The journey to becoming a Software Engineer
I recently joined Navos as a Junior Software Engineer after working in financial services for the past 5 years. This was a complete change in career path for me but, after joining Navos only a few months ago, I know I made the right choice.
A shift in mindset
I’ve always had an interest in technology from a young age, and this interest was rekindled during the pandemic. As socialising became non-existent during this time, like many people, I took this as an opportunity to reflect on a number of aspects of my life – the major one being my long-term career path. Some people know exactly what they want to do in life, but for me it wasn’t like that at all, so how was I going to figure this out?
I sat down and had a think about what I wanted out of a job; one where I could make a real impact, utilise my existing skills and interests, and perhaps most importantly one where I’d be challenged and constantly learning.
Previously, I worked at Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) on their Investment Helpdesk, a role that involved constant interaction with clients on a daily basis. Over the course of my time there I learnt a lot, not just about financial markets and products, but about what clients want out of a service. Of course, knowledge is important, but what I realised was more important is really listening to clients and understanding their needs, which is paramount to providing the best service possible. Through conversations with clients, I started to really become aware of the technical challenges they were facing, and I found myself spending a lot of time thinking about how these could be remedied.
As my career in financial services progressed, I saw many changes occurring within the business and the industry as a whole. To name a few; the average age of investors was getting lower, there was a big push towards online services, and clients wanted more features from their service, while still being fast and easy to use. It was clear to see that a shift in focus to improving technological aspects of the business was necessary to address these changes.
Working with exposure to financial markets every day, I also saw the boom in technology companies over the years. Today technology underpins every industry, and it was hard to ignore how this shift was transforming existing industries and becoming more and more important. Everyone knows the big tech companies like Amazon, Tesla and Apple but what I really noticed were the smaller technology companies that were seeing huge growth, and quickly. It was clear to see the enormous reach and impact of technology, and there was huge value in what these companies were doing. I wanted to be a part of that.
The start of my Software Development journey
My father, who used to be a Computer Programmer, encouraged me to look into Software Development as he felt it would definitely suit my skills and interests, so I thought “why not give it a go?”. I started to learn coding in my free time, during my lunch breaks and after work, and I knew immediately this was what I wanted to do. Building a product from nothing and seeing tangible results quickly is incredibly rewarding. It was a career where I felt I could make a real difference and I didn’t look back. I quit my job and enrolled onto an intensive 3 month course to really accelerate my learning, and build on the solid foundation I had created to get job ready.
When you think of Software Developers, the stereotype that most people have is someone sitting in a dark room behind a computer all day. This is far from the truth and, as I started coding, I noticed a lot of similarities with my role at HL. You need to be able to communicate effectively, understand the needs of the client and use tools and logic to provide a resolution for them. Technology is also fast moving and always changing, like financial markets, and keeping up-to-date is essential to be able to provide the best service possible. Finding a job where I could use my financial services knowledge, as well as continue with my software development learning meant that Navos was the perfect fit.
Keeping the client front of mind
With my background working in a client facing role, I have the unique insight into what the customer really wants out of a website or platform. I heard their frustrations first hand and now bring that knowledge to help our clients when developing a solution for them. Whether it is the look and feel or the user journey, I can advise on what will provide the best client experience.
Technology, like investing, can feel like venturing into uncharted waters for a lot of people. A career in Software Development allows me to combine my passion for technology and excellent client service, using these skills, knowledge and insight to help clients successfully navigate to their destination.
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