Sandra Højberg Pedersen, Senior Developer, Denmark
Sandra makes the wheels go round
Literally. Alongside close to 20 colleagues, Sandra is part of the Netcompany team that drives, develops, and supports Denmark’s digital motor register – DMR. It’s where your car gets registered before you can hit the road. And that actually happens more than 2000 times a day.”DMR is the system that keeps track of all vehicles in Denmark. I almost don’t believe any cars would be on the road if it wasn’t for us,” says Sandra and laughs. Because yes, that might be pushing it. But not entirely untrue. And then Sandra just laughs a lot in general.
Senior Developer Sandra Højberg Pedersen, 28, has been with Netcompany for three years. She came straight from her studies at the IT University of Copenhagen, where she did a bachelor’s in software development – the “hardcore coding line”, as she calls it. Though coding wasn’t what she thought she would be doing, back when she was a student at Maribo Gymnasium. “I was going to be a musician. I thought: This is going to be great! – and then I realised that I’d probably be better to go with IT instead,” she says. And laughs.
Creating her own role
Since Sandra started working at Netcompany, she’s been on the DMR project. A system developed by Netcompany that runs in three tracks: Modernisation, development, and business support. Sandra has taken responsibility for the latter. If any issues occur in the system, it’s her team who comes to the rescue.
“A lot of the responsibility I have, and the role I have, is actually something I have been part of creating myself,” she says. The role has also developed during her three years on the project. . As a senior, she – amongst other things – also has the responsibility of making sure the other developers on the team get assigned the tasks they should.
The DMR system supports license plate registration, collecting taxes, calculating green taxes and more, and has secured the Danish state a large cost savings as well as increased user satisfaction.
It’s a system where many people get information: car dealers, vehicle inspections facilities, leasing companies, insurance companies, as well as the tax authorities who own the system. And if DMR is down, cars won’t get on the road. The system has also meant a lot of optimisation and automation of processes — reducing manual, administrative work for many.
What’s actually going on here?
It is a large and complex system. It is written in Java and has several technologies within Oracle, including a massive database. “Often, I get to dig into the code, trying to figure out: What is actually going on here? After some time, you get really, really got at reading other people’s code! It’s a good talent to have if you want to work here,” Sandra says. “Sometimes we just get a long stack trace, and then you must try to figure out what went wrong. In that way, my job is really quite analytical.”
In the DMR team, it’s often said that in order to have a somewhat thorough understanding of the system, you need to have been on the project for a least a year. Three years into the project, Sandra is amongst those who really know the system in-depth. “To go from not really knowing anything to being the one people come to for help… that has been a really good journey,” she says. To really explore something in-depth really speaks to her. “I really enjoy having contact with the client, I really enjoy being a team lead, but when it comes down to it, I just really like to geek out.”
And it’s actually always been this way. Ever since Sandra grew up on Lolland – an island in Southern Denmark – without many people of the same age to relate to. She found her peers through an online community where she discovered IT for the first time.
Declared super geek
Today, Sandra has a lot of interests. Too many, she says herself, and laughs. “A lot of it is super geeky. For example, I like to sit and code on my own projects. I play a lot of role-playing games, such as Dungeons & Dragons, where I meet up with friends, play and hangout, and online on various RPG platforms. So, I like to code small systems for that. In my daily work, I do a lot of error tracing, so this creative need I have, I need to use it elsewhere.”
On the job, there’s two specific things that keep Sandra committed. The daily collaboration and close relationship with the client that she has built over the years. And then when she solves an issue in the system that has a direct impact on a user in the end system: “There are so many who rely on what we do. Sometimes an issue occurs, and you’ve got to stop everything you’re doing to get it up and running again. It can be someone calling to say, they can’t register a car – and it has to be out driving now! Then you’ve just got to go in and fix it – fast! And then when you’ve fixed it and made a real difference here and now for a person – that’s a great feeling!”