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Neil Horton and Kin + Carta Create Team

Meet Neil, a lead iOS engineer here at Kin + Carta Create

Neil started back in January 2016 as a software engineer, and has since worked on various client projects across a number of different industries.

What was your life before Kin + Carta Create?

Before Kin + Carta Create I studied Physics at University. I moved into iOS as I came across a Grad Scheme for British Airways and the job description covered all aspects of IT so it felt like a great opportunity to try different routes. BA had just introduced iPads into the cock-pit and as a long-standing Apple fanboy, this is when I first started developing applications for iOS. After leaving BA, I worked as an iOS developer for a start-up within a much larger organisation. It was exciting and we released one of the first Swift apps which was a big milestone. During this time, I was also attending a lot of meet-ups around London and was the organiser of one of the largest iOS meet-ups in London. There I kept on coming across people from Kin + Carta Create formerly known as The App Business and hearing about their experiences and felt like I had found where I needed to be.

What Community of Practice (CoP) are you part of and what does your team do?

I am mostly part of the iOS CoP. However due to the expansion of our capabilities and knowledge sharing, like a lot of people within the company, I now work across multiple CoPs. The iOS CoP specialise in all things Apple. In a nutshell, we are experts in Apple platforms; iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple TV and Mac.


Does your CoP do anything differently from other engineering roles you've had? Is it unique at all in the way Engineering is done? 

Engineering here is definitely unique compared to previous places I’ve worked, but so is the business as a whole. We have adopted a flat hierarchy model which encourages knowledge sharing and increases opportunity within every role. This is part of the reason why it is a great place to be an engineer, specifically if you are ambitious and enjoy evolving design paradigm, new architecture and ways of working. Information sharing and peer-to-peer support are central to the culture of our CoP and the company as a whole.


Why do you love working at Kin + Carta Create?

I love working here because of the strong emphasis placed on community and learning. Everyone at Kin + Carta Create loves teaching and learning from each other, regardless of their seniority. The company as a whole has fostered a knowledge sharing culture which encourages this in a truly cross-functional way. Our team come from a diverse range of backgrounds from graduates to train ticket guards and lawyers. This means that there are loads of opportunities to learn from people at different stages of their career.


What is your favourite thing about Kin + Carta Create life?

When I started working here it was like a cultural whiplash. It was incredibly different to other companies that I had worked out and heard about, especially the office environment where everyone was so supportive and truly works within a flat organisational structure. The company as a whole really cares about creating moments and opportunities for human connection and it’s the small touches which make the biggest difference. Like Thursday Teatime or Friday’s Wrap-up where everyone gets together to socialise and reflect on individual, team and business-wide achievements.


Tell us about something you are really proud of at your time at Kin + Carta Create?

As corny as it sounds, I’m proud of the iOS team every day. Completely unbiasedly obviously, I believe we are the strongest iOS team in London. We share knowledge and are constantly evolving the craft which is crucial in technology and has meant that our outputs are a lot higher. From a project perspective, I’m proud of the work we did for TfL’s Dial-a-ride service. Dial-a-ride services customers all over London and is a bookable door-to-door minibus service for disabled and older people who have difficulties accessing public transport. We got to work with a team of people who truly cared about delivering a great service that would help make people’s lives a lot easier. That's our company mission - to create products that make the world work better. That project stood out as it had a huge social impact and really aligned with our company values.


What excites you most about working in tech?

Working predominantly as an iOS engineer, my role enables me to strike a nice balance between logical problem solving and creativity. I work on both algorithms and beautiful animations. My role and the technology industry as a whole has one job; to solve problems and quickly implement them to be more efficient. As technology continues to evolve so rapidly, it means every day you get to solve a problem you’ve never faced before.


Any career advice for people looking to join engineering at Kin + Carta Create?

The best career advice I have for people looking to join is to not look for comfort. Always ask more of yourself and focus on what’s next and exactly what you want to learn and where you can improve. Concentrate on becoming a great engineer and keep that as your primary focus. Patterns and fads come and go, but a strong foundation, principles and a primary focus stays throughout your career. There are so many different resources from advice from other engineers, meet-ups, training courses and conferences. Whichever forum you choose, having the ability to learn is far more valuable than having a certain piece of knowledge.


Finally, can you describe Kin + Carta Create in 5 words?

Fun, Supportive, Evolving, Innovative and Responsive.