Engineering the future of banking. Coding my way through Hacker In Her!
Why be plain vanilla when you can be mint chocolate chip? Instead of being huddled over the computer and working in silos, she loves exploring diverse facets of data, banking, AI and technology. The hacker in Anshu Singh went above and beyond to prove that coding is not a boring desk job and is more than just man's bastion. "The Hacker in her", a half a day hackathon brought together women changemakers to code, design and construct digital solutions that could potentially transform the face of banking. This year, the day started with seventy amazing contenders who were finally whittled down to 27 emerging stars. Here, we got a chance to have a tete-a-tete with Anshu Singh, one of the programmers!
What inspired you to participate in the Hackathon?
25k start-ups at DBS. A chance to be the 25001 startup. Clearly an easy choice!
The DBS hackathon presented a great opportunity to work, to think and to innovate like a start up without bootstrapping. DBS is leveraging technology to shape the face of banking and I just jumped at a chance to contribute my two-bits to that change. It was all the more inspiring as it gave me an opportunity to interact with other passionate women developers from across the country. Another major draw for me was the cutting edge office space, which really was like nothing I had ever seen before.
The thought leadership and vision which the bank holds about leading the digital journey was one of the major reasons I wanted to participate in this hackathon.
Challenges and takeaways from the Hackathon?
Run before you walk. Code on the go.
The environment at the hackathon was fraught with high energy. Having just four hours to understand a problem, come up with a viable solution and then merge the code, helped me tap into my hidden talents. We had to come together as a team and create an app for a customer which would make both choosing and paying for a post-paid plan a seamless experience. The biggest challenge was the paucity of time, which made us appreciate every millisecond at our disposal. What stood out for me was a perfect collaboration and insightful demos.
It was also great to hear from the DBS leadership and understand how the bank is shaping thought leaders and young innovators. Fortunately, for me the takeaway was much beyond the above, as I bagged an opportunity to work here. I am building a great career with the opportunities which are coming my way. It is encouraging to work on the best technologies and at one of the coolest offices in Hyderabad!
Is there a culture of innovation at work?
Loop: Innovate, facilitate, create
Condition: Make banking joyful
There is no button for innovation. You can't just switch it on or off. You go against the grain and see a space that others cannot. The Wright Brothers, Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, Henry Ford and many others unleashed the "crazy" in them to reimagine the world. DBS is on a mission to reimagine banking. Here, innovation resides in every nook and cranny. You just have to keep your eyes and mind open. No cookie cutter solutions for us.
DBS has an environment that encourages the thinkers and rewards those who dare to reinvent the wheel. Stuck with a problem that is keeping you away from the eureka moment? Attend "Imaginarium" and get upclose and personal with industry leaders. This gave me an opportunity to learn from their experience and hone my skills.
So what is it that we do here? We are out to engineer the future of banking by leveraging upon modern technologies and platforms. I am glad to be working and thinking more like a product company with more importance on automation & devOps. I am constantly breaking the mould with experiments around digital and banking.
In a short span of time, I have expanded my skillset by attending workshops like the "Makers Workshop" on IoT to build next gen banking solutions. I can park great ideas in the "Digital Garage" or use AI to create engaging Bots.
It doesn't matter if I fail. DBS gives me a chance to experiment & learn. We have platforms like the CIO challenge through which we got a chance to submit a disruptive idea. The best ideas were rewarded & mentored.
What does a day on the job look like?
Moonshots in our galaxy!
The vibe in my office is all about ideation and creation.
I can Eavesdrop on a passionate techie conversation near the Hummer coffee shop or connect with my thoughts on one of the many bubble couches. I am free to wander and explore. This kind of agility is invaluable to someone who is out to hone her skills and reimagine banking. Each day is different. There are new problems to tackle and more solutions to create. One day you will find me working on Artificial Intelligence at the Think Garden and the next contemplating over React JS as I shoot hoops.
There is also constant engagement with subordinates and senior management which makes me feel confident about asking questions and sharing my thoughts. For the first time, even as a techie, I feel comfortable working in a bank that is as innovative as any of the Silicon Valley start-ups.
Do you think it is a good place for women in tech?
More Wonderwoman than Superman
When it comes to "Women in Tech" DBS certainly walks the talk. There is no skew and people are recognised by talent and expertise and not by gender. I think it is a great place to build my career because it is an equal opportunity employer. I can take inspiration from within the organization as several leadership positions in tech are occupied by women. A rarity for sure!
Do you find that DBS has a rewarding culture?
The proof is in the pudding
Here, I am constantly encouraged to explore ideas and challenge my innovative and creative boundaries. ITQ ie "I thank you" is a unique peer reward system that is practiced at DBS. Each employee is given a bank of 2000 points which they can award to their colleagues as an acknowledgement and appreciation for their work. There are many employee benefits in place like any day family day or birthday leave, which helps me maintain a good work-life balance. I can choose to benefit from continuous education policy or take up professional development programs to build a sharper, future ready me.
DBS has given me an opportunity to grow emotionally, intellectually, socially and economically. So it is pretty much rewarding in every aspect.