What’s it like to work in technology at RBS?

Added: 17th September 2018 by RBS

Business, work and our lives are changing rapidly, and the biggest driver of that change is advancing technology. Life here at RBS is no different, and a major focus on how we can use emerging technologies to make things easier for our customers has led to a number of UK market firsts, including Apple Pay and Cora, our AI based chat bot.

A strategy based on innovation means that technology skills are much in demand, so I wanted to find out what it’s like to work in technology with us. I was lucky to have the chance to speak to recent joiner Yamuna Radhakrishnan about her role, her first impressions, and her take on what the future holds.

Can you tell me a little about your role?

Sure, I’m a Technical Specialist Analyst in mortgages, working on a migration project. We’re extracting mortgage data from the old mainframe database, and building a new application with React, Java and Cloud Foundry to support the new database. I’m working with Informatica which is an ETL – or extraction, transformation and loading tool – and working with agile for the first time, using JIRA and Confluence for collaboration and GIT for version control.

I’ve always had an interest in data because I find that analysing and getting to know it’s a great way to learn more about the application or the domain. The data is the core of everything. That’s what drew me in initially, and I soon began to see how interesting the different types of data were. For instance, I started my career by working with employee databases, and now I’m in banking, it’s very different and interesting to learn how all our data is captured and stored.

So what made you apply?

Before I joined I’d been on a career break, and I was looking for an opportunity where I could continue working with databases and go back to working with Informatica, which I was very comfortable using.

When I saw the Comeback Programme at RBS I thought it would be a chance to take some time to settle myself back into work after the career break, which is why I applied.

I hadn’t worked in the UK before, and I was new to banking – but the thing I knew was the technology. The domain, the work environment, the culture and working in agile were all completely new. But the team and my line manager were all very kind and friendly. They helped me with everything I needed, and when I was stuck they helped me come up with solutions.

And how have you found the work so far?

Working in agile is different from how I’ve worked before. Everyone works together in a very collaborative way, there’s a good sense of teamwork, and development and testing goes hand in hand with everything else. With waterfall the development goes through shorter periods of time then stops, but it’s not like that now. When I see that the collaboration and teamwork we have it proves that agile is the right way to work.

I’ve been impressed with the technologies we’re using too. The front end tech and the UI are all the latest versions, and at my end we’re using the most up-to-date version of Informatica.

There are so many opportunities to work with different technologies here, and lots of learning and development to build people’s capability

Flexible working has been really important to me as well. As a mum of a three year old kid, I need the ability to work flexibly to have a good work life balance. I’m able to achieve that 100% in working here. I work from home two days a week, and I feel like I can manage my work and personal life very well.

So would you recommend RBS as a tech employer?

Definitely, I think RBS is a good place to work for technology professionals. We’re using all the latest technologies and I’ve been given the opportunity try new things as well, like a new automation tool. There are so many opportunities to work with different technologies here, and lots of learning and development to build people’s capability. There are many things to be involved in, and it’s a great place to work.

If you compare working here with a traditional tech employer, you can learn more about the domain. For example, when I joined I didn’t know anything about the mortgages domain, but I’ve had the chance to learn about it and how it works. I don’t think I’d get that domain specific knowledge at a big tech employer.

There are lots of technologies which can really change the financial industry, like blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, which is something we’re already using. The finance world is quickly changing now you have the FinTechs, where finance and technology come together. The industry is adapting, so it’s a great time to be a technology professional in the financial industry.

Do you see any challenges in using technology that you think are unique to banks?

I think for the big banks their age can provide a challenge. For example, with my project we’re migrating from legacy systems to new systems, which can be complicated. I’m not sure that’s unique to banking, but it’s definitely different to working in a start-up.

From what I’ve seen, I think we’re going in a very good direction. The customer is number one, and everyone is talking about the latest trends, and how we can use them to make things as easy as we can for customers. Customers should find it simple, intuitive and enjoyable to bank with us, and that’s what everyone here is trying to achieve.