What’s it like to be a Chief Technology Officer?
- We find out from Näktergal’s CTO Andreas Lundgren.
When Andreas Lundgren began his career over 16 years ago, the fintech industry was in its infancy. Fast forward to the present day, and as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Näktergal, he’s at the forefront of innovation and digitalization in the Swedish mortgage market. We met with Andreas to find out what it’s like to have the top job. Read on to learn more about his passion for all things tech-related, why he believes that making an impact is important, and how he loves an early start!
Interviewer: Welcome, Andreas. Thank you for talking to us today. So, first things first, why and how did you get into tech?
Andreas: It wasn’t something that I ‘got into’ as such. As far back as I can remember, I have always had a strong interest in all things tech related. It’s still a passion of mine. I think in my job, a love of tech is essential! I like to read about and try new tech, whether at work or in my personal time. For example, recently, I’ve been experimenting with stable diffusion, a deep-learning text-to-image model that creates realistic images and art from just a text description. If you look around the office, you might even see some of my ‘pieces’!
Interviewer: What’s the best thing about being CTO?
Andreas: For me, it’s about being in a position to make an impact, both from a tech and a people point of view. For most people, the title CTO immediately conjures a caricature of a tech-centric leader focused on making the tech faster, smarter, and more flawless – and this is true at Näktergal – but it’s also much broader than that, it’s about making things better for everyone. At Näktergal, we’re passionate about making lending easier, fairer, and more efficient by providing innovative technical solutions, but we also want our people to feel heard, valued, and informed, concepts which I feel go hand in hand. Great tech thrives by creating a compassionate culture where your people are happy and can reach their potential and where new ideas can flourish. I believe that a supportive culture results in a better product and more satisfied clients, which I’m proud to say we have at Näktergal. I firmly believe that leadership is about what you do, not what you say. So, I try to act the way I want everyone else to act.
Interviewer: What’s your typical workday like?
Andreas: I’m an early riser, so I typically head to the gym at around 5 am. I find taking this quiet time for myself before the day begins gives me valuable thinking time and has a significant impact on my energy levels later in the day. I get to the office at around 7am and take a few minutes to reset, have a coffee, and play some computer games to get my brain fired up for the day ahead.
At 7.30 am, I sit down to plan out my day. No two days look the same. They are usually a mix of strategic high-level, long-term planning, and lower-level technical and architectural work, which I love. I find the variety of challenges exciting and enjoy being able to put on multiple hats. A typical workday is split equally across translating business requirements into system architecture and development tasks, writing and reviewing code, and working with clients and others at Näktergal on various projects.
As part of driving our tech strategy and being responsible for our tech team, I explore the potential of the latest technologies and assess their impact on the business. Legacy tech is a challenge for many banks and affects all tech companies, and it’s essential that we continuously develop our tech or risk becoming outdated. It’s important that our people are up to date with the latest emerging trends and on the same page regarding the value that technology brings when helping to determine a technical vision that drives business growth.
At 4 pm, I leave the office and get outside for some fresh air or go indoor climbing. For me, work-life balance is important, and boundaries are essential for the health and well-being of both myself and my teams. Rather than spending copious additional hours in the office being unproductive, I prefer us to focus on making the most efficient use of our fixed time together!
Interviewer: For those looking to get into tech, do you have any advice or tips on how to get into the industry?
Andreas: Do lots of research! The most important thing is to find companies whose culture and values match your own, and don’t be afraid to make prospective applications if you’re interested in working for them. For example, we’re always open to hearing from talented candidates here at Näktergal. If people don’t see a suitable position, we’d invite them to make an open application to us and we’ll get in touch if we see them as a potential fit for a new role.
Interviewer: And for those developers who aspire to become a CTO one day, what would you say to them?
Andreas: I’d say don’t think about the title, think more about the mark that you want to make on the world. Think about your impact and what you want to do.
Interviewer: Thank you for your time today, Andreas. Where can readers find out more about Näktergal and explore new roles?
Andreas: I’d encourage anyone interested in a career in tech to take a look at the Näktergal careers page, where they can find out more about Näktergal and see what it’s like to work for us.
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