Hi, please tell us a little bit more about yourself.
Hi, my names Ryan Cawthorn and I’ve been working at VanHeroes for around a month and a half now. I recently moved to Swindon from living in the city centre of Sheffield in order to fulfil a job opportunity with Nationwide Building Society as an IT Test Engineer. Outside of my day job and my evening role at VanHeroes you would find me doing anything football related from watching it, playing 5-a side or having a game of FIFA with my friends!
How did you hear about VanHeroes Ryan and how did you get involved?
Well I actually found out about VanHeroes through my partner Leah (the customer experience manager). She would always talk to me about the future direction of the business and I suppose this started to spark my interest. Leah told me the team were mocking up a potential new website flow, so I decided to bring these ideas to life by mocking up a potential new website design which incorporated this new flow. At the next meet Leah introduced me and I showed the team what I had been working on. I had never created a website before, so this was a brand-new learning opportunity for me. Shane was super impressed with my willingness to have a go and desire to learn something new and asked me if I would like to join the team… and that is how my journey started!
Was it hard to create a website from scratch given you hadn’t done that before?
It was certainly challenging, but I thrive in environments where I am pushed outside of my comfort zone and challenged to try something new. As I mentioned earlier, I recently moved to Swindon to fulfil a job opportunity as an IT test engineer which is a huge career change for me as I was previously an optical consultant. I think this leap into the unknown highlights my desire to better myself and not only that I was recognising that in an ever increasing technology-based world, a role in technology was not only something I had been wanting to do for a while but probably a very sensible thing to do. The ultimate goal is to become a full stack developer which means I need to have a sound understanding of a broad range of technological landscape, so my day job as a test engineer along with my evening job which involves learning development work and writing code means I am one step closer to me achieving my career aspirations.
Can you tell us a little bit more about how VanHeroes aligns to your career aspirations?
VanHeroes has certainly helped me grow in confidence as I am encouraged to give things a go. In the spirit of fail fast, and knowing that dev work can be reversed, I know that if I make a mistake that’s ok because one of those tries will be the right answer and that’s when you can start to learn about what works and what doesn’t. I have found that as I increase my understanding of development work, my day job as a test engineer is becoming far easier. I am finding I now know the right questions to ask and can also contribute to conversations that I wouldn’t have found myself apart of ordinarily. On top of this, there is a huge push for Nationwide Building Society to adopt agile ways of working which is how we work at VanHeroes. I am therefore able to bring the techniques I am learning in VanHeroes over to Nationwide to encourage others to see the benefits of working with agility and adopting a more open and growth mindset.
What is the number one learning you have taken away from VanHeroes?
Apart from the development work that I have been speaking about, which is of course the biggest learning for me as I have never done this before, I would say that working at VanHeroes has ,increased my business acumen. Everything we do is in the interest of the bigger picture, we ensure that our releases align to the future vision and direction of the business which prevents me from working in a silo and in turn means the work I am doing adds a great amount of value. I would encourage you to take a step into the unknown and grow yourself wider than your day job because not only is it great for your CV, you will find that as your knowledge increases the more value you will add which is only ever beneficial.
If people want to learn more about your journey how can they find you?
If you’re from nationwide my diary is always open so feel free to book some time with me or drop me a message on Microsoft Teams. Alternatively I’m happy for you to connect on LinkedIn and we can have a chat over there: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryancawthorn93/?originalSubdomain=uk