Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazer: Gillian Bond

  • Software Developer, Danske Bank

    I graduated from Ulster University at Magee in 2017 with a BSc. (Hons) Computer Science with First Class Honours and a Diploma in Professional Practice with Commendation. I completed my placement year at Citi and continued to work for Citi for four years as a Developer after I graduated. I then moved to Aqua Q Analytics to work as a Java Developer and Line Manager before joining Danske Bank in November 2022 as Software Developer.

    What does your typical day look like?

    In the morning I attend my team's daily stand up, although I don't think we've ever actually stood up! This gives us a chance to get together to discuss what we are currently working on, if we're facing any challenges and what pieces of work may be coming up. My team is in high demand at the moment so it's always interesting to hear about the projects others are working on.

    Depending on what stage of development I'm on, my day varies. If planning is still ongoing or some further investigation is needed, I spend some time on that, otherwise most of my day is spent programming or testing, which I enjoy. if I have business or technical related questions, I spend a few minutes here and there with other team members.

    What are you currently working on?

    At a high level, my team develops APIs which can be used to communicate with various applications within the bank, getting or submitting data where necessary.

    Currently I'm working on one of our larger, more complex APIs which involves temporarily storing data. We follow a spec first approach to API design, which works well as feedback can be gathered early and it's clear what is required for development.

    What inspired you to join this company in particular?

    I think you can get a sense of the company culture during an interview with a panel. I felt like they cared about the quality of what they wanted to build, made sure I had the right skills for to job, listened to my needs and I felt respected. I'm glad to say my first impressions haven't been wrong. -

    Did you always want to work in this industry?

    No, I was good at Maths and Science but enjoyed more practical subjects like Home Economics and Technology, so when it came to choosing A Levels, I wasn't sure what to do. One of my teachers told me about STEM, and the technology side sounded interesting.

    It turned out I didn't need to study Maths or Science at A Level to do a degree in this area, so I went on to study Applied ICT, Travel and Tourism, Health and Social Care and Business Studies. In my first year of university, I caught the bug for coding and problem solving and never looked back.

    What’s your favourite part about your work?

    Knowing that I contribute to applications that people in the real world may use in the future which may make a banking task easier for them but also have a positive effect for the bank.

    What would you say to other people considering a job in this industry?

    If you like problem solving, being challenged, continually learning, working with others and have an interest in technology then go for it.

    If you’re interested in becoming a developer, try learning a language such a Python to check if you enjoy it. There are so many different avenues into a job in technology including your typical degree, conversion masters and post grads, apprenticeships, foundation degrees and you can start with a diploma at college if A Levels aren't for you.

    How do you see this technology impacting on our lives?

    I think it will continue to make our lives easier, but we need to be careful at the speed pieces of technology are rolled out to the user, making sure it is properly regulated and the people who are unable to access technology still receive the same standard of service.

    Who inspired you to work in this field?

    My teacher who informed me about a career in STEM when I felt lost about my future after GCSEs, she believed that I could be capable of it which gave me confidence in my decision. More recently I’m inspired by seeing women in senior technical roles, it encourages me to keep going.

    What do you consider to be the most important tech innovation or development in recent years?

    Artificial Intelligence, because of its predication capabilities in general which can be used for an array of decision-making use cases.

    While AI is a popular topic, it has been around for quite some time, 1950 to be exact. Now that we live in an age where we have the data to process from sources like IoT devices, AI models can be trained and utilised, although the margin of error from AI will need to be factored in for any potential users.

    What tech gadget could you not live without?

    My Fitbit - I'm always forgetting where I've left my phone so the 'Find Phone' app on my Fitbit and use it as my watch to track steps and for time rest between sets at the gym too.

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