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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.


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.


Finance Analyst - Graduate Profile

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Q&A with Sophie Bunce

Finance Analyst Joined 2015

Studied BSc Management | University of Nottingham

Why Capital One?

During my second year at university, I was given the opportunity to take part in a community challenge at Capital One HQ. The fun working environment, the culture and the people I met instantly won me over. It sparked my interest so much that as soon as I got home, I began researching Capital One and what they do. It wasn’t long before my decision had been made – this was where I was going to begin my career!

What’s surprised you about Capital One?

In my role as a Finance Business Partner, I have had the opportunity to work closely with the Leadership Team, and it has become apparent how our leaders truly live by our values. This creates a fantastic place to work where your ideas and creativity are encouraged. It’s shown me that culture isn’t defined by games rooms and Friday drinks – it’s about the message and strategy driven from the top.

What’s been your standout moment?

My standout moment to date was being promoted to Senior Finance Analyst within my first year at Capital One. My manager has heavily invested in my development, which has allowed me to learn an incredible amount in a short space of time. I’ve made a brilliant start to my career thanks to mentoring and coaching from some of the best brains in the business.

How is your work Reimagining Money and Inspiring Lives?

Currently I’m working on the annual budget, which allows me to get an insight into our future business strategy. Ensuring that the customer is at the heart of everything we do drives our mission of Reimagining Money and Inspiring Lives.


UX Designer - Graduate Profile

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Q&A with Syeef Karim

UX Designer Joined 2014

Studied BSc Computer Science | Manchester Metropolitan University

Why Capital One?

The business genuinely cares about improving the experience of customers, which distinguishes it from other financial services organisations.


What’s been your standout moment?

It would have to be when the customer account management mobile app that I worked on launched and became available to customers. Their feedback was full of praise, which is always satisfying as it signifies a job well done.


What’s been the biggest challenge?

We interact with most of our customers virtually which makes it challenging to understand any issues they may be experiencing. To overcome this, we host regular customer meet-and-greet sessions which really helps create a richer relationship with them.


How is your work Reimagining Money?

Right now, I’m working on customer identity management which helps our customers use our products and services more securely and with more confidence.


What’s the most unexpected thing about Capital One?

The fact that we’re tech-driven and we embrace change and experimentation. We try to break new ground on our mission to Reimagine Money which means we’re agile and we never get stuck in a certain rigid frame of thinking.


Business Analyst - Graduate Profile

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Q&A with Jing Li 

Business Analyst | Joined 2014

Studied MSc Project Analysis, Finance and Investment | University of York


Why Capital One?

Probably because of its information-based strategy. This means our decisions are based on strong data and rigorous reasoning, which really appealed to me. I was also confident they’d give me the opportunity to learn in detail the methodology, skills and tools of business analysis I needed to get my career off to a flying start.

What’s surprised you most about Capital One?

I only used to think of credit cards as financial products. As most people do, I know they can get you in trouble if they’re not used responsibly. The idea they could have a positive impact on society was a real struggle for me. Now I’ve come to see how we can – and do – bring humanity to money. We genuinely can influence people’s lives positively, simply by offering them the credit and support that they need.

What’s been your standout moment?

We care a lot about community. Earlier this year, I was part of a community event at our offices which used educational games to teach primary school pupils some basic financial knowledge. It’s important and beneficial for children to understand money matters from an early age. At the end of the event, we invited all the kids to vote for whether they found the event useful. 95% voted yes, which made me really proud.

How is your work Reimagining Money and Inspiring Lives?

Right now, I’m focusing on the next release of our valuation model. This will be used to optimise decision making on customer applications; things like whether we should accept or decline the application or what credit limit we should be offering. The valuation model is updated regularly to make sure our lending decisions are fair, appropriate and responsible.

There’s an incredible atmosphere here. You can feel we all share a vision and we’re all pulling together to achieve it. And the possibilities that our work is creating for customers is truly inspiring.



