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The Global M blog


by | Jul 27, 2017 | Day in the life

We are thrilled to introduce you to Rachel Black, Front-end developer at the vibrant London based Yoti! This interview will reflect her everyday life as a developer, her background and her achievements and goals! Read more… 

1. First can you tell us a bit about your job? What does your company do?

I work for Yoti, a technology company based in London. We are building a digital identity platform that makes it quicker, easier and safer for individuals and organisations to verify who people are, online and in person. The exciting thing is the number of applications for the product – from proving your age at nightclubs and supermarkets to verifying your details when online dating and with recruitment companies. We also have an API which companies and developers can integrate into their systems and build with; the uses really are endless, but with the same goal – to make it easier and safer to share your identity details.


2. What brought you to this area, what’s your background?

I work as a Javascript developer, mainly with front-end (react.js for those who are interested). However I have actually done a career change, as I previously worked as a secondary school teacher. In 2015 I completed a coding bootcamp (with Founders & Coders) and have been working as a Javascript developer ever since. I really like the industry – there is always something new to learn and the change of pace is rapid. I was interested in Yoti particularly because identity is such a hot topic and there is a real need for a secure solution for people to take back control and manage their data.


3. What time does your day start, and what does your typical work day schedule look like?

Usually I start in the office around 9.30 (sometimes I’ll come in earlier if their is something I want to learn). I usually go over any comments on our codebase (code reviews are a regular thing at Yoti). We have our team standup at 11am where we catch up on our progress, and discuss any blockers or dependencies. After that, unless we have sprint planning or a retro meeting, the day is spent working on the assigned stories in your sprint – this could be anything from fixing a bug to implementing a new feature. We are also spending some time interviewing and hiring at Yoti at the moment.


4. What kind of projects are you currently working on?

Recently I have been working on Yoti’s password manager, YPM. It’s a cool project to work on as I have never worked with a chrome extension before, plus given the number of sites we have to support there are lots of edge cases and situations to consider, which makes for an interesting challenge!


My main project at Yoti has been our Dashboard product, which is a portal into creating and managing apps and pages that use Yoti. Dashboard has a lot of moving parts as it interfaces with most of Yoti, meaning there is lots to learn.


5. What do you consider the greatest achievement in your work to date?

Becoming familiar with the architecture in Yoti Dashboard. We take security very seriously at Yoti so there is a lot going on under the surface to ensure our users’ data is safe. Of course that means some increased complexity for us developers! Learning how we work with data has been challenging but also satisfying.


6. What is the one app you could not live without?

I use Strava a lot – it’s great being able to monitor and share my runs. I’m also a big fan of Monzo. I love the design of their product and the way it makes keeping track of your spending easier, although at the moment I mainly seem to get notifications saying I have over spent on my budget!


7. What’s the best thing about working at your company?

Working with a ground breaking product using exciting technology. We get to work with lots of new and shiny technology, including react, redux, docker, web sockets and many more. Also there is a lot of knowledge sharing at Yoti – every new bit of code we submit gets reviewed by the team, meaning there is always plenty of discussion and opportunities for feedback. There is a real team environment, and lots of super smart developers to learn from.


8. Where is the after work hangout?

We have just moved offices, so no regular as of yet. When we were based in Covent Garden, The Harp was a popular choice. These days I am on a bit of a health kick and seem to end up at yoga more than the pub though!


9. Who is your professional role model?

I am lucky enough to have worked with some great people so far in tech. Ines who is one of the founders of DYWL (an agency associated with Founders & Coders who help startups, including Yoti, build tech products with a social impact), is an inspiration to me. Her dedication to building a tech business with ethics and openness at its heart is impressive. Also the Founders & Coders’ ladies who set up Node girls (free coding workshops for women to learn Javascript) are also pretty awesome!


10. What makes London a good city for technology, startups and diversity?

The number of people, events and companies based here. Pretty much every night of the week there are multiple tech events going on. It’s really easy to find people who are passionate about what they do, whether it’s their day job, their startup or a side project.


11. Which tech trends are you most excited about?

AI and blockchain are particularly exciting. I like the idea of AI being used to take some of the grunt work out of repetitive tasks, and leaving employees more time to work on more interesting, creative and valuable tasks.


12. What are the top 3 qualities you look for in an employer?

Most importantly somewhere that’s going to allow me to continue to grow and learn. As a developer there are always new things to learn and it’s important to keep up. At Yoti we have a conference and training budget so that helps, along with the frequent code reviews and mentorship. Secondly, a company that is building a great product that offers real value to its users. Finally, somewhere that has a good culture and is a fun place to work.


13. And finally, what is the one piece of advice you would give to an engineer starting out?

Ask a lot of questions and don’t worry if they sound stupid. Also find a side project to work on, it’s fun and you will learn a lot!

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