Hack24 Event 2018

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Capital One is a long-term supporter of Tech Nottingham and other meetups around Nottingham. This year, we're supporting Hack24 for the first time as the clothing sponsor. As well as a Hack24 2018 t-shirt for each attendee, we'll be providing a number of the much coveted Hack24 hoodies as prizes in mini-challenges and games, and if you don’t manage to win one, you'll have the chance to buy one with all proceeds going to Framework.

“Hack24 has rapidly grown into one of the premier tech events in the midlands and is a real celebration of the local tech community. Since in-housing our software engineering we have worked closely with a number of local meetups including Tech Nottingham, and as we continue to grow our software engineering team we believe in building relationships in the local tech community.”

— Paul Jarman, Director, Software & Quality Engineering at Capital One

What is Hack24?

Hosted by Tech Nottingham, Hack24 is a 24 hour coding competition and a showcase and celebration of the creative and technical talent that Nottingham has to offer. We bring together the most innovative local companies with the brightest creative and technical people in Nottingham and we build new things. It’s a lot of fun, and sponsors award prizes for the most innovative and creative ideas.

Hack24 is now in its fourth year and is bigger than ever. 7 challenges will be put to 136 hackers who have just 24 hours to come up with solutions. 

Hack24 will be taking place on the 10th and 11th at Nottingham Council House in Old Market Square in the heart of Nottingham. For more information visit hack24.co.uk.

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GLASSDOOR'S BEST PLACES TO WORK UK

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Capital One is a 2018 Best Place to Work, according to our employees on Glassdoor.

We are pleased to announce we are among the winners of the annual Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards, a list of the Best Places to Work in 2018.

Unlike other awards, there was no self-nomination process, instead it’s entirely based on feedback our employees have voluntarily and anonymously shared on Glassdoor. To determine the winners of the awards, Glassdoor evaluates all company reviews shared by employees over the past year. This year, we are proud to be recognised as a Best Place to Work among companies with more than 1,000 employees according to those based in the UK.

Glassdoor came and spoke to our UK HR Director Mike Lynch, to reveal how we've achieved Best Place to Work status in the UK this year:

How do you help build a great company culture?

Capital One take great pride in having an open, friendly and informal culture which you see in our open plan office environment, casual dress code and flexible approach to working hours.

We’re very ambitious and driven, working in a highly regulated industry during a time of digital transformation and an unprecedented pace of change.

Our teams are always learning new skills, adopting new technology or trialing different ways of working together.

Our team, in HR, sets the framework for our people to be the best they can be – regular surveys and open communication with our business partners is key.

We’re also very open when talking about what’s not going so well and the challenges we face collectively.

What does leadership mean to you?

We invest heavily in developing great leaders through training programmes, both in the UK and over in our US office.

Once a year, we take all people leaders away for a dedicated all-day event focusing on their development.

Our leadership model focuses on how we Inspire, Empower and Include our people.

What do you do to foster employee trust and engagement?

An open, transparent culture is the primary way we foster trust and engagement.

At all times, everyone needs to feel connected to the business and feel like they’re a trusted member of the bigger team.

A range of annual events are held to keep our people connected with the bigger picture, including our Mission Day (an offsite around our mission featuring guest speakers and workshops), Customer Week, Risk Day and our Data Expo, to name a few.

Amy Lenander, our CEO, delivers an all-hands business update each quarter, typically featuring a round-up of the brilliant work our business is delivering and any challenges on the horizon.

Of course, we use our intranet platform, Pulse, which we aim to run like a social media channel; news feeds, thought leadership and followers. We know how important it is to have a range of regular communication channels open to our people.

Your employees love working here as we see the strong rating on Glassdoor - How do you make this a great place to work day in and day out?

It’s a combination of the things listed above – the culture we have here, the way we engage with our staff and the challenging work we deliver.

What is the best part about working here?

Depends on who you ask! Via surveys, we’ll see answers ranging from, “EVERYTHING!”, to more detailed responses linked to the individual benefits we offer – for example, our mail service, our in-house gym, our restaurant, or our cycle to work scheme.

It is important to be responsive and tailored to different team needs. Our tech teams have 10 per cent of their time to spend on side projects, and our design team have a half day a month to spend on any activity that will inspire them.

What do you look for in informed candidates?

From day one, our business has been about helping people succeed with credit. It’s our wish to hire in-line with this mission.

