Hi Kasia, tell us a little bit about yourself!
I currently work as a Backend Software Engineer at Mettle.
After I graduated, I moved to London and started my career working for some smaller companies. At the time, I couldn't even imagine applying for a job at a tech company, I simply thought it was completely out of my scope.
But to my surprise, after living in London for some time, I landed my first tech job at a start-up.
At first, I found myself working as a junior salesperson, then moved into account management and customer support-related roles. After some time, I started opening myself up to the possibility of moving into a tech team.
What made you make the move into tech?
I had little knowledge of the roles available at a tech company, as I was not exposed to them in the past. Joining the tech industry opened up my eyes to a lot of diversity and prospects, and that’s when I started thinking about where I could fit in.
In 2020, I joined a couple of online webinars and started learning a coding language, then I started taking online courses and absorbed all the free resources that I could possibly find. I knew I wanted to continue my journey and expand my coding skills in the future.
What attracted you to the NatWest Group Bootcamp?
I had some prior experience working with clients in the banking and financial services industries. I thought it would be a great choice to join the NatWest Group sponsored bootcamp. NatWest is a very reputable bank and the recruitment team was also very supportive. I knew that NatWest accommodated a group of women that had also finished their bootcamps not long before me and that they have created an internal group for the new joiners. Having a sense of community within the organisation was an essential factor in making the decision for me.
Did you face any challenges throughout your journey?
The major challenge in my journey was that I didn’t have much support, I was using a lot of online resources but never had a tutor or an instructor. When I applied for the Code First Girls course, I passed the interviews and got into the program sponsored by NatWest. I committed myself to intensive studies for another four to five months alongside a full-time job. Combining studying, additional projects, and exams was quite demanding but I wasn't afraid of taking on new challenges. Even though my life was consumed by studying and working, it was a wonderful learning experience. I was finally exposed to more project-based coding, which gave me a better idea of what it would be like to work in the industry as a software developer.
How would you describe your experience at Mettle so far?
When I joined Mettle, I was pleased to see that the technology the engineers were working with was quite advanced and the environment was fast-paced. The company has a start-up feel – there are a lot of younger people working here and there are a lot of new features that are being developed. Tech teams at Mettle have a lot of room to be creative in their roles and are able to work on interesting projects, which proves that Mettle is a great place to grow my skill set.
How has Mettle supported you in developing a career in tech?
My manager is supportive of my learning, which is such an important thing for me, especially after transitioning into a new career path. I’m truly glad he knows and understands that I’m starting from zero. My manager is genuinely considerate of me, he makes sure we have regular catch-ups, and we work well together. Thanks to the support I am receiving, I feel that very soon I will be able to add to my team’s work and contribute individually.
After I joined, I was also appointed a buddy from my team, he understands my struggles as he's been through a similar journey in the past. Any time I have an issue, I will discuss it with him, and we will go through the concept together or he will direct me to the right person that can support me.
I am also glad that Mettle accommodates me to join more initiatives externally. Not long ago, I was able to join a Code First Girl’s Code Fest event for graduates and women that are interested in joining the tech industry. I was there for two days, and it was so incredible to meet inspiring and successful people in the industry. It was fantastic hearing women’s advice on working in tech and what can be achieved. In the future, I would love to join more events similar to this one. In addition, there is also a development and learning fund available for Mettle’s employees, so if I feel like I might require new learning resources I can easily discuss it with the People Team and receive the support I need.
What surprised you the most when you joined us?
I thought that because Mettle is part of NatWest Group, it would be a lot more reliant on NatWest feature releases. I can see that there is some level of influence, but I've noticed there is also a lot of autonomy. Working for Mettle seems like the best of both worlds – the stability of a traditional bank and the independence and creativity of a start-up. After being at Mettle for a few months now, I can see there are a lot of great developers working in the tech teams that provide me with loads of support. Mettle is also great for sharing knowledge, I especially enjoy the regular Engineering Deep Dives and browsing through the resources available on our Confluence page.
What do you like most about your role?
One of the best parts of my role is problem-solving. I like the fact that I can focus on a task or pair with my colleagues to work on a problem. I like the feeling of fulfilment it gives me when I finally manage to succeed in finding a solution. I also like collaborating with my team members during brainstorming sessions and building new features together.
My team is very supportive of me and when I have a problem I know I can always ask for help.
Do you get any opportunities to network with people from Mettle?
Yes, definitely, there is a lot of room to socialise and collaborate with colleagues. So far I’ve joined a few monthly Mettle socials where I get to meet people both from tech teams and beyond.
A couple of weeks ago my team organised an internal in-person Hackathon. We were able to pick which topic we are interested in working on, and we spent a day brainstorming and prototyping the ideas.
Recently I’ve also had a chance to join an internal Mission Day – which allowed me to meet and socialise with colleagues from other teams, we had a chance to collaborate with Product Managers which helped me to understand Mettle’s roadmap and product better.
What advice would you give to other women who are thinking of pursuing a career in tech?
I feel like a lot of women might feel intimidated by the idea of transitioning into the tech industry. Starting in a new role, in a new industry from scratch might seem like a big challenge for many of us. Personally, I think the tech industry is so versatile – tech teams are needed in every industry we can think of, from hospitality to banking. Even though initially it might seem scary, there are so many roles to choose from and so many different career paths that I think everyone will find something they are passionate about.
I always encourage women to take additional courses and upskill themselves in every way possible, being tech-savvy is always beneficial, and it can be helpful to differentiate yourself during job hunting.
Tech is everywhere these days, and it will outline everyone’s future, I wish women from all backgrounds would help to shape it.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining Mettle?
I would encourage joining Mettle if you want to work for a vibrant company that allows creativity and supports learning opportunities. The company is constantly growing and expanding, there is always a lot happening and there are many areas you could get yourself involved. Mettle promotes career growth and is a fantastic environment to learn new skills while working on building innovative features.
Want to know more about what it’s like to work at Mettle or see our open roles? Head to jobs.mettle.co.uk.