What brought members of our Software Engineering teams to Starling and what do they love about working here? We talked to three Starling engineers to find out.

YewBie Cheng

Since joining Starling’s Southampton office in July 2019, YewBie Cheng has helped build the customer-facing side of a huge range of features. These include in-app cheque imaging, the Starling Business Toolkit and Kite, the debit card for children aged 6-15.

YewBie started coding as a teenager, a skill that aided her university engineering studies. Following her PhD in Electro-Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southampton, she took on a number of leadership roles, most notably for the National Policing Improvement Agency, a department in the Home Office. There, she helped deliver a £69 million project that integrated the different systems within the police forces for England and Wales.

Later, she co-founded an engineering start-up that developed battery management systems. She then taught herself to code iOS apps and launched one app for people living with dementia and another for locating electric vehicle charging points. In 2018, YewBie won an Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) Scholarship.

YewBie Cheng joined as a software engineer in 2019

YewBie says she applied to Starling to lead by example and show her 18-year-old daughter the importance of trying new things.

“Something that attracted me to Starling is the flat hierarchy,” she says. “I also like that it’s up to us as engineers to decide how to pace ourselves.”

Ed Jeffreys

Back-end engineer Ed Jeffreys works on the behind the scenes side of the app and bank. Ed is based at the Starling office in Southampton. He joined in October 2020 and has since worked on payment flows and security features. He’s now part of the team dedicated to our Spaces feature, which enables customers to ring-fence savings from their main balance.

“If I’m working on something completely new to me, I’m given the time and resources to properly understand what I’m doing,” he says. “With coding, there are loads of ways to get to a good solution. Starling gives us the freedom to experiment.”

Ed Jeffreys is part of the team developing our Spaces feature

Ed, 24, studied Software Engineering at Solent University and has been coding since he was 14.

“I started coding after I got into gaming. There was a particular game, Minecraft, that was known for being good to tinker with so I started adding things to it,” he says. “If you want to learn to code, make something. Choose something that interests you and you’ll probably find it helps you in the future.”

Katie Cornish

Since joining Starling in September 2020, Katie Cornish has worked on various back-end engineering tools. “They’re really fun to work on because they help engineers do their job, which then has a knock on effect on the customer-facing work that we do.”

Growing up, she never imagined that she would become a developer. Katie, 27, started coding five years ago. “I had a panic in my last year of university, when I was studying Chemistry. I realised I no longer wanted to go down the PhD research route. I started teaching myself to code from online tutorials - it was almost a hobby for me.”

Katie Cornish initially learned to code through online tutorials

In 2018, after a year working in Finance, she followed her passion for coding and signed up for a 12-week coding course at the Makers Academy. She went on to work for the consultancy Capgemini for two years before joining Starling’s London office.

Katie says: “A lot of trust is given to engineers. If you have an idea, you can run with it. We also don’t have to record the time we spend on something or talk about every little thing we’re doing, which often slows down productivity.”

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