TrueTalk with Ethan Brierley

Meet Ethan – Rust programmer, bug photographer and engineer at TrueLayer.

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Tell us about your role

I’m an Associate Engineer in one of our core banking teams. My team and I look after the merchant account feature in our Payments product. We work to maintain the technical details of our services, responding quickly to requests, while keeping track of all the money flowing through our systems.

What brought you to TrueLayer? 

I learnt the Rust programming language aged 15. A year later, I found a London-based meetup for others learning Rust, which meets at TrueLayer’s office.I got to know TrueLayeristas there and also bumped into them at other tech events like Silicon Milk Roundabout.Two years later, a job came up and I went for it. Throughout the interview process, I got a real sense of the people and company, so when I started receiving offers, it was a no brainer for me to choose TrueLayer.

Tell us about your career journey

When I first started here, I was given the space and support to get settled – there wasn’t any pressure to get productive straight away. This was my first job so I had to learn fast, and often in ways I hadn’t expected. I quickly built my knowledge of open banking and fintech. It was intense, but enlightening and fun! The supportive environment meant I could quickly get up to speed and I soon felt like a valuable member of the team.It’s hard to overstate how much I’ve learned and developed in the last year.

What’s a typical day at TrueLayer for you?

I start by updating my team on what I’m working on. We keep a close view of each other’s activities in case there are ways we can help. Then, I’ll pick up one or two tasks and start working on how to progress the development of a feature or service. We often break for meetings or brainstorming sessions.

What would you say to someone considering joining TrueLayer?

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Ask as many questions as you can! TrueLayer colleagues are very honest and appreciate honesty from their interviewees, so don’t hold back.TrueLayer’s a great place for people looking to start their professional journey – one of the few companies that provides quality support to junior engineers, while enabling you to feel creative and have an impact on the business.

What are you most excited about in the next year?

The challenges of scaling up our services. Improving performance and solving scale-related issues is a fun challenge. I’m also excited to take on more responsibility as I grow as an engineer.

What keeps you motivated?

Learning and growth – and when I’m helping others to get better at what they do. That’s why I host the quarterly Rust London code dojos, where I teach Rust programming: if you’re interested in learning, it’s a great excuse to visit our office.

When you’re not at work, where are you?

One of my main hobbies is finding, identifying and photographing British bugs, so you might find me on the South Downs photographing an insect or arachnid.
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Words to live by?

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – Gandalf

Any books, podcasts or films you’d recommend?

One of the most influential books for me was The Rust Programming Language by Carol Nichols and Steve Klabnik.I’d also recommend Zero To Production In Rust by Luca Palmieri, a friend and former colleague. Both the book and its author have had a huge influence on how we write Rust at TrueLayer.
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