Meet Sean: Lead Backend Engineer at Student Beans

In the latest of our Meet the Team series, we're introducing you to Sean, who leads our team of backend engineers. Here's what he had to say about what they're focusing on this year, and why he loves living and working in Manchester.


What has been the highlight of your time at Student Beans so far?

A big part of my job is helping other developers to do their best work. I find it really satisfying to work with people to go from a hard problem to an elegant solution. The highlight is that I get to do that every day.

As one of the newer team members, how much has the company changed during the time you’ve been here?

There have been a couple of things, focused on allowing us as an engineering team to get things done more quickly. The one I’ve worked on most is around changing how we run the website, making it more future proof. This has had many benefits, one of the primary ones being that we can now go from having some code changed on someone’s laptop to having it deployed within 30 minutes. It’s almost an order of magnitude quicker than before. That was something that me and Vince, our Technical Lead, had in our heads and we got the green light from Mike, Student Beans’ MD, to spend time on it as he recognised that it was a pain point.

Also, on a broader level, the company is becoming much more data-driven in how we approach things. That’s really come into fruition recently. We are working to increase engagement with the site, which is also a key goal for the Brand team.

How is the engineering team structured? For example can you explain about the squads you work in?

Increasingly we’re moving towards each team (which we call a squad), which is roughly four or five people, working towards achieving a ‘rock’ (i.e. one of our key goals). These squads have a mix of people with different experience working together.

What are you most looking forward to at work in 2018?

We're in the process of modernising large parts of our stack, I'm excited by the opportunities this gives us.

What’s it like working in Student Beans’ Manchester office?

It’s great for me, because it’s much smaller than the London office, which suits my personality a bit better. We all get on really well so it’s enjoyable to come to work because there’s no tension. In terms of living in Manchester, I can’t at this point imagine living anywhere else because it’s such a nice city generally, but also I’m quite involved in the tech community. I know a lot of people from there, and it’s really vibrant and enjoyable to be part of.

What’s your top tip for people interested in working in engineering?

Don't be afraid to get things wrong. Not knowing the answer means you are learning something new.

What do you think sets Student Beans apart from other companies in the sector?

We have a strong set of values that everyone lives up to and so everyone is focusing on the same things to give our customers the best experience.

What would you have liked to know before you started at Student Beans?

Any idea that’s brought up will be considered, and it’s not a dictatorship. We need everyone to be getting involved in idea generation, so hopefully we’re fostering an environment where everyone feels comfortable doing that.

What’s the no.1 thing that makes you stay at Student Beans?

I get to work with lots of talented people to solve interesting problems; what's not to like?

Interested in pursuing a career in engineering? Click here to see all the latest roles we're hiring for at Student Beans.