Tor Åge Ballo - Director of Software Engineering
Tell us about your background and how you ended up at Unacast.
I grew up in the northern part of Norway and received my computer engineering degree at the University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. I then spent many years at the Norwegian Tax Authority working in various projects, rewriting all their systems to a more modernized platform. When I felt that almost every Norwegian tax system had some of my commits, I started at Unacast. Unacast was, to me, the exact opposite of the Norwegian Tax Office. Coming from something humongously big with a lot of processes, bureaucracy, and a very fixed way of working, something much smaller was what I wanted to do next.
What are the things about your work that interest you most?
The fact that we don’t exactly know what our future looks like really lights a spark in me. We are going from ideas to products/MVPs at the speed of light to try to verify what direction we want to take. We are creating a few systems/products, and it’s unclear if some of these will be a big part of our future or tossed away in a few weeks. In this process you really feel that you are a part of creating your own workplace.
Tell us about a project you are especially proud of!
A few weeks into COVID-19, we were the first to create a social distancing scoreboard in the U.S. By leveraging the cloud environment we work in, we managed to build a solution that could handle 1 million daily users from day one, which was built in just a few days. This product really continues to help a lot of public and private services in navigating through the tough times with COVID-19.
Talk about the team and the culture -- what’s different about Unacast?
For me, what is really unique is the freedom we have to pick the right tools for the job. We also have a really strong team of software engineers, data scientists, business analysts, and product managers working towards the same goal. Also the value ‘be your own CEO’ really says a lot about Unacast.
What do you do in your spare time?
I love playing and recording music. I’m a guitar player but I also sing, program, and record music. I also snowboard, work out, play soccer, or any other game where you chase a ball. Apart from that I also coach both my kids’s soccer teams.
What is your favorite tech at the moment?
I really like creating systems in the cloud. It’s a bit like lego where you piece together a system that can be very robust and cost effective. I like the idea of only paying for the computing you’re actually using. I’m pretty happy with a system we just recently built using Cloud Tasks, Cloud Functions and App Engine and BigQuery to carry out processes as they happen.
Interested in joining the Unacast team? Check out our open positions: https://careers.unacast.com/