The above Twitter exchange caught the eye of Makers Academy. We caught up with Funmi Adewodu to hear her side of the story, which she has written below. You can follow her journey here.
How it started
I never really imagined I would be excited about banking until I came across Starling Bank.
I fell in love with their whole customer experience and this really got me interested in the company.
I really liked their approach towards building a bank. It reflects the innovation of the current times and also meets the needs of people for building a healthier financial life.
What also appealed to me is their Passport to Starling programme which allows their employees to truly explore their passion and drive their careers.
I was working in Accounting and looking to eventually make a career-switch to Software Development. I was teaching myself to code.
I took a web development course was with Code First Girls and I had also already secured a place on the Makers course.
I was not actively looking for a job at the time but I pursued my interests in coding and things really started falling into place for me.
I was really interested in attending Starling’s hackathon but I remember feeling like I did not have enough experience coding yet.
A lucky invitation
Fortunately a friend contacted me around the same time and said she had signed up for the same hackathon and she wanted to join her team — and of course I said yes!
I was excited about the serendipity of the whole thing and it felt like I was in the right place at the right time.
After the hackathon, I told them about my interest in coding and that I was keen to learn more about the opportunities at Starling.
Through that, I was able to stand out and they invited me for further discussions a few weeks after.
I was then invited back for an interview which involved a pair programming exercise and some logic exercises.
In the end they offered a job as a Software Engineer at the company.
Advice for other Makers
It’s easy to get overwhelmed whilst on the course at Makers. A lot of students always feel like they’re not learning enough or afraid that they won’t be good enough for a job by the end of the course.
My main advice to other job-seekers is:
Don’t be afraid about putting yourself out there and to really aim for whatever company that interests you. It’s not always easy to believe in yourself but the truth is that going through Makers really gives you the skills you need to work as a developer. Given the right environment to grow your skills, it becomes so easy to pick up new languages and frameworks because Makers has given you that solid foundation of learning how to learn.
- Be patient with yourself.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Surround yourself with supportive people.
- Don’t be afraid to say yes to new opportunities.
It can be quite daunting being a tech newbie. Getting familiar with the Tech community here in London by attending meetups and events, speaking to other people about my interests and putting myself out there really helped me along the way and I would highly recommend doing the same.
Reflections on Makers
At the beginning of my career change journey I really had no idea that I would be where I am now. I have no regrets about pursuing my dream to become a software developer and choosing to go through Makers so I wouldn’t really do anything differently. I now get to wake up to a great job doing what I love everyday.
The whole Makers experience was amazing and completely life changing. It has been the best form of education I have ever been through. I also got make to great friends along the way.
I would say a life lesson from my experience at Makers is knowing that I’m able to challenge myself and it’s possible for me achieve whatever I set my mind to. The emotional intelligence curriculum at Makers also gave me a sense of self awareness that I never really had before the course.
About Starling Bank
For those who haven’t heard of it, Starling Bank is one to watch. A fast-growing digital-only bank that describes itself as ‘a tech business with a banking licence’. Their vision is to give everyone in the world the opportunity to enjoy a healthy financial life.
We spoke to Hessie Coleman, Head of People Operations, about Funmi:
“People join Starling Bank because they’re excited about the product, which is making a difference to peoples’ lives. Also, as we’re a smaller team with a flexible flat structure, it means everyone can contribute and take responsibility straight away — they truly grow and develop with us.
We met Funmi at a Starling Bank Hackathon, prior to her Makers journey. Her enthusiasm for what we are doing and for learning and taking on new skills and experiences impressed us, and we kept in touch with her from then on.
We have all been really impressed with our Makers grads’ abilities and attitudes to learning; the focus on good feedback, always wanting to find out how things work and the speed at which they pick up new skills and slot straight into any team they go into is fantastic.”