How to create an intelligent ChatBot

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A.I. Bots are computer programmes designed to simulate a human conversation. They’re used to help with things like making a dinner reservation, adding an appointment to your calendar or suggesting the fastest route home.

ChatBots are an increasingly common form of bot that live in messenging apps, iMessage or like WhatsApp. They’ve been making big waves in the tech community this year, and with Facebook’s recent announcement that ChatBots are coming to Messenger, there’s no stopping them.  

The idea of intelligent bots has been around a very long time.

Exactly 70 years ago one of the World’s first computers was built by Alan Turing, the British Mathematician and Computer Scientist. Those of you familiar with Benedict Cumberbatch in his starring role in the ‘Imitation Game’ will recognise the name.

Turing wrote a paper in 1950 called ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’ which was not published until 1969, 15 years after his death. In this paper he wrote about the relationship between computers and nature, and the possibility of artificial intelligence.  

Turing described a basic test, aptly named the Turing Test, which consists of a person asking questions via keyboard to both a person and an intelligent machine. If the computer's answers cannot be distinguished from those of the person, after a reasonable amount of time, the machine is intelligent.

The Turing Test has become the standard measure for the artificial intelligence community. Despite ChatBots having had their first resurgence about 10 years ago, the bots of that time could only do specific tasks and most would fail the Turing Test.

Bot Design vs. App Design                                                  

Fast forward to today and bots have come a long way. We still measure their intelligence against the Turing Test, but also judge them by their ease of use from a user perspective. This is something that software designers refer to as user experience, or UX design.

You can see UX express itself every day in the menus, buttons and screens as you tap and swipe your way through apps like Facebook, Uber and Snapchat.

But when you move to a purely conversational platform like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or SMS you take away all the nice bright colours and cool functionality that help to make these apps so great.

So how do you make a great Bot UX?

This is one of the key questions when optimising design for a conversation. Chatbots may be old, but their design or UX is new, and ensuring your bot is Turing Test smart is no longer enough to stand out.

Chatbot UX should be smooth, have slick menus and ultimately be engaging. After all, optimising for design means optimising for engagement – the aim is to keep users coming back.

Not all bots should be designed to replace apps. Better apps will replace apps and a bot offers a very different user experience than an app.

Natural conversation

The best ChatBots talk like a human in natural language.

This is a mistake I see plenty of Facebook Messenger bots make every day. Even a butler in a high end hotel would never start a conversation with “Hi, my name is Owen and I’m here to serve you anything you want. Go on give me a try by asking me what drink you want?” What kind of person speaks like this?

Natural language processing (NLP) is the interaction of computers and humans in natural language i.e. how people actually speak. Why ask me an open question then lead me with a specific request that you want me to ask you? This may work for a toddler but not for tech savvy adults.

The experience should be seamless

This one’s important. If I access a Chatbot in Messenger, it should keep me in Messenger, not send me from one platform to another. There’s nothing worse than being sent from a messenger, to a browser, on to email for verification and so on.

A brilliant example of a company doing all of this very well at the moment is X.AI, led by founder Dennis Mortensen. The team at X.AI have team developed an impressive virtual assistant called Amy Ingram. Simply cc Amy into your emails, and she schedules all your meetings and manages your diary for you.

Another great example is Kayak’s Facebook Messenger Chatbot. It can find and book your flight, hotel and hire car anywhere in the world. And all without leaving conversation in Messenger.


About WealRo

Owen Haggith-Khonje is the Founder of WealRo, a London based tech startup that’s using artificial intelligence to revolutionise the way people manage their personal finances.

WealRo are one of 5 ambitious startups taking part in Capital One’s Growth Labs - a 10 week FinTech Accelerator Program designed to help startups develop new ideas into working products.

Visit WealRo to find out more and sign up to their A.I. finance coach.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of Capital One.


Science & Technology Graduate & Placement Fair

Science and Technology Fair