Iain Russell - Software Engineer - NatWest Group

Issued: Tue, 20 Oct 2020 00:00:00 BST

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

I taught English for a year in Taiwan and still don’t know when to use whomever.

Tell us about your career journey so far

After leaving school I studied Aerospace Engineering and worked for a year in the Aerospace industry before leaving to travel in Asia and teach English. After being abroad for a couple of years I started on the Technology Grad Scheme with Natwest Group (previously RBS) and have been working here for a year mostly as a Software Engineer.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

Physics, because I was good at it, plus we got to do experiments which just tips it past Maths for me.

What subjects/qualifications are useful for your role?

All the STEM subjects, particularly Computing Science and Maths. Anything with a focus on solving problems is incredibly useful as it's more about how to think of  solutions and new ways of doing something, than knowing a lot.

What is a normal day in your role like?

Now we mostly work from home, I get up later than I should. But I tend to start the day with more Brain heavy work like putting together the pieces of how a new application will work, this could involve writing and testing new code or designing how the elements of the app will interact in a solution design. Then later in the day I save for less intense work like everyday tasks (e.g. documenting work done) and learning new technology or programming techniques. This rhythm works for me as I have more energy in the morning so it helps to get the most out of this productive time. The focus for my days is to improve as a Software Engineer and write some interesting and useful applications.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

Getting to solve new problems everyday, and learning new ways to do so.

Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work? 

There are a few good places to start with coding:

  • Code Club has many online resources to start learning how to code
    • you can start with blocks in Scratch before moving to Python or HTML/CSS (there are projects for lots of levels)
  • With BBC micro:bits and Raspberry Pi, mini computers can be a good place to start with writing code onto robots and machines.

If you're a STEM Ambassador in Scotland and want to share your story you can download the form here.