National Coding Week: Atom’s tech talents tell their stories

15 September 2021

Tech

Jonathan Smith

From the 13th of September, the UK marks National Coding Week, an event designed to encourage adults and children to improve their digital literacy and try on some coding for size. The Week has proved to be a success since its launch in 2014 and has even spread overseas to the likes of the USA, Australia and the EU.

As a digital bank and fintech innovator, the family here at Atom bank has its fair share of tech talents. From making sure our website is spick and span to engineering the back end of our app, we really do have a lot of experts hard at work behind the scenes (find out more about our tech stack).

To celebrate National Coding Week 2021, we spoke to a couple of our coders to find out how they got into the field and what motivates them at Atom bank.

Tom Davies, Lead Web Engineer

I took the scenic route into web development. My background is in education — specifically, I worked as a secondary art teacher. I found I was teaching more digital and design-based content and stumbled into web design as part of my own upskilling.

After designing my first web page, I wondered how difficult it would be to make it. I chanced upon some basic online tutorials without thinking too much of it at first, but several hours in and I had a real epiphany: this was what I wanted to do with my life.

Over the next few months, I learned web development on the side, mostly through free online resources, and researched how to get into the industry. I built up a portfolio and handed in my notice at my teaching job.

Next, I wrote to another North East-based bank and secured some work experience. I thought it would give me some insight into what it was like to work on a digital team, and I now look back on that as one of my best decisions starting out.

Within a year of writing my first line of code, I was very fortunate to be hired by Atom bank, initially as a junior contractor on a three-month trial. Three years later, and I am still here, having recently been promoted to Lead Web Engineer.

I love working in a growing business like Atom. After first taking on the public websites in 2018, I have watched our team grow from one to four. We have a wonderful working culture, and remote working hasn’t hindered our togetherness or results.

We strive to stay up to date with modern technologies, and we are all very open to developing as individuals and as a team. I love the problem-solving aspect of coding, and with front end development it still kind of feels like I “draw” with the code. It is a surprisingly creative medium that I hope to be using for the rest of my career.

Ryan Errington, Front End Engineering Lead

I found my love of coding through my appreciation of design. I was fortunate to work a few hours a week for a multimedia company at a young age, and I would often peek over curiously at the devs on Dreamweaver bringing web designs to life. I soon tried my hand at basic HTML & CSS, and that was when the fire was lit.

Fast-forward a few years, a degree in web technologies and lots of projects, and I now lead the frontend engineering capability at Atom bank, home of the Web & App teams. We aim to deliver an industry-leading user experience across our various applications. Technology is at the heart of providing value to our customers, so we play a crucial role.

Coding has always been the most exciting part of the job for me. It’s such a fast-paced industry, irrelevant of the tech you work with, and this keeps you on your toes week in, week out. Getting into coding is now more accessible than ever with some amazing courses and content online. As well as this, the demand for jobs in engineering is growing rapidly, so there’ll be some fantastic opportunities for future coders.

If coding sounds exciting, then you’ll be glad to know there are a few great ways to dive into the field. The National Coding Week website is a great place to start — you can find inspiration, career advice and resources to help you expand your knowledge, as well as a Digital Skills Challenge 2021 to get involved in.

Already a skilled coder? Then you may be interested in some of the tech roles we have available here at Atom. Head over to our careers page for more information.