From cabin crew and flight crew to developer – and back!
Annika and Antti work in the Internal Digital Development team at Finnair and develop software and applications for Finnair’s employees. When it comes to developing something for our cabin crew and flight crew, their previous experience as a cabin crew member and a pilot is a huge benefit.
Antti Kallioniemi, Software Developer at Finnair, originally studied software engineering in university and worked as a software developer for several years before completely switching careers and becoming a pilot at Finnair. “Working as a pilot had been something that I had been thinking of for a while already, and when I noticed it was possible to apply, I thought why not give it a try!”
Now, he has been working for Finnair for almost five years. First four as a copilot, and the last year as a software developer.
Annika Moilanen, Junior Developer at Finnair, has been somehow connected to travel industry and Finnair for her whole adulthood. She started as a Cabin Crew Member in December 2015, and before that worked at Finnair Lounges at Helsinki Airport. When the coronavirus pandemic started, she began her studies of becoming a software developer.
“The pandemic is what really gave me the courage to start studying something completely new that I had already been considering for a while,” Annika states. As the aviation business can be somewhat uncertain, she figured it would be wise to have a back-up plan and another profession.
Huge benefit from previous experience
Currently, Annika and Antti work together in the Internal Digital Development team and develop a software, in which Finnair cabin crew members and pilots can bid their requests of days off, desired destinations and types of shifts for each month.
“I find it so cool that the two of us are coding this specific software. We have lots of insight into the tool, as we have previously, in fact, been the end-users of it,” Annika states. “It’s also great to have a pilot and a cabin crew member working together on this, as we don’t necessarily normally know each other’s needs,” Antti adds. Together Annika and Antti understand thoroughly the needs and wishes of the users.
Their workdays start with a daily meeting, in which the team members go through their current workload. It’s essential to have a great team, which consists of both more experienced workers as well as beginners, who can bring fresh ideas into the team. “You can really tell that our team members truly care about Finnair and like working here,” Antti says.
Hoping to combine the two dear professions also in the future
During the summer, both Annika and Antti are returning to their cabin crew and flight crew positions, as flying is something they love. However, they both wish to be able to somehow combine their two dear professions in the future. “My personal wish is that as long as I’m a developer in an airline, I could practice both of my professions,” Annika states.
“Since we develop a lot of internal and crew-related applications in our team, I strongly feel that I can bring my own knowledge into them and, thus, make them better,” Antti reflects. Taking turns in two professions would not only bring variation to everyday life and life management but also concrete benefits and know-how for both software development and a pilot’s work.
Annika and Antti agree that instead of mostly using external consultants, it would be beneficial to find and utilise internal expertise more. They hope that in the future, Finnair's multi-experts would be able to work in several different tasks on a project basis, when they have special skills or interest in many types of tasks.
If you are dreaming of becoming a software developer, Annika encourages you to apply to study: "The IT industry is such a wide field that everyone can find a place there, if they are interested." Both Annika and Antti enjoy working in their current team, where they can pick projects according to their own interests. You can check the current open positions for software developers and other positions at Finnair on this page.
The photos were taken by Miikka Kuivalainen, who currently works as Pre-check Back Office Agent at Finnair, before returning to his cabin crew position in the fall. The story was written by a former flight attendant Carla Peho, who currently works at Finnair Communications.