Topcon Healthcare: Junior recruitment done right

If you’re looking for the right way to onboard junior developers, check out Topcon Healthcare. They are a part of the global 5000-employee optical technology company Topcon. The healthcare division focuses on optical measurement devices and their software for eye doctors and opticians. Their solutions are highly advanced and sophisticated.

One could think that a global company is not going to care much for junior developers all the way in Oulu, Finland. Fortunately, Topcon has proved the opposite. The Finnish part of the company is highly independent, and they have created a genuinely human-centric approach to recruitment and onboarding.

Buutti and Topcon have collaborated since 2020. During this time, Buutti has provided Topcon with three junior developers through the CodeMatch program and one test engineer through the JavaScript Training program. We’ll focus on the newest addition from the fall of 2023: Hannu-Pekka.

Hannu-Pekka (HP) wasn’t originally going to be a software developer. He first studied history at the University of Oulu. However, his career path led to software business, and he attended Buutti’s CodeMatch Academy training program. After working on some of Buutti’s internal projects and doing some work for another client, HP was introduced to Topcon Healthcare. After a few months as a CodeMatch consultant, there was a mutual will to hire HP to Topcon.

Hop in

Now, we get to the interesting part: why is Topcon a prime example of junior developer onboarding? Hannu-Pekka has enjoyed his time there tremendously, as have the other CodeMatch consultants. ”It all comes down to realistic expectations. Topcon really understands what junior-level developers need,” states Rene Orosz, Tech Education Lead at Buutti. He has seen dozens of junior onboardings, and Topcon is one of the best.

”It all comes down to realistic expectations. Topcon really understands what junior-level developers need.”

Let’s start with Topcon’s team structure. It has been designed from the ground up to accommodate smooth onboarding and learning. For HP, this meant a team with several junior developers and a couple of more experienced mentors. ”We make sure there is the right mix of junior and senior developers,” explains Rasmus Rautava, HR manager from Topcon. The juniors can get support any time they need it.

Hannu-Pekka’s team has been working on Topcon’s Harmony software. Harmony is a highly sophisticated and technically advanced healthcare data management system. It connects different eye examination devices and data sources to one browser-based software. Working on such a complicated project can be challenging for a junior developer.

Fortunately, Topcon has optimised Harmony’s development tasks to suit junior developers. The more senior members have cut down the development to smaller assignments. For Hannu-Pekka, this has meant improving the front-end side of the application together with his team.

So far, HP has made various Harmony user interface fixes like fail state preventions and visual UX improvements. Additionally, he has been writing a Bash script for building Harmony inside a Docker container and fixing various other bugs. Keeping tasks small has enabled a reasonable learning curve and achievable goals. Hannu-Pekka also feels the support from his teammates has been the biggest help in making him succeed in his work.

88 mph

Later on, the juniors can develop their career in numerous ways. Some aspire to become lead developers, while others focus on product management. Additionally, the developers can switch to other Topcon products. Perhaps HP will work with the state-of-the-art telehealth solution RDx or Topcon’s new platform software in the future.

When it comes to career choices, Topcon listens to their employees’ wishes. Practically all lead positions have been filled from inside the company. Moreover, the team members help decide who will become the lead developer. There are other opportunities, like working as a scrum master or being an expat at Topcon’s Japan headquarters.

The cooperation has been mutually delightful. ”I have liked our cooperation with Buutti. They have done thorough pre-testing of the developers, and it has made our recruitment way easier,” states Rasmus Rautava. ”We would be glad to recruit through CodeMatch again.”