Informed candidates pick up on this through their research, either on our careers site, or places like Glassdoor.

The financial services industry is changing fast and people’s relationship with money can be emotional, so picking up on the challenges and opportunities in the sector is important.

How do you retain talent - what are some of your best practices?

One of the real strengths of Capital One is offering strong and diverse career progression – our CMO started with us as a graduate.

Good talent and performance management processes help us really keep our high performers feeling valued. 

We also promote career transitioning all over our business – some of my team have come from Legal, Brand and Tech. This really is a win-win, as we benefit from their company knowledge and the individual can grow and develop.

The quality and range of courses on offer through Capital One University – who provide all our L&D support – is always very high, and our employee demand is huge.

What are some of the coolest or most unique perks and benefits you offer?

I’m not sure we go in for ‘cool’ as we tend to take a more utilitarian approach to our benefits.

Recently, we’ve seen great uptake of some innovative tech via our partnership with Babylon, who offer online GP consultations.

Our on-site gym, mindfulness and music rooms in Nottingham are always being used, and our London office has a 150m running track on the rooftop (as well as a bar) which I guess is pretty unique!

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Capital One UK lands in Silicon Roundabout

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Capital One UK lands in Silicon Roundabout

London, UK (September, 2017) – Capital One UK has completed its expansion in London by relocating its West End offices to the White Collar Factory EC1, overlooking Silicon Roundabout. The new London office now accommodates all of Capital One’s London-based employees in one space.

The announcement follows the attendance of Capital One UK’s CEO Amy Lenander at the Investing in Success business roundtable event in New York hosted by Prime Minister Theresa May.  The event was attended by a select gathering of US companies who have made or are looking to make significant new investments in the UK.

Capital One UK has grown its London operations by 120 employees since 2016 and will add a further 40 by the beginning of 2018.

Amy Lenander, Capital One UK's CEO, said the move was an important step for the top 10 credit card provider: “Our move to White Collar Factory is a key part of our drive to put digital and tech capabilities at the core of our business strategy. The new office puts us at the heart of London’s innovation and fintech hub, making it easier to recruit from one of the best talent pools in the world and to integrate into the London tech community.”

Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London for Business, said: “London’s unique concentration of financial and professional service firms, as well as its cutting-edge tech businesses, means our great city continues to be a global finance and innovation powerhouse. London is at the forefront of the financial technology revolution and I welcome the continual investment Capital One has made in our city. Its expansion plans are another clear vote of confidence in the capital, showing once again it is the best place in the world to do business.”

Amy Lenander continued, “Our business is about helping our customers succeed financially, enabled by technology and products. To do that, we have brought our talented London-based employees together in one space where our software engineers, designers, data scientists and product managers can collaborate and create new solutions for our customers.

“Our new office includes a tailor-made event space with incredible views of the London skyline that we intend to use as a space for tech meet-ups as well to contribute to the local community.  This move will play a pivotal role in our future success in the UK.”

The White Collar Factory development comprises a 237,000-square-foot 16-storey tower with 56,000-square-foot of additional office campus, restaurants and residential areas. The space is a superb open-plan working environment with an exceptional, tailor-made interior fit with flexible work spaces, meeting areas and a bespoke customer research lab. Rooms are equipped with the latest technology and connectivity, including Microsoft Surface Hubs.

Capital One UK has signed a lease for 29,500-square-feet on the ninth and tenth floors in the building. It retains its iconic Trent House workplace in Nottingham, which is home to 1,000 employees, and under refurbishment to update its design, technology and layout.

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Maryam - Software Quality Engineering Manager

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Meet Maryam Umar, a Software Quality Engineering Manager here at Capital One.

What does your job role involve?

I work as a Manager in Software Quality Engineering. My day to day tasks involve participating and contributing in many meetings around project requirements and their refinements. I help design and implement structures which will enable us to reach a complete working product for our customers. I work quite closely with my reports to better understand their challenges. I try to do this so I can mitigate and escalate any issues easily. I also try to stay close to the technologies that are being used.

What made you choose a career in technology?

I didn’t exactly choose a career in tech. I ended up here by accident. I am glad the accident worked out in my favour though. I enjoy problem solving and the thought process behind it. A lot of people think that a career in tech is all about engineering mind-sets but it’s a lot about people dynamics as well. Not everyone writes code in the same manner.

Did you study an IT or technology related subject at A-Level or University?

