The next instalment of our Hack Your Career series took us to GoCardless, a fast-growing fintech company that started up in 2011 and hasn’t looked back since. Now operating as the UK’s leading direct debit provider, it was fascinating to hear directly from the people behind this highly exciting brand. Our panel consisted of a diverse mix of employees from different departments, which made for a very interesting discussion.
We kicked off with introductions from Maria Campbell (GoCardless Head of People) and Clarice (our Programmes Manager) both of whom coordinated the event. Then, the audience and I posed a few questions to the panel, who responded with fantastic anecdotes, insights and advice.
Natalie Hockham, the resident Data Scientist, emphasised the importance of learning by doing, and teaching ourselves new skills by simply getting stuck into projects (either work or personal). When she was originally looking to enter the industry, she learnt about the career options waiting out there by attending lots of meetups, and encouraged us to do the same.
Head of Design, Tom Petty, highlighted how user journeys are so important, as users are like unique snowflakes (no two being the same!). He also talked about the different ways people get work done - in his case, his need for impending deadlines to motivate him to get things done – I think many of us can understand that!
Also on the panel were two CF:G alumna/ success stories, Jenna Brown (Global Expansion) and Jutta Frieden (Country Lead Germany). Both gave us a great insight into their journeys, with Jenna having moved from the world of corporates to the more dynamic start-up landscape. Jutta shared her experiences of moving from edtech to fintech, and told us about how different interest groups in each industry made for very different landscapes. She also used German slang “Vitamin B” (for “Beziehung” or “relations”) to describe the importance of using a network of connections for job opportunities.
We also got to hear from product engineer Max Murdoch, who like many of our CF:G community moved from an arts-based academic background to front-end programming. He raised the point that while his liberal arts degree may not have taught him the technical skills he currently uses, it did help him discover how he learned new things in general – a valuable and underrated skill to have.
Grey Baker (VP Engineering - who by the sounds of it worked in every single GoCardless department before settling on the engineering team!) gave us his insights on how the culture grows naturally with the people who join. He also encouraged us not to be afraid to try out multiple disciplines, as he did, in order to discover our most comfortable fit.
All in all, everyone learnt a whole lot about the ins and outs about GoCardless, its incredible people, and the journeys they took toward their current techie careers. From different learning techniques to recruitment advice, each panellist was keen to share their valuable wisdom. We finished off with some relaxed networking where everyone was able to generate some “Vitamin B”, not only with the panellists but also with each other!
Big thanks to everyone who came along, to GoCardless and our panellists, and Maria who helped to organise them as well providing some incredibly tasty nibbles:
Code First: Girls