Area of work:
MEng Software Engineering, University of Sheffield
I was born in Africa but did my schooling in India and then came to the UK for university. After I did my Masters, I worked for an IT consultancy called Genesis Solutions in the research department at Sheffield University for about a year.
I was interested in banking - attracted by the dynamism and the proactiveness of the systems that you work with, and the way that they are constantly evolving. When choosing BNP Paribas I considered several factors, especially the current economic climate, and opted for this because it is a risk-calculated bank. I also liked the fact that graduates go directly into a team and work on systems straight away.
My role to date has been as a support analyst, supporting a system called Focus, which is the transaction processing system - the deal capture software - for credit derivatives. I've been in a pretty big team of about 20 people.
My day-to-day work is application support, so I'll be dealing with users, finding out why things aren't working as they should, running programs and so on. There are certain things you can't do all in one go - the front office can't do it so we have to do it in the background. In the process you get to learn about all the software. At the same time, you interact with users, and you're always learning something new as you go along. I answer phones, monitor the system, investigate problems and make sure everything is working effectively. I've had the opportunity to work on things which are business critical and I've been given the freedom to try things out, which is something I've loved.
I am now working in RAD - Rapid Applications Development, where BNP Paribas develops new applications quickly to meet specific needs. Unlike a normal application development process, the requirement is quick, so we develop an application on the fly, rather than following a rigid set of procedures.
I've been on courses for Oracle and for FPML, a banking protocoland C#. I think how you develop in the bank depends on your team and your interests. I was given an option to go into RAD and it appealed to me because of the random element - you don't just sit and develop something in a procedural way, so there's room for creativity and initiative.
The people here are very approachable, which has helped me, especially in terms of learning new things. I didn't know what to expect at first but joining the support team was one of the best decisions I've made - I have learned a great deal about the technical processes and systems in the course of my daily work and the culture has helped with that, as I've picked up a lot from my colleagues in the team. The social aspects are also quite good.
In the support team you are in touch with people constantly, so you make valuable connections, which is good for your career in the long run. I think I'd be really interested in moving into a business analyst role eventually and all the things I'm doing now will help me move in that direction.