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Roadie highlight: Continuous learning has helped me find my place

The Data Handbook

How to use data to improve your customer journey and get better business outcomes in digital sales. Interviews, use cases, and deep-dives.

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Thomas Tunkkari

Software development


Possessing a range of knowledge and skills is an attractive quality for many employers, although there are plenty of benefits to focusing on a specific expertise area too. Everyone is different, and I believe there’s a place for both approaches depending on your career goals and where you’re at in your journey. 

Personally, developing a versatile skill set has benefited me hugely in my career, and I want to share my experiences of how a diverse approach to learning has brought me to a healthy place as a member of the Columbia Road team and how, with the right approach and support, others can follow a similar path.

How I got where I am today – keeping things diverse

I've found myself drawn to diverse working experiences since my career began. During my last couple of years at university – where I studied a combination of computer science, communications, economics and business administration – I started working at a software product company as an application specialist, and my master's thesis was a usability study for one of their products.

After that, I worked briefly as a web designer before I got into consulting, where I've mostly been working on web development, along with some UX and UI design, ever since. My early consultancy work ranged from small public-facing websites to large corporate intranets and business tools, but since 2014 I've mostly been working on ecommerce-related projects.

I've been able to expand my knowledge since joining Columbia Road, developing a stronger business mindset and utilising techniques like continuous experimentation and data-driven design to improve customer experience and growth for clients while also learning more about different technologies as a developer.

I've enjoyed developing my skills and building up a more holistic understanding of digital sales. I'm also grateful to have had opportunities to work on a range of different client projects, from building products from scratch to improving existing solutions and exploring long and short-term strategies. In addition, I've had the opportunity to work on both long and short-term projects, which has been very influential in my career development.

The Columbia Road culture helps individuals thrive

Thanks to the varied experiences I’ve gained through my career, I’ve been able to contribute to Columbia Road’s vision of helping companies change how they do digital sales through a customer and user-centric view. I’ve also played a part in shaping the company’s evolving culture while still continuing to learn new things over the five years I’ve been here. A key experience that highlights this has been the opportunity to support our development and growth by participating in our HR and recruitment activities.

The culture is something that really stood out to me compared with other places where I’ve worked. As a Roadie, I feel like I’m part of a community of humble, awesome professionals who are genuinely committed to helping each other and our clients – and having fun while doing it! Our community support is something I really love about working here – we’re encouraged to get out of our comfort zones by learning new technologies and ways of working, and when we do, there’s always someone around who’s willing to help figure things out. The company is also keen to back a healthy work-life balance, which has really helped me to shift my focus at times when I’ve needed to put more energy into other aspects of my life.

The career benefits of a versatile approach

Columbia Road has been a great match for my curious mindset and interest in continuous learning, supporting me to explore multiple competence areas and expand my knowledge and expertise. While being more of a generalist might offer many pros career-wise, it also has its cons and isn’t necessarily for everyone; at Columbia Road, it’s equally fine to develop in-depth knowledge in just one or two areas at a time. Both approaches have their place, and I feel that in most people’s careers, there’s a time to focus and a time to step back and look at the bigger picture – in the end, it’s about finding the right balance, and it’s okay to change your focus from time to time. Overall, a good understanding of the client’s business along with the technical aspects of the project will really help you to make good decisions together with them and support them in achieving their goals.

A positive, supportive atmosphere that fosters growth

Ultimately, the people are the biggest assets for a consultancy like Columbia Road. That’s why the positive culture and strong sense of community have played such an important role in my career development. I’ve made some dear friends and had a great time along the way, both through our professional interactions and in activities such as company parties and trips. Whatever we’re doing at the time, the atmosphere is always warm, welcoming and inclusive. We’re truly blessed to have so many great people here, and they make it the perfect place to explore your career direction, learn new skills and grow, whether you’re looking to focus on one area or become a jack of all trades.

We’re always looking for new Roadies to help move us forward as a company, so if you feel you have what it takes – whether you see yourself as a generalist or a specialist – have a look at our open positions and send us an application.


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The Data Handbook

How to use data to improve your customer journey and get better business outcomes in digital sales. Interviews, use cases, and deep-dives.

Get the book