Ibtehaj Nadeem

Job title: Software Engineer
Office location: Croxley

Ibtehaj Nadeem is a former Cambridge student, graduating with a BA in Computer Science in 2015.

From completing an internship with StarLeaf in 2014 to progressing into a graduate software engineer role in 2015, Ibtehaj shares his experiences of working with StarLeaf so far

I began my studies in 2012 at Churchill College, Cambridge to read Computer Science with the Physics option. As an A-Level student, I had already discovered the joys of understanding problems abstractly and solving them algorithmically. But, leaving the automation of mundane tasks aside, what really motivated me to study Computer Science at university was the question of how computers can understand and execute code that humans enter essentially as free-form text. The Computer Science Tripos at Cambridge enabled me to develop a thorough understanding of this and other areas of the subject. I was able to put my skills to work when, for my final year dissertation project, I wrote a compiler that could translate the functional language Standard ML to Java Virtual Machine instructions.

I completed an internship with StarLeaf in my penultimate year of university and, after my ten-week placement, I was offered a full-time graduate position for the following year. I work on writing code that assembles some of our major customer-facing features on StarLeaf app. My first project back in 2015 was to work on our recording feature, Encore, which I took over at demo stage from one of our interns. I now work on platform infrastructure, particularly within our messaging solution. In my day to day, I design, build, and test new features. Implementing new features can be a challenge but is always immensely rewarding. It feels like I am learning something new every day.

I particularly love that there are regular new concepts and a rapid release cycle on our products. Seeing the positive impact of my work once products or new features are released to our customers is very gratifying. We hold a kick off event annually in the new year period to celebrate the previous year and exciting times ahead. For me, I love the fact that it is held in Cambridge at one of the university colleges as returning to Cambridge where I studied brings back great memories.

StarLeaf has a very unique work environment that encourages collaboration in designing our solutions. Every member of the relevant team contributes towards the discussion throughout the design process, ensuring that we come up with an architecture that will scale well as part of our growing platform. Whilst engineers collaborate at the design stage, they are given the freedom to individually work on developing and delivering a feature or a tool that is directly applicable to our business in the production stage. This interplay of collaboration and individualism is what really makes working with the StarLeaf R&D team a special experience. Every graduate is well looked after and mentored from day one. I was able to seek advice and have any questions answered in my early days at StarLeaf and having that open environment means we can all learn from one another. I am now able to support projects that our new graduates work on and share my experiences of what has been a successful journey here so far.