6 Questions with Nick Steenstra: Unknown challenges, good communication equals good days, and have you tried TypeScript yet?


Felipe Espinosa

You know you’re working with inspiring and amazing people when you find yourself looking around and thinking, “Wow! This team is full of great leaders, captivating innovators, and change agents ready to take on the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

If you work at Nexient, you probably know what I am talking about, but if you don’t – I don’t want you to miss out. In fact, that’s the reason why we created this blog series, "6 Questions With,” where each month, you’ll meet some of the most extraordinary Nexient teammates in charge of ridding the world of crappy software, one sprint at a time.

From our Microsoft Practice, please join me in welcoming Nexient’s Nick Steenstra, as he gushes about his astounding team, shares behind-the-scenes details of some of his current projects, and declares why he is a TypeScript advocate.

Fist, can you give us a quick summary of who you are, what you do at Nexient, and how you got here?

My name is Nick Steenstra, and I am a delivery manager at Nexient. I work alongside a fantastic group of professionals here on one of our client projects.

In my current role, I serve as a solutions architect and manage our team to ensure we are firing on all cylinders to deliver great results for our clients. Together, as we navigate through every sprint, I help guide and mentor our team to write SOLID code (pun intended!) – I also hop in and code myself. It’s a lot of fun, and I am thrilled to be here. 

As for how I got here, I grew up and went to college on the west side of Michigan, where I started my career in the Grand Rapids area. I worked for a few different companies that shaped me into the professional I am today, thanks to the mentorship of some brilliant individuals.   

After my wife and I had our first child, we moved to Ann Arbor, where she was originally from. I worked remotely for the first few years but was eager to work shoulder to shoulder with coworkers again. 

When I started interviewing in the area, towards the end of April of 2020, everything fell into place when I matched with this great company called Nexient. Well, everything except that whole shoulder-to-shoulder thing. COVID apparently had some different plans, and the government shutdowns started right after I interviewed in person.  

Despite the challenges of working from home during a pandemic, I knew Nexient was the right place for me – and nearly 2 years later, I’m proud to say I’ve learned and grown so much in my time here.

What kind of things are you and your team building and what’s hard about these projects?

My team and I are currently working on integrating new Angular modules into an existing customer-facing application and leveraging some .NET APIs we are building. These are new features, and the existing front-end application is quite large. 

Now, there are a lot of good things that can come with pre-existing large applications: from common practices and patterns to existing services and helpers to assist you with your end goal.

On the flip side, there are some difficulties that go hand-in-hand with those advantages. When we are working on integrating something new, there are often swim lanes that are already defined. 

And while these swim lanes are helpful and keep you organized, they also come with some challenges because as you grow, learn, and develop new things, those swim lanes need to evolve. At Nexient, we operate and develop with well-defined, existing conditions – but we also need to drive change with modern approaches that can help accomplish development efforts in a seamless way.

What professional challenges are you most looking forward to this year?

This may sound odd, but the challenges that I don’t know anything about are the ones I like the most.

Having difficult or challenging projects that require me to dig deeper, to truly innovate, in order to find a solution, means I have the opportunity to grow.

I can certainly say I’m always excited to be challenged in ways I don’t see coming so that I can continue to improve myself! 

What would you say makes your team effective?

The biggest thing that’s helping our team to be effective right now is good communication. With everyone working remotely, communication is simply one of the most essential things you need in order to succeed.  

For our team, it’s super crucial to our success and makes all of the difference in our day-to-day delivery. And i’ve learned it’s not always a one-size-fits-all. Communication methods need to change based on your team and their needs. And you need to be intentional for it to be meaningful and effective.

Every day, I try my best to reach out to my team and be intentional when saying hi to them and letting them know that I am available if they need anything from me.

What do you love the most about the way Nexient works?

I really love how the people at Nexient are creative and adaptive. With our company’s strong focus on Agile software development and the product-minded approach, we try to meet our clients where they need us while promoting best practices and modern tooling in the application development landscape.

Our leadership also makes it very clear that our people are simply the most important part of the success of our organization. Their focus on our team members is empowering: We all need to be our best selves in order to deliver the highest quality work we can for our clients.

All I can say is that things are great when you know that you’re trusted and valued.

What programming language would you be and why?

I think I would be TypeScript. I am a pretty type-A person, and I like things to be organized, well detailed, and neat.

In fact, I’m that last guy on a pull request that makes a comment about line spacing or if there is a variable name that is mistyped. 

TypeScript brings order and stricter guidelines to theJavaScript world. Do you still need to know and understand JavaScript?Completely! Core foundational knowledge in JavaScript before working with TypeScript is a must. TypeScript just feels like it enriches the dev experience and brings order to the chaos that JavaScript can sometimes be. 

“6 Questions With” is a Nexient monthly blog series that spotlights some of our best and most talented team members who are doing great work. If you missed last month’s edition, you can check it out here.

Be sure to keep an eye out for our next feature to learn more about the #NexientTeam!

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