Transform your career with Spires — Ryan’s new career path

Πρόσωπα · 13 Φεβρουαρίου 2024Nicolás Vásquez

In 2022, Revolut created the Spires programme to provide ‌employees with radical, alternative growth opportunities. This programme was made for Revoluters who have a strong desire to explore, learn, and transform their professional careers by taking on new roles.

To better understand the Spires programme and its real impact, we sat down with Ryan Healy, who became the first Revoluter to complete the programme.

He shared his experience with us and discussed the various challenges, tools, and advantages of this programme that have shaped his professional journey.

Tell us about your journey at Revolut before joining Spires

I joined Revolut 3 years ago as the first Risk Manager in Japan, a key role for obtaining a proper business licencing. Despite years of experience as an operational risk manager at a large financial institution before Revolut, the decision to move was straightforward due to how impressed I was with Revolut’s product and the tech behind it. Truly a different world from where I’d worked‌.

After working extensively with the Operations team during my time in the Risk team, I realised joining Operations offered more opportunities for scripting, automating tasks, and working with SQL‌ — essential for a backend engineer. After that, I transitioned to the Operations team in October 2021.

What inspired your decision to enrol in the Spires programme and embark on a career change as an engineer?

Evolving from a self-taught developer to a software engineer at a top tech company like Revolut is difficult. On your own, you tend to just build things “to work”, without making the same considerations that'd need to be made when working on an actual production application, handled by many engineers/teams.

Being able to build something useful is a great starting point, however, I felt that the programme was the perfect opportunity to collaborate with engineers working in complex domains and to learn to write code that's maintainable.

Can you share some insights on Spires?

What's the inside scoop, and how does it help you with the skills to pivot your career, specifically as a software engineer?

For me, it essentially came down to 3 key components:

  1. Self-study / introduction to fundamentals through the Coursera course
    Similar to what you'd expect from university-level computer science courses, with a focus on language-specific (Java) topics.
  2. Coding with a mentor
    This turned out to be the most valuable part of the experience. Receiving guidance from an engineer actively working on production applications at Revolut provided insights that are hard to grasp from traditional courses or books.
  3. Interview loop / preparation:
    This phase involved a technical interview with a senior engineer at Revolut, covering many computer science fundamentals and a small live-coding exercise. Wanting to be exceptionally prepared, I used every free moment to get ready. In the end, the preparation paid off, and I felt reassured by the positive outcome of the interview process!
it's an amazing opportunity to do what you love without migrating to a new ecosystem.

Any tips for maintaining a positive work-life balance?

Fully immerse yourself in the time you spend with loved ones or yourself. Avoid trying to be in two headspaces at once (e.g., out with your kids at the park and reading a Java book on your phone). Set personal goals to enjoy time with your family and create a real break from the work-study cycle.

I made a rule that any free time I had with my son, I'd spend teaching him how to tackle a new obstacle (literally) at the athletic park near our house. I felt it was something we had accomplished together and was totally independent of my studies.

What support or resources did you get from the company?

I received all I could ask for. Revolut provided the ability to live wherever I want in the country where I’m working, improving my quality of life. Not having to commute every day for long periods really helped maximise focus time. In a more general way, Revolut allowing me to work primarily remotely means I’ve never had to sacrifice the little joys in life, such as enjoying some picturesque scenery with my family when it’s time to wind down for a while. I’m forever grateful for this flexibility.

As the first employee to graduate from Spires, you’re making history. What does this mean to you?

It's an incredible honour. Completing the programme made me feel that my journey of gradually understanding a complex science wasn't just something I felt, but was recognised and affirmed by experts. Others could now see my dedication to making it a viable career for myself.

What are you most looking forward to as an engineer?

Most of all, I’m looking forward to working with some incredibly smart people to solve interesting problems, and providing customers with some powerful tools to improve their daily lives.

For those contemplating a similar career shift, or considering the Spires programme, what advice would you give?

I’d encourage people to understand how rare and valuable this opportunity is, and that it’s definitely worth many long nights in front of a screen with a takeaway. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Particularly for those like me, who have been at Revolut for several years, and appreciate how few barriers there are to productivity — it's an amazing opportunity to do what you love without migrating to a new ecosystem.

Currently, the Spires programme provides support to employees seeking a career change in roles such as Data Analyst, Data Scientist, Python Engineer, Java Engineer, Web/Front-end Engineer.

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