Working in Information Technology
|Technology has revolutionised the personal banking experience.|
Source: Target IT 2006, GTI Publishing
Author: Sheela Banham, Programme Manager, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group
Retail Banking organisations provide customers with a full range of banking and financial services to meet their needs, including current accounts, mortgages and insurance. These organisations reach customers (both business and the small business market ) through multiple channels including branch networks, 24/7 telephone baking, over the Internet and via automated teller machines (ATMs). Key players in this sector include high street banks, building societies and insurance companies. IT is essential to business for all of these.
Technology falls broadly into three main areas:
All institutions are continually upgrading their anti-fraud measures and recently you will have seen the introduction of 'chip & pin' credit and debit cards, where a PIN ( personal identification number) replaces a signature when a purchase is made, which provides much more security. Equally there are significant new legislative mandates affecting the sector, such as the Disability Discrimination Act and Consumer Credit Act that mean changes to IT systems. New products offering wider choice to customers are continuously developed - the offset mortgage has recently been introduced which allows customers to offset the debtor and creditor balances across a number of products for interest calculation.
Many roles within IT require strong analytical and problem solving skills, so a computing or mathematical degree could provide an edge, but is not essential. Graduates from a wide range of disciplines are employed and they all receive training appropriate to their starting role. Nearly all IT projects involve teamwork, so the ability to collaborate with colleagues both in your own team and across multiple teams to achieve common goals is essential.
Continuous improvement is actively encouraged and so too is the desire to change the status quo. Clear and concise communication skills are a big advantage for both regular and day-to-day business interactions within It or other business areas, and for creating the expected project life cycle documents to a high standard.
Graduates are normally recruited via a graduate programme and are typically assigned to a team on joining. Intensive training is given before you embark on project work. Development and support are typical areas where graduates start out. In a development area you could start out by enhancing current applications or be involved in writing new systems - driven by the requirements from the business and usually required yesterday!
|In the support area, where the main focus is keeping the production systems available 100 per cent of the time, you could be involved in resolving incidents and developing fixes. It is an exciting but sometimes pressurised environment.
Don't bother if...
...you're looking for a quiet and undemanding role - IT is stretching, you need the ability to keep 'lots of balls in the air'.
Banking has traditionally provided the mainstay of employment possibilities for IT graduates in all disciplines. We regularly update our courses portfolio to keep abreast of new technological developments that are required for various business sectors. For example, our Computer Forensics programme has recently been added to address the security issues necessary for working in the Retail Banking sector.
The School also hosts an annual research conference on Advances in Computing and Software Forensics (ACSF) which is attended by both academics and practitioners working in this field.