Meet Erika: Trustly’s Database Team Lead trades .NET for PostgreSQL

It’s an exciting time to work in FinTech, especially if you live in Stockholm. Startups are popping up everywhere, promising to simplify financial services for businesses and individuals, and the city even recently opened a dedicated FinTech hub.

Erika Johansson especially knows this to be true. She’s been working in FinTech since graduation and recently joined Trustly as our Database Team Lead, trading .NET for PostgreSQL. So what fascinates her about the field and what tips does she have for someone just starting out? Read our conversation with Erika below!

Hej, Erika! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What did you do before joining Trustly?
Hi! I grew up in Luleå in northern Sweden and moved to Stockholm when I started university about ten years ago. Since then I’ve been working in finance and technology, trying to strike the right balance between the two.

I started out quite tech-heavy within operations surveillance at Nasdaq OMX and then moved to a more finance-related position at a fund management firm here in Stockholm. After a few years of working in product development on a portfolio management system, I joined Trustly in the exciting world of payments.

How did you develop an interest in technology and what interests you most about FinTech?
I’ve always had an interest in technology. One of my earliest career goals as a kid was building global positioning systems for the military. As I got older, I shifted focus more towards IT security and cryptography but I was still quite set on working for the military, primarily since I felt drawn to an environment where the details truly matter and the repercussions of a mistake can be dire.

Fast forward a few years and I ended up in FinTech instead, but the environment fits like a glove. That extra pressure of working with critical systems under strict regulation is a big part of what keeps me focused and invested in my everyday work.

How did you first learn about Trustly?
I actually came to know Trustly through its partnership with online stockbroker Avanza. I am quite interested in trading and when Trustly showed up offering me instant deposits to my Avanza account, I fell in love with the product. It may sound simple but it makes such a difference when something that used to take a day suddenly takes seconds, and in the world of trading, that is a huge benefit.

What do you do as Trustly’s Database Team Lead?
My job is to make sure that our awesome database developers are able to focus fully on what they are passionate about. I try to minimize distractions and interruptions, as well as keep communication channels open between the team and the rest of the organization. We are growing quickly, which means the teams and setups keep changing. That, combined with the rapid expansion of our products, results in a truly fast-paced environment offering tons of opportunities for continuous improvements.

What are your biggest challenges in your new role?
Well first, I’ve spent the past five years getting cozy with full stack development in .NET, so moving to a dedicated database team focused on PostgreSQL is a step out of my comfort zone. Also, in my old team I started out as a developer and grew into my coordinating role. But at Trustly, I walked right into a leadership role. These two factors make up for quite a challenging scenario, but at the same time offer huge learning opportunities.

What is most unique about working on the Tech team at Trustly?
To me, it’s the true and honest technology focus of everyone in the organization. The innovation and craftsmanship required to build great products should be appreciated throughout and at Trustly I definitely get that feeling. After all, we are all in the same boat and the “techies” are the engine that keep us going forward.

What are your tips for someone considering a career in technology?
Since technology spans across basically all business areas and geographical locations, my main piece of advice is to find something that truly engages you; a product you believe in or a service that matters to you — preferably in a business you find genuinely interesting. It just makes things so much more fun when you’re passionate about what you do!

Thanks, Erika! Sounds like you’ve got more than enough to keep you busy. See you around!