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From academia, to bunq, to Berlin...and back to bunq

December 3, 2020

I’m Jesper, and I lead a team of starting developers here at bunq. Most of them are fresh out of school and I get to see them grow as coders and as human beings! That must be the most exciting part of my job, and really an honour. To have them graduate (for lack of a better word) to the core backend team, and have them review my code is a satisfying experience. What more can you wish for than to see the student become the master?!

Now, my history with bunq is a bit special ✨

This is actually my second time around here! In a previous life, I was a university researcher. I barely remember it, but it definitely happened. When I decided academia wasn’t for me and started looking for a new career path, I stumbled upon one of the weirdest job openings I have ever seen: neither the company was named, nor what the job entailed.

So I applied - obviously 🤷

Little did I know that in a few years and after some detours I’d be part of this wonderful family, leading some of the most talented people I’ve ever gotten to know.

The early days were incredibly exciting 🙌

From day 1, I had to dive straight in. After all, we were building the infrastructure for a bank from scratch. Oh, and it was all a secret. That aspect was really funny, because I couldn’t tell any of my friends or family members what I was working on. Naturally, the wildest rumours started to spread and I have dozens of funny stories from that time.

And you know what? You still dive straight in today when you start at bunq, even though we've come far from step 1. We know there's so much more to do.

Building this whole machine was awesome❤️

It’s especially amazing when years later, you find code you wrote yourself and it’s still running and doing its thing. How cool is that?!

I took a break from bunq because I really wanted to live and work abroad for a while... 🇩🇪

During a visit to Berlin, I fell in love with the place and decided I wanted to spend some time there. Packed everything, and off I went! The initial plan was to go for half a year, which quickly turned into four. Time flies when you’re having fun, eh? It’s an experience I wouldn’t have missed for the world: I worked with some amazing people, made some of my best friends, and even managed to learn some German along the way.

When I returned to the Netherlands, I got offered the opportunity to work at bunq again 🌈

To me, this was a no-brainer. I immediately took it, because the pace at which stuff happens here was something I hadn’t found anywhere else and I truly missed it.

At bunq we go fast. Really fast 🚀

Coders have their first bug fixes (yeah, yeah, bugs happen now and then) within a week of starting. After week two, their first real feature is live. Compared to academia, the pace here is insane: I’ve had papers that took half a year to get back from peer review!

Speaking of which - let’s talk about job satisfaction 🙏

As interesting as applying the mathematics of knot theory to quantum field theories may sound, it’s not really changing the lives of fellow humans. My most cited paper - and I actually checked the numbers - was cited 92 times. Sigh.

At bunq, I feel like I make a difference every week that makes life easy for countless people! 😃

I go to work with a smile on my face. I really do. The energy radiated by this driven, crazy family of bunqers is fantastic. To me, that’s the most important thing in the world.

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