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“say yes to everything” – an interview with software engineer tom wilson


“I’ve been writing a new wrapper, updating some of the code we’ve been using for ChipDNA.” We started our interview by talking about what Tom had been doing at work recently. As his biggest project at Creditcall, he was very proud of what he had accomplished. “It’s something I’ve been able to do myself, and it was a nice project, a big meaty project I could get into and put my heart and soul in to.”

Tom relocated to Bristol from Surrey having been offered a mobile development job in February 2014 by Creditcall, a market-leader in the payment industry. While settling in hasn’t been a problem for Tom, he hasn’t lost his penchant for losing track of where he is, as noted when he discusses the journey to the office on his first day.

“I got lost on the way here even though I was following Google Maps. I’m very good at getting lost. Google Maps takes you in a roundabout way; it doesn’t know the short-cuts in Bristol.” While his opinion of Google’s flagship web mapping tool is largely negative, the same can’t be said about Creditcall and their people. He maps out the rest of the week following his first day.

“After the first day, much of my first week involved learning the code base, learning what things did, and how it all fits together. The product I was working on was well established and there was a lot to learn. I was working with an existing employee called Sigute who was walking me through things, so I wasn’t left to my own devices; there was always someone there to guide me through it. I can’t fault Sigute, she was very good and very patient with me as well.”

The benefits of working at Creditcall became apparent as the interview went on. The highly-sought after ‘graduate jobs’ that blue-chips and corporate companies are incorporating into their employee structure appear to take a hands-off approach. Being moved around from department to department like a hot potato has some benefits, but at Creditcall Tom has clearly benefited from more focussed training, working on real products with a mentor.

When I quizzed him on his one defining moment, though, he surprised me as much as I surprised him.

“That’s a good question,” he said, as his mind tunnelled through the caverns of his memory in search of that one nugget of pure gold. “When I first joined, I wasn’t actually located in the main office because Creditcall had outgrown itself. My team and I were in a small office in “The Link”, a bridge connecting Merchants House North and Merchants House South. Moving out of there into the new offices, with everyone working and being together again was really nice. Becoming part of the main team felt a little like a new beginning!”

Tom’s first year at Creditcall has given him some memories that will live with him forever, as well as the opportunity to refine himself as a skilled professional. “I joined as a mobile developer, but I’ve now progressed to more of a software developer, so I’m more than happy to move about and learn new things. Basically I want to try and help in whatever fashion I can in that respect and join projects where they need the extra help.”

After discussing some of the more technical aspects of his role, he gave some relevant advice on what graduates should be doing.

“Say yes to everything. Take any opportunity you can. Moving from Creditcall’s mobile payments app, and taking on a project from Creditcall’s Point-of-Sale framework, was really nerve-wracking, but I said yes anyway and I enjoyed it! Taking a couple of risks really helped me in that respect, even outside of work. A lot of people at Creditcall are active outside of the office and I was invited to go climbing, which I wasn’t keen on at first because I felt new to the team, but I said yes, went along, enjoyed it, and now I do it regularly. So take risks. Man up.”

Having relocated for this job, I had to ask him what he made of Bristol as a place not just to work, but to live. Tom has only lived in Bristol for a year, but already he’s well acquainted with the sights.

“My favourite area has got to be the harbour side where our office is; it’s such a nice place to be, especially around the summer. It’s a short walk to the pubs and restaurants and you’ve got the Cathedral around there as well. Everything is centralised and in close proximity.”

While a lot of hard work goes on at Creditcall – they’re continuing to expand into the US market after their payment standard has changed from swiping credit and debit cards to using Chip and PIN – Tom is enjoying his time in the Bristol office and has no plans to leave. While enjoying the benefits of a large open floor office, a lot of their internal communication (and banter) is done via Skype, and this has bred some rather amusing scenarios.

“There is Matthew; he’s not the loudest guy but he’s hilarious on Skype. He once told me I was well acquainted with “rage typos” after I got confused and typed something out in all caps too quickly, which drew quite a loud reaction from me. People probably think I’m nuts because every so often I’ll just start laughing and no one will know why.”

There will be many more laughs and many more challenges along the way for Tom, but with his new-found passion for climbing and the support of those around him, he’s sure to ascend to the top of the mountain.

Tom is just one of the many success stories we have helped to create at Auburn Rose. Be the next one.

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