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Meet Esther, Backend Engineer at Mettle

Written by: Mettle editorial
4 min read

From starting a career in construction to getting a degree with Code First Girls, Esther tells us about her journey to Mettle and what she loves most about working here.

Esther, Backend Engineer

Hi Esther, tell us about your career so far! 

I studied Economics at University and when I left ended up working as a Quantity Surveyor. 

After many years of working in construction, I was seeking a career change. I wanted to work in a role that was challenging, where I would be constantly learning and developing. My partner is a software developer so he was trying to convince me to move into ‘software’, ‘tech’ etc.  After much persuasion, I finally made the change. And that is all thanks to Code First Girls (CFG). I did the Nano degree (now named the CFG degree) with them, and then I got offered a place at Mettle. I’m very grateful for the opportunity and I’m loving it.

How has your experience at Mettle been so far?

I have been at Mettle for a little over a month now and I’m really enjoying it. I have been able to connect with so many people and learn a lot from them within a short period of time. 

I’ve been lucky enough to have time with different members of the team to go through their specialism, what they do, and learn from them. It’s amazing how patient and open the team is to help. They’re always at hand should I have any questions, it’s been a positive experience so far. 

What attracted you to working at Mettle?

I was initially drawn to the NatWest Group by someone who I met at Code Fest last year. Her enthusiasm inspired me to learn more. Fast forward a few months and I was involved with a CFG Hackathon. I was placed in a group with Ada who completed the Nano degree sponsored by Natwest. I was attracted to their passion for working for the Natwest Group and this encouraged me to apply. Little did I know I would actually be placed at Mettle. I love it at Mettle, although part of the Natwest group it has a start-up feel to it. I enjoy working in a smaller environment as it will provide a lot of development opportunities. I am excited to be a part of the growth and success here. 

Can you tell us a little more about the culture at Mettle?

The main thing that I grasped, after working for three corporate companies now, is that Mettle has a culture of being connected, friendly and responsive. Mettle is remote first, yet it has a strong sense of community and it feels like people genuinely enjoy working here. 

How have you been supported in your learning development at Mettle?

In my team, we have an Engineering Manager and then we have a Technical Manager – one to support your personal and HR needs and one to support your technical role. 

Both of them have been great and the team created a development plan for me to work through the first three months. I have regular catch-ups with Neha, the Engineering Manager, and these meetings allow me to discuss any problems I may be facing. The Technical Manager, David, will check in to see what I can do to further develop my skills. They make sure that I’m happy from both sides and I think that works really well. 

I have also been paired with a buddy, David, who has been my go-to for so many coding problems. Starting a new role in a new industry can be daunting, he regularly checks in and he has been so helpful in explaining how things work and patiently walking me through my coding queries. 

What is the most rewarding part of your current role?

I have time to continue learning and developing whether it is through doing courses or pairing with other developers. It’s rewarding to know that I learned a lot during the intensive 12-week CFG course and I’m able to utilise all of these skills in the real world.

How do you balance learning and development and getting stuck into projects?

I think that’s the best part of working in my team – I am able to work at my own speed. I’ve got an onboarding plan, but I can decide how to tackle it. Whether I want to spend part of the day pairing with other developers on a ticket, completing a training course or just working on a development project.

What is your proudest career moment so far?

My proudest moment will have to be changing careers. After many years, the role I was in previously wasn’t what I envisioned it to be, but the stress and fear of changing careers left me in a position where I was unhappy for a long period. I had thought about the time I had to invest in upskilling, the financial commitment, the promotion potential and whether or not I am making the right decision. I debated about it for more than two years, so making that decision was quite challenging, but I think I made the right one.

Is there a community where you can share your experience?

There are people who reach out to me on LinkedIn who want to make a career change. I’m always happy to share my experiences and respond to any concerns they may have. 

I have actively encouraged women who were considering a career change to try the CFG courses as an introduction to tech as I genuinely believe that this is a great career move. CFG is a community that provides the skills and confidence for women and non-binary people to work in tech. They have various courses available from basic web development, SQL and the CFG degree.

What surprised you the most about the tech industry?

There is a lot of collaboration between teams and developers. Developers can often pair on tickets. It is encouraging to know, as I take on more challenging tickets, I can pair with someone to work through and resolve issues. 

I was also surprised to see how many people do not have a traditional tech background but are successful in their roles. 

What in the industry would you like to see change?

I would like to see more women and ethnically diverse people in senior tech positions. This would be great for the younger generation to look up to and think that is where they can be in their future career.

What advice would you give to other women who are thinking of pursuing a career in tech?

My advice to women wanting to pursue a career in tech is to be confident and try things that are out of their comfort zone. Throughout your coding journey, it can get tough sometimes but remember you are not alone, don’t give up and keep going. 

For those who are wanting to make a switch, no matter what your age, you still have time to begin a fulfilling career in tech. It may feel like starting again but you are taking a wealth of invaluable knowledge and experience from the past.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining Mettle?

If you are looking for an innovative startup backed by the security of a major bank, then Mettle is the place to be. It is definitely an exciting time to be part of a growing business with a lot of development opportunities. Overall I think it is a great work environment and I am looking forward to what the future at Mettle holds.

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