I studied Computer Science as a subject since the age of about 12. I have a Bachelors and a Master’s degree in Software Engineering too.

Did you get any work experience in IT or technology before this role?

I learnt mostly on the job and with the help of some very able managers.

Do you think there is a lack of females in the IT and tech sector?

There are pockets of women in the industry. I was pleasantly surprised at Capital One though. Almost every second team has 1 or 2 female developers/testers etc.  Overall, yes there is a lack of women.

Do you find there is a stereotype that a career in IT or technology is just for men?

I recently spoke at a school about computer science and a career in the tech industry. The group was mixed in terms of gender and ethnicity. I made sure that I encouraged the students to think twice about a career in tech. it’s not plain-sailing and is quite demanding as a career. I think women naturally tend to select options which suit their lifestyles. Some women are quite driven and have strong problem solving capabilities. They end up in tech quite easily. I have noticed that the problem sometimes lies in the head of the individual and not in the community per say.

What would entice women to study technology related courses?

I think the quality engineering remit is as challenging as the others. If you use an app/website and are intrigued by how it plumbs together, you must pursue technology related courses. I have always been a promoter of pursuing what makes you inquisitive.

Are there barriers when it comes to women getting into tech?

I don’t think there are any barriers.

How could we encourage more women to start a career in tech?

We should openly talk about how inclusive the environment is. How flexible companies are today. And how, by not being ruthless, you can still succeed. I have often found myself to be the only female member in a tech team. I took those situations as a challenge. I quickly realised that my presence usually brought a different perspective to the projects and my team. Empathy goes a long way in our industry. The women who are already here should facilitate other women to join the movement and help make a difference to our customers.

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An API first for Capital One UK

As part of Capital One's aspirations to be a leader in digital finance, and our journey to comply with upcoming EU legislation, we’ve launched our first ever public API displaying Product Data. This is a significant milestone, the result of around a years worth of effort across multiple teams, which is worth celebrating.

But first, for those of you who have no idea what any of this means...

What the heck is a public API?

Hopefully, API's are "old hat", but as a refresher: an Application Programming Interface is a way for computers (rather than people) to exchange information. Let's say you wanted to view the balance of your Capital One account; you would use a web browser and a graphical web interface to read the information. Those graphics are useful to you as a human, but to a computer, they are just noise. APIs present pure information that computers can parse and understand.

So that's the API bit, but what about "public"? Historically Capital One has been using APIs for a long time, but this is the first time we've made one public over the open internet. Anyone, anywhere, can access this new API and use the data (check out further down the page for a link where you can access the API too).

All of this is part of a wider industry move towards open APIs and sharing of information/data. Some banks have already begun sharing public data, but we’re still amongst the first (and we think the first credit-only provider in the UK).

What is Product API?

The first public API we have taken live is Product API; it's the first step in a program of work to achieve compliance with something called "PSD2" early next year. The intention was to present some simple, public data. Keeping the data simple focused the effort on the technology needed to expose an Internet-facing API.

The product data presented by the API is quite simple, but it's surprising how much new technology was required to enable this. Turns out it’s quite challenging to build a new developer API platform from scratch.

This platform is a complex system that we've also built out on the cloud for the first time. We've learned a lot about new technologies, techniques such as auto-scaling, solved challenging monitoring problems, built developer support tools and features, understood enterprise controls and audit requirements in detail. We've also seen some fantastic collaboration across a wide variety of teams.

What went live and how do I access it?

Two elements are now live:

Why is this a success?

First of all; there has been a fantastic collaborative effort between TechOps, Cyber, Design, Product, Legal, TPM, Infrastructure and Software Engineering to understand and work on all of these requirements and challenges. Individuals and teams have pivoted and iterated to reach goals and milestones. It’s been a great example of agile in action to achieve exceptional results.

Secondly, this is a huge step forward into our aspirations to be a digital leader. As an engineer, this is not the first time I've helped create a new API presence and so am aware of the effort that is required to achieve a secure, stable and performant experience. To have delivered this from a standing start in less than 12 months is an unbelievable achievement and testament to the quality of people that Capital One hires.

Finally, as touched on above, there have been many first use-cases and new experiences, and it has been incredibly valuable to work through these in preparation for next year. By having a go with a functionally simple API, we understand a lot more about how to deploy APIs in the cloud. As a result, in January 2018 when the PSD2 compliance date looms, we are not discovering these things for the first time. This sort of forward thinking in technology is an important part of the success Capital One is driving towards.

