Navigating 30+ years in tech

26 February 2024

“Eh, damn bloody hard work, are you very sure? And so competitive!”

I blurted out, meeting the wide, fresh eyes of my eighteen-year-old daughter, who’d just told me that she’d like to pursue Computing as her field of study in university.

The irony wasn’t lost on me. After all, I spent the last 30 years working in tech, and despite the challenges – it’s a job that I’ve found fulfilling in various ways.

I entered the tech industry in 1992. My first job was in production and operations support, ensuring that critical applications and systems ran smoothly in a trading room. The atmosphere in that room was intense - I remember how a trader threw a phone across the room when he failed to secure his trade.

Troubleshooting a problem is like solving a puzzle, it’s immensely satisfying to figure out a solution, and that keeps me going after decades in this field of work.

(It’s also been good training for bringing up my three teenagers at home now, where trying to get answers from them is like solving a riddle!)

I’ve worked at other technology teams for various financial institutions before joining DBS - I’m now in my 5th year!

Over the years, we’ve digitalised many of our processes and operations, and we continue to do so – to give a few examples, automating manual processes involving cards, loans, cash, trades, and CASA (current and savings accounts). We also look at implementing Chatbots and using Generative AI to provide alternate services for customers.

Today, I’m involved in many workstreams that collectively aim to bolster the bank’s resiliency. A big part of my role involves streamlining and strengthening our change management processes. I also develop frameworks for multiple teams to follow to ensure that we’re able to deliver seamlessly and on time, as well as troubleshoot any roadblocks that arise along the way.

That’s actually the way I run my household as well – as my kids grew up, I implemented various "SOPs" like putting their dirty laundry in a designated area, which they thankfully still follow to this day.

I’ve been told by my younger colleagues that working in operations and production support can come across as “unglamorous”, or like “working in a factory”. When most people think of tech these days, they think of coders and developers.

But I believe that working in this field gives a wider view of the entire software development life cycle, and how you can develop software with easier maintenance, monitoring and safety measures in place. I also love watching how my work can directly impact people’s lives.

I’m thankful that I have a supportive family. My parents stepped in to take care of our children when both my husband and I were busy with our careers (he worked in business development and travelled often for work) – until he made the switch to a more flexible role.

Whether or not my daughter ends up with a career in tech, I'm really happy she sees the purpose in my work and wants to follow in my footsteps."

- Alvean Lee, Technology & Operations