Insta DefSec Career Stories
We look after our employees and offer opportunities to those seeking to develop alongside their expertise. Read more about our Career Stories. Would our principles and mode of operation be a perfect fit for your everyday life?
Jiri Uitto, Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
By education, I am a Bachelor of Social Sciences and hold a Master's in Philosophy. I completed both degrees at the University of Tampere, where I am also currently undertaking a doctorate project concerning the use of artificial intelligence and information retrieval in preventing data leakages.
I came to work at Insta DefSec as an expert in information security and a product manager in 2016. However, I am a returnee, as I first worked at Insta around year 2000. Back then, my work concerned structured documents and network security. I transferred from Insta to Nokia and where I worked with product security, PKI, and software development tasks, both as a supervisor and security expert. I also spent a two years abroad working on the gaming security and copy-protection. About three years ago, I took up employment with Intel, where I worked as an Android Security Champion and later was responsible for leading security engine development, security assurance and quality assurance teams. At the moment I serve as the Chief Technology Officer at Insta DefSec and I am responsible for DefSec´s technology decisions and future technology projects.
A typical workday involves both routines and continuous development
Typically, my workday begins at home at about 6:30 a.m. At that time I read my emails, so I know what the day is about to involve. I arrive at work around 8:00. I begin by checking the main media information security news, as it is important to keep updated in case new software vulnerabilities are discovered. After this, I go through daily topics to do with product development and respond to customer emails. The rest of the time is more or less spent with resolving technical problems, meeting partners, planning meetings and participating in research projects. In the evening, I go through my emails once more.
One of my former line managers said that I am a well-organized individual who also has a capacity for innovation. I believe that my goal-oriented personality and ability to work with others are properties that have gotten me where I am now. My aim is to stay up-to-date with respect to the newest technology and develop as an expert on it. The topics I enjoy the most involve developing new products and even risk-taking. That is the path I have traveled. Let us see where it might still take me.
Insta is a homely place
Insta's strengths include high-security projects. It is most interesting to work on projects that involve extremely high security demands. On the other hand, working as the Insta Certifier Product Manager is rewarding because of the great team and international customers. My colleagues are definitely one of the best aspects of working at Insta.This is a homely place and it is easy to come here. The people are friendly and there is always a good atmosphere. Insta staff members differ widely in terms of their backgrounds. There are long-term Insta employees, former government workers, people who made their careers at the Finnish Defence Forces, and those who arrived from different companies. It is also educational for me, and it means that projects involve several different viewpoints. For someone who would like to come and work for Insta, I would recommend keeping in mind that this is as much of a community as it is a company. The culture is unique and worth striving for.
Maija Wirlander, Product Owner
I began working at Insta in May 2009. Back then, I was still studying at Tampere University of Technology, and I applied for a summer internship at Insta during my third year of studies. I ended up testing and documenting a training system we developed. Even back then, many of my tasks were related to improving system usability and user interface development.
I graduated as a Master of Science in Technology in 2013. My advanced studies concerned usability and software engineering and I did intermediate studies in mathematics and software technology. My Bachelor's degree project was on automating the creation of graphic user interface-operated software test cases. My thesis concerned usability, with the focus on the automation user data collection and analysis in critical software, which brought me to the Insta Response™ product family and led me to take up a position in charge of the usability of the same product family. From there, the path led to my current role as a Product Owner. By far the most interesting thing I have been involved in was participating in the creation of the Insta Response™ product family. I have been involved in this almost since the beginning and have been able to witness its development into a successful product.
My typical workday is fast-paced
I rarely spend much time in one place. Most of the time I am working with clients, negotiating new functionalities or having a discussion with the development team about how to realize development ideas on our product. My work involves managing large collections of information and conceptualizing new functionalities. When I work with clients, I seek to identify their true requirements and describe to them how our products can be used to meet these requirements. I work with the development team to consider how client requirements can be met with our product features or whether they necessitate the development of a new concept or minor additions. Working in these roles requires an ability to rapidly assimilate information on a broad scale and the ability to discuss it at various levels of abstraction. The job also requires good collaboration skills and an ability to learn fast. I want to continue developing and constantly challenge myself with new and potentially more demanding tasks.
As a workplace, Insta is challenging but flexible. We work on challenging and wide-ranging systems here: planning and realizing these is rarely trivial. That, however, is the best part of the whole job. At Insta, it is possible to challenge yourself with demanding and complex problems. They occur at all levels of software planning and development: as part of software architecture, system architecture, requirements specifications, designing the user experience, project management, and product management.
Insta provides support and flexibility on several levels
As an everyday matter, the flexibility of working hours is perhaps one of the most important. It is not unusual that some people arrive to work already at 6am while others arrive around 9am. Similarly, people leave work in keeping with their own schedules. Flexible working hours make it possible to account for my own hobbies and family. I have an excellent personal example of balancing family life and work:
My first child was born in May 2015. My husband and I both wished to be at home to look after her. We were able to negotiate an arrangement with our employers to allow both of us work 60% of the time. Because my husband is a shift worker, I arranged with Insta to provide a notification every four weeks concerning how my three weekly workdays will be distributed in the following weeks. This enabled me to return to work immediately after my maternity leave when our daughter was four months old, and my husband also got the chance to spend some time with the baby at home. And as encouragement for mothers: I was able to look after the baby despite working, in keeping with my own principles. Soon after returning to work I was able to assume a demanding role as a Product Owner, and since the autumn of 2016, I have been doing 80% work weeks.
As colleagues, the people at Insta are like a second family, at least those involved in the Insta Response product development team. Everyone is accepted as they are, and you can bring in your own personality and expertise. Nobody is left alone and there is always help and support available where needed. Above all, I like it that we are not a homogeneous group; I believe this also makes it easy for new people to join us. If you are interested in applying for work with Insta, I would recommend asking yourself whether you recognize in yourself a person who enjoys challenges and learning new topics. Are you able to quickly assimilate and learn new things? Can you manage broad collections of information or obtain a thorough knowledge of a given topic? Insta is a comfortable and safe place to begin working with challenging projects or product development. You truly are not left alone here – there is always support available.