This project has reflected some of the best practices in modern technology approaches; iterative, agile, DevOps, lean. All building on Capital One’s commitment to getting technology right.

Can you help?

If the idea of building a new API platform sounds tempting, Capital One is hiring great engineers. Our next goal is to build out the Open Banking Financial API standard ready for next year (hey, who said compliance wasn’t fun?) This is going to present even greater and more exciting challenges for our engineering teams, and it’s definitely something you could be part of!

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Marina - Career Progression

We inspire our people to grow

Marina

Senior Loss Forecast Analyst

MSc Maths, Imperial College London

Joined 2015

Promotion

In 2017 I switched teams to Credit Risk Management and have recently taken on the role of Loss Forecast Analyst.

Life Story

A few months after my promotion, I bought a house in Beeston with my boyfriend.

Promotion

In 2016 I was promoted to a Senior Analyst role.

Key Achievement

I helped to develop a tool to assess the risk from a range of different scenarios relating to Brexit. It feels great to know that my work is helping to inform our future strategies on this complex, unpredictable issue.

Standout Moment

Getting the right credit data on customers is crucial to Capital One. I worked on the team that migrated our business to a new credit bureau which provides this data. This was exciting as Capital One had never switched bureau before – we had to create new modelling tools.

Start at Capital One

I wanted a job that would be challenging and intellectually stimulating. What stood out about Capital One was the company culture and the people.

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Digital Row-Off

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It’s time to renew the rivalry. Oxford and Cambridge are going head to head, in the Capital One Digital Row-Off.

With the help of your mobile, you can propel your team to victory, and earn £500 for your university’s RAG Charity’s  – it’s about being Powered By Data.

All you have to do is come and meet the Capital One team at your Union, get a Snap Mask with us and share it on social. You can even give your team a head start by posting to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #CapitalOneCambridge or #CapitalOneOxford

So get posting – and make sure your team comes first!

Join us at our networking event! You’ll meet some of our team and find out more about Capital One and our Business Analyst opportunities.

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Lucy - Career Profile

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It’s no exaggeration to say working here has been a life-changing experience. When I first got chatting to a Capital One Exec at the Maypole in Cambridge 17 years ago, I had very little idea of what I wanted from a career – I could never have predicted that I’d be here for this long, that I’d meet my husband here and that, by the age of 40 I’d be on the UK board.

We talk a lot about our culture and values. I think any graduate joining a large company, particularly one in the financial services sector, might be forgiven for having at least a degree of scepticism – I know I did. But there’s a decency and a respect for our customers that runs through this organisation – through everyone you meet. I can honestly say that we’re absolutely committed to doing great work and to making change happen in our market.

From that first conversation, I got a real sense of how Capital One doesn’t expect you to know everything about the path you want to take. We take talented people and help them to do more than they ever thought they could – that’s been my experience. My path through the business has been anything but a straight line. I progressed from Project Manager to Operations Analyst before going on to be a manager of a team of Data Analysts in my first three years. Next stop was a stint as a Risk Analyst in our European business, a year’s hiatus where I left briefly to become a Consultant before coming back – because there was work to do that sounded so much more exciting than what I was doing.

My recent history is in Marketing. Marketing at Capital One is like nowhere else – my team design products, create strategies and build business cases. They understand the dynamics of credit and lending, as well as the more classic disciplines of advertising. We make sure we’re always at the cutting edge of digital innovation – working closely with Google, Facebook and lots of different partners to find new ways to speak to consumers.

We set a really high bar for ourselves. We’re looking to drive real change in our market and set new standards for transparency. We get a real kick from setting an example that others follow. The Quickcheck tool is a good example. It’s been a game-changer, especially for customers who are anxious about whether they’ll be accepted for credit.

I can think of no other company where someone with an engineering and analytic background like mine would get to learn new skills in leading teams of designers and brand experts. Capital One has really given me the opportunity to develop myself. There’s a degree of transformation that you need to undergo to be effective at each new level.

The way that you get there at Capital One is through feedback and continuous learning – you never get to settle. The challenge is great and I feel like I’ve come so far. It’s not always been a comfortable journey because I’ve had to learn a lot about myself on the way. But I like to learn and I like to have an impact. Even now as a Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, I’m really comfortable with being a work in progress.

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