in Engineering, People

A day in the life of a GoCardless software engineer

I’m Tim, and I’m a software engineer at GoCardless. I’ve been here for about four and a half years. I work on our UX team, building customer-facing bits of GoCardless, such as our dashboard and developer API. My team focuses on making them as powerful and easy to use as possible.

The early days

I first joined the team back in 2012, just a few months after GoCardless had launched into beta. I was attracted by the boldness of what the company was trying to do: making life better for small businesses and disrupting banks’ traditional monopoly. Since then I’ve worked in a variety of roles across the company, from setting up and running our customer support operation to running our partnerships team, to where I am now.

On a typical day, I travel in from my flat south of the Thames and arrive in the office at about 8:20am. I’ll usually spend about 40 minutes catching up with my emails and doing little things on my to-do list while it’s still quiet in the office. Then I go to the gym across the road for a run or to lift some weights. Keeping fit is really important to me and I notice the difference in my productivity.

Once I get back to the office, the UX team starts its day with a “stand-up”. There, we spend about ten minutes as a team sharing what we were working on yesterday, what we’re planning to work on today and raising any areas where help would be useful or where something is blocking us from making progress. Next, I grab some breakfast (there’s a big choice provided by the company!) and a cup of tea before getting back to work.

We usually work on projects in small teams of three or four people - this means we can bounce ideas off of each other, pair programme (where two people work together on the same piece of code), review one another’s work and make progress as quickly as possible.

Connecting and communicating

Most recently, I’ve been leading a project improving our CSV exports. Our customers, especially larger ones, rely on these for their reporting and reconciliation. As a small project team, we scope out the projects, and then divide up the work between us, working in two week “sprints” towards our goal.

I’ve been writing the backend code in Ruby, which builds the CSVs in just the right format. One of our brilliant interns, Henri, has been working on the frontend interface in JavaScript and HTML, which our customers see, getting lots of support from me to get up to speed on our codebase and make the right design decisions.

Throughout the project, I’ve been working with others across the company (usually over a coffee!) - for example, I’ve been in regular contact with one of our salespeople, Michael, and one of our Support team, James, to work out exactly how the CSVs should look to meet our customers needs. I’ve also been working with our Product Lead, Duncan, to work out how we should communicate the changes we’re making to users. Henri has stayed connected with our Design team to make sure the customer experience looks and feels as good as possible.

I hugely enjoy interacting with people across the company. The people are brilliant and it’s interesting to hear about what others are working on. It’s also good to think about how a little investment from engineers like myself could make day-to-day working lives much more efficient for people here. We’re always looking to improve processes and reduce manual work, so people have more time to do what they do best.

Flexible working and side projects

I’ll usually power through work from 10am until about 3pm, and then grab a late lunch at about 3pm (I’m invariably too engrossed in my work to eat until then!). Once I’ve eaten, I’ll get back to work for the last few hours of the day before usually going home at about 6pm (although sometimes I’ll stick around if there’s something I’m particularly enjoying and am keen to keep working on!).

I love working at GoCardless. I’m incredibly fortunate to work in a company packed full of incredibly smart people, to have flexibility to work how I want to (whether that means heading to a coffee shop to work sometimes, going to the gym in the middle of the day or working lying on a sofa) and to get to constantly improve a product used by tens of thousands of people.

If you want to be a software engineer somewhere as great as GoCardless, I’d recommend one big thing: play around with side projects. I’ve worked on lots of fun projects in my spare time from a tool to help people use their air miles are effectively to an open-source API library for Rap Genius. These kinds of things are great fun, give you lots more experience of writing code and look great on your CV.

Growth and…we’re hiring!

GoCardless is growing fast - and we need a lot of great people to help us continue that growth. Our Engineering team is hiring, so if you like what you've been reading, why not take a look at our careers page.

Interested in joining the GoCardless team?
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