"I don’t get the fear of work on a Sunday anymore."

Joined Capco: 2020
Role: Senior Consultant, Full Stack Developer
Primary skills: JavaScript, TypeScript, CSS, React, Java, TDD, BDD
Interests: Music, Bitcoin, football, golf

I think it is fair to say that I took the long way round getting into Tech - I was 30 years old before writing my first line of code!

On reflection, I can see I never really knew what I wanted to do – I took two sciences and two arts at A-level, at university I studied Business and Spanish, then I followed that up with a law conversion course before joining the graduate scheme at a Big 4 firm to become an accountant…

After three years of balancing books, my quest continued, and I took an internal secondment to research how technology was reinventing finance. It was 2013, crowdfunding and P2P lenders were starting up, the word “fintech” had been invented and a cryptocurrency bubble was about to pop (for the second time). It was the work I did there that got me hooked on software and exposed how little I knew about it.

I quickly became the fintech and Bitcoin “specialist” in my old job and was invited to lots of meetings with clients keen to know more. I always struggled when speaking to the technical people in these meetings and decided it was time to upskill myself. My next stop was Coding Bootcamp at Makers Academy. It was a rollercoaster, on good days I would naively think “I’ve got this, I’m a good developer”, and on bad days I would naively think “I’m useless, I’ll never be a good developer.”

However, as I wrote code in Ruby and JavaScript, I got a basic understanding of web development and a solid sense that Pair Programming and Test-Driven Development were the way forward. I also stuck many stickers to my laptop.

Well, that was it. Unlike most others who did a bootcamp to get a job as a developer, I did it to be better equipped to go back to my old job. I was better, I could (kind of) converse with technical people, and it landed me roles as Scrum Master on a couple of technology consulting projects (early stage PoCs and larger-scale projects implementing blockchain technology within banks and among banks).

It was great for a while, but the more I worked alongside developers, the more I realised I was envious of what they did. They were creative but also scientific in their approach; they seemed to experiment a lot, they were always learning new things, they solved problems and shipped product. So, I started to code again.

The Job Search was intimidating but informative. I took the approach of applying to large and small companies (start-ups with three employees through to large multinational corporations) in various sectors. Over a three-month period, I crashed and burned in a few technical interviews but ended up with four job offers. It was hard not to dwell on the bad ones, but the positive side was that they exposed areas I was weaker in and could improve on before the next interview. I think the low point was being asked to replicate an entire UI from scratch in 45 minutes and only being able to display one small bit of text and a simple counter by the end of it.

I joined Capco mainly because of the interview process, it said a lot. I had four interviews with four different people, and all of them made a good impression. It was a genuine two-way conversation; the interviewers were intelligent and kind and they were not trying to catch me out or drill me on obscure aspects of a particular language or framework. Instead, they wanted to see how I thought and if I was a good fit for the team. Furthermore, I was impressed with the variety of projects my interviewers had worked on and the rate at which the team was growing. I also loved the office J and the Old Street location, but mainly the people. I loved Capco so much that I let another offer expire whilst waiting to hear back from them.

I don’t get the fear of work on a Sunday anymore. In fact, most of the time, I am excited to get to work and the remainder of the time, I am at least happy to be going to work. I think it is partly down to the nature of the job and the team members I work with, the projects we get to work on and the way we work.

For some context, in the past 12 months, I have worked on a team maintaining legacy database code whilst creating new microservices to move away from the legacy way of doing things. Java wasn’t my strongest language (at all), but the team helped me pick it up quickly and supported me. We followed TDD and BDD practices. We wrote CI pipelines and deployed our microservices in a cluster on the cloud (another first for me). Our client liked what we had done, so they kept us on to develop a front-end to replace an old Microsoft tool. We got to choose the technologies and languages that we believed were best. It was now my turn to help others on the team learn TypeScript and React.

My top tips for being successful at Capco would be to be resourceful, experiment quickly, keep learning, be kind, and don’t forget the human element in development.