there’s quite a few misconceptions about working in tech, but I’ll pick one that I feel strongly about and that I want to emphasise to everyone reading this: tech is for women too! We have so much to bring to the table. I hope we can keep the upwards trend that we have seen where more women feel empowered to explore new horizons.

What are some skills you should hone if…you’re early in your career and you want to break into software/startups/tech?

Motivation, enthusiasm and curiosity are key. If those are in place, the rest will follow: your drive will eventually land you an internship somewhere, and with the right mentorship, you will get an idea of what it’s like to work in tech.

What are some skills you should hone’re in the middle of your career and you’re interested in exploring a technical career?

Figure out what you’re interested in by learning in your free time: start a personal project, take a course, and, if you can find the time, do an internship. Talk to others and try to learn on a regular basis.

Dance is hiring! If you’re interested in a role, check out the jobs page here.

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