InsideArachnys – Q&A with Angela Razzell, Software Engineer
Welcome to InsideArachnys, a series of interviews where we speak to the people behind the Arachnys platform. This month, we caught up with Angela Razzell, one of our Software Engineers in London.
Hi Angela, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and explain your role at Arachnys?
I am a backend software engineer working on Arachnys applications, so far I have mostly been working on the AML Investigations / EDD side but I have just started learning more about KYC/onboarding. I have a data background so I was impressed with how many data sources Arachnys integrates with.
I enjoy taking part in the yoga and pilates classes held in the office. Outside of work I like running and walking – I once walked around the perimeter of Manhattan in one day – but I prefer hiking in nature.
You’ve worked in the financial services space before, as a software engineer. What motivated you towards working for a tech startup?
My last role was as a Data Engineer / Software Engineer at Capital One and before that I was working at the NHS – the largest employer in Europe! The idea of working at a startup intrigued me and I am motivated by working on software with a meaningful product impact. Therefore working on products to automate processes and improve our users’ accuracy and efficiency in the AML space was appealing to me.
What are you working on right now and what languages/technology are involved?
I am currently working on upgrading the current authentication of our Django applications to use AWS Cognito. I enjoy being hands on with Amazon Web Services and I have learned more about authentication protocols such as OpenID and SAML. I find it rewarding to tackle something outside of my usual expertise.
You completed a Masters in Engineering Mathematics. Do you find yourself applying that knowledge in your everyday work?
Some aspects of my degree I use all the time in my role, eg. Object Oriented Programming and subjects such as Discrete Mathematics have become clearer to me after putting the theory into practice in a tech job. Areas such as AI are so fast moving that I need to keep up to date with tech news and blogs to keep up with the latest advances.
What advice would you give to software engineers based on what you’ve learned so far in your career?
Don’t be afraid to volunteer to present your work or write a blog, especially on a topic that you think will help the community. It will force you to learn even more about the subject even if you are immersed in it regularly.
And finally, who do you look to for inspiration? Can you recommend any great books/people to follow/TEDtalks/podcasts?
I recently watched Hidden Figures and I am very inspired by the characters, especially Dorothy Vaughan. Realising her skills would be made obsolete by computers, she showed the tenacity to teach herself and her staff programming.
I admire blondiebytes (Kathryn Hodge), her passion for coding and knowledge sharing is infectious. She has a lot of tutorials (suitable for beginners) in a variety of languages on YouTube, HackerRank and Medium.
The Phoenix Project is a page-turner that teaches you about DevOps (it’s written in the form of a novel about an at risk IT project). O’Reilly textbooks are great, especially the ones that bring out the author’s sense of humour e.g. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Python which I refer back to a lot. Finally, my favourite podcast is ‘Talk Python to Me’.