Monzo Staff Weekly Q&A - Edward Woollard (Android Engineer - Savings Squad) 💵

Note : All Monzo Q&As to date can be found here :grinning:


Hey forum family :slight_smile:

I think the New Year hangover is starting to clear… And we’re looking ahead to a brilliant 2019.
This time of year is perfect to set your yearly goals and figure out what you really want to achieve in the next 12 months. And that’s exactly what we’re doing here at Monzo!

One thing that you may or may not know about our Product development is that we’re split into different squads depending on the overall goals. One of those squads is the Savings Squad, and our guest this week can tell you all about it!


If you haven’t already, please be sure to read all previous Q&As :grinning:

This week in the Hot Coral Hot Seat™️, I’d like to welcome Edward Woollard, Android Engineer in our Savings Squad!



Let’s find out a bit more about this week’s guest.

Edward joined us in August 2018 as an Android Engineer.

Since he’s in the Savings Squad, he’s currently working on :

Allowing users to save/invest their money and also generally improving the land of Pots!

Fun Fact About Edward!

I once named and designed a Subway sandwich that was sold in two local stores for a few weeks.

His favourite thing about working here?

Working on an app that’s truly changing how people manage their money and being trusted to make vital changes to it frequently.

Alright folks, you know what to do!

Get your questions in and Edward will be here later this week to answer them :grinning:


How do make an elephant rusty?


I heard you love what we do to the app in the #android slack channel :wink:

If you could add anything to the app right now, what would you add?

Favourite android app?


Should we enable access to our app in the Play Store on Chrome OS, and what would be the main blocker (if any)?


In light of Kieran’s comment above, has it ever crossed your mind to add an Easter egg to make @nexusmaniac go nuts? :wink:


<string name=”hi_marcus_menu_item”></string> :see_no_evil:


What if there’s already an Easter egg that I’ve not found yet… :eyes:

Goes hunting :male_detective::joy:


Interrogation Question time :joy:

What have you found most interesting during your time in the Savings Squad? :grin:

Are you currently working on new integrations in the Savings Squad? :eyes: (if it’s not under NDA :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)

Do you eye up any other banking apps and think “huh, that’s a cool feature :sunglasses:”? :smiley:

And finally - what, if anything, would you most like to change in the Monzo app? :slight_smile:


What feature do you feel has had the biggest impact on your own use with the app?

What do you feel is the area that needs the most improvement?

How often does the vast portfolio of Android devices cause headaches with testing and deployment of new features?

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This may have been covered in the past but is the Android app primarily Java, or are you using Kotlin?

Thanks for the questions all, Edward will be here to answer them tomorrow so get them in while you can :grinning:

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Obligatory pots question:

Do you have any more concrete plans on paying for direct debits from pots (ring-fencing bills)?

I was talking to @simon about this and an idea I had was to allow selection of a target pot from the “recurring payments” view, plus a “recurring payments” tab on the pot itself.

Also, how did you get into Android development? I’m always curious of peoples’ routes into app development.


What’s the biggest improvement you’d like to see to pots? (Could be something that is or isn’t currently being worked on)

I’m told that if you leave them out too long in the rain and don’t oil their trunk. :joy:


I honestly can’t think of a reason why we wouldn’t. I believe it’s quite a nice offering to also be able to manage your money from your Chromebook! :sparkles:

We have discussed it in the past as a team and it’s certainly something that we want to offer. Right now it just hasn’t had time given to it as we know we can make much more impact focusing our time on mobile phones.

Since I haven’t actually investigated this personally, I’m not actually sure of the main blocker, although I know we’d definitely have to spend some time making the experience a better one since we’d be dealing with completely different screen sizes/ratios. I’m afraid of seeing what that would look like! :scream: Maybe this can be something for a Monzo Time project soon, especially since Chromebook usage in general is constantly growing. :arrow_up::chart_with_upwards_trend::raised_hands:


The app is sitting at currently about 96% Kotlin and it’s been a gradual effort over the past year or so. :man_technologist:

We’ve decided to take an approach of converting Java files to Kotlin once we have to touch them to complete a feature. :stuck_out_tongue: This means it doesn’t become an extremely tedious task, but we will eventually end up with an 100% Kotlin conversion.


If I may sneak a quick question in…

What’s the best (and worst) thing about developing in kotlin after using java for so long?

Did it take some convincing to get the whole team to agree on kotlin?

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I certainly do! I really value the #android Slack channel and all the feedback that you all give. It’s really helpful on a daily basis and it’s lovely to see a direct response to features we’ve shipped. This certainly puts a smile on my face! At the end of the day, we do it all for the users and to make money work for everyone. :sunglasses::blush:

Maybe I’d redesign the Account tab to ensure that each of my Pots doesn’t take up my whole screen. :wink: Naa but seriously, I think I’d have to go with Account Aggregation; being able to show users all the money they have across any other bank accounts is a lovely idea with Open Banking. This would really help with boosting Monzo’s offering and allow you to manage your money better. Considering that not everyone is #FullMonzo, I think this would make a big impact and we’re all about big impact! :boom:

Favourite Android app…that’s always a tough question for me! I use so many and there really are loads of great apps these days. I’d probably have to point you at some core Google apps though; I think they’re often taken for granted but they’re pretty darn magical. Google Photos and Maps have to be two of my favourite apps. The idea that I can launch an app and instantly map a route to anywhere in the world (business listings and places included) is a pretty crazy offering. Similarly with Photos, it’s lovely to have a historical timeline of my whole life accessible from any device I log in to. Also being able to search keywords or locations and see every photo of that thing/person in a matter of a couple of seconds would have blown my mind a few years back. :exploding_head:


I can definitely say I’ve considered it. But what’s to say we haven’t already and he just hasn’t found it yet? :smirk: Maybe he will one day. :eyes:


No worries, not a problem at all! These may be the obvious answers, but the best thing has to be how concisely you can write Kotlin. In some cases, the comparison is quite ridiculous, 10 lines down to 1 or 2. Luckily here we’re not measured in lines of code produced (and I hope nobody is! :scream:) , otherwise I think switching to Kotlin would have put us all out of a job! :joy: The worst thing was undoubtedly just starting with Kotlin. Having known Java and using it pretty much daily since 2010, switching to a language you’ve never used before is definitely not going to be a nice experience initially. You have to accept that for a long while you’ll struggle through the learning curve and lose all the prior knowledge/confidence you used to have. I can definitely say I’m glad to have bitten the bullet now. :gun: :grimacing:

Every week at Monzo, we as the Android team have an ‘Android Chat’ where we discuss future improvements to the codebase and new conventions. We’re trusted as a smaller team to decide how to take the app forward and don’t have to get sign off on decisions like this. Although it was before my time when the switch was first decided upon, I can almost certainly guarantee that everyone in the chat was jumping up and down with excitement about the switch and nobody would have said no to this. This is a lucky position to be in as I know it can often be hard to convince stakeholders at other companies that Kotlin should be the way to proceed. It’ll involve lots of discussions where you have to state that for a couple of months the team won’t be making any perceivable forward momentum but it’s better for the long term. :woman_shrugging: