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The Technology Perspective

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“It’s important to have passion and purpose in our business; to reinvent ourselves; to think about what comes next; to think beyond credit cards.”

Rob Harding has been with Capital One for 16 years. As Chief Information Officer, he focuses on running the tech team in the UK. This means he’s responsible for the end-to-end operation of everything that’s supported by tech – be that information security, data centres or systems.

“We are building a world class technology team. I’m looking for talented people that share one thing in common – they want to use technology to help our customers. When you are looking to change an industry your business needs to be highly adaptable. We have thought carefully about how to build teams from across our business to create fantastic products. We collaborate, we visualise our work and we build great solutions. We pride ourselves on creating an environment where people can come together to do the best work of their careers.

“Very little happens in a financial services company without technology being involved. It drives and enables what we do. This means my team plays a part in the majority of key initiatives. Things are changing fast. The fact that the current team is almost unrecognisable to the one we had in 2013, speaks to the pace and extent of that change.

“In terms of big innovation, we’ve changed the way we’re able to innovate from an underwriting perspective. We’ve radically overhauled our data and analytics environment. Using Big Data means we’re able to compress the time taken to crunch through some of the complex algorithms our data scientists use. What used to take days now takes a matter of hours. We have the ability to ‘boil the ocean’; to chase more hypotheses simultaneously.

“Unlike many financial services companies, we’re on a path to moving all of our production processing into the public cloud. We’re still at the relatively early stages, so it’s exciting and something new the people who come on board can be part of and will benefit from. We’re looking to remove our on-premise data centres. This will create more flexibility and makes it easier for our software engineers to spin up new environments to test things. We’re very much pioneers in our sector. You could say we operate more like a software business than a financial services business. It’s an interesting time for new talent to come on board.”

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TEAM MEMBERS NOT ROCK STARS

Dan Jones

UX Design Lead, Software Studio

Shedloads of passion is a great start. I know everyone says that but, for us, it counts for more than technical ability. You’ll need that, obviously, but you need a bit of a fire in your belly to want to shake things up. That can’t be taught. We’re a collaborative business built on ideas. With that in mind, you’ll need to be comfortable designing in the open too; showing and sharing your work means we all get to learn.

Our interview process is an opportunity to show us what you’re made of. That won’t sound daunting if you’re the kind of person you’re looking for; you’ll be excited by it. Essentially, we’ll give you a design challenge and ask you to lead us through an ideation. It’s really important that you’re able to bring stakeholders with you on the journey. So we’ll be looking for how you influence them and respond to their input.

Dan Jones came to Capital One from Microsoft in 2014. When the business offered him the chance to set up the new Software Studio, it was too good an opportunity to miss. Here’s his take on what makes the perfect Capital One person.

Open-minded people who are curious, ready to do things differently and challenge the way we think and do things will fit right in here. We like people who lead with ‘why?’ None of us has all the answers, so don’t be afraid to question something. There’s always a better way.

If you have a particular specialism, that’s great. You can share your expertise with the team. But be ready to learn from them too; think beyond your immediate role and appreciate the bigger picture. We’re looking for team members not rock stars.

The New Joiner's Perspective

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“The journey that Capital One is on is about changing the way we do everything. It’s a great thing to be part of.”

Dave Warren is a Software Engineering Manager at Capital One.

“I must admit to some reservations about working here. These were mainly around the moral aspects of working for a credit card company; they don’t have the best of reputations. Also, there’s this stereotype of technology in financial services companies being quite staid: everyone in a shirt and tie; you rock up at 8am, go home at 5pm. You get paid loads of money but nobody interacts with each other and they’re generally not great places to be.

“So when I came here, I wasn’t expecting such a vibrant, invested, customer-focused set of people. Everyone’s been incredibly welcoming.

“What really interested me was how the business is focusing on becoming a technology company delivering quality software, as opposed to being a financial services company that focuses more narrowly on numbers and profit. I also like the software engineering principles and values that Capital One has – and ‘Reimagine Money. Inspire Life’ is an approach that makes perfect sense to me.

“It’s always been my belief that the best way to get results is to invest in your customers, understand what they need and deliver the things that work for them. If we’re not supporting them and doing all of those things, we’re not going to get anywhere. So, in that respect, it’s reinforced how I’d do things.

“‘Reimagine Money. Inspire Life’ isn’t something that’s just written in big letters across a wall somewhere. I may only have been here for six weeks but it’s immediately obvious that people are genuinely invested in it. It guides the way they think. I’ve heard the product and design team discuss how best to word copy so it not only gives the right impression but so it supports people too. I like that.

“There’s real openness to change here. I’ve never worked anywhere that’s got it completely right. I’ve worked at places that strive to improve things all the time; in terms of process and delivery. I’ve also worked at places that have got it absolutely wrong but don’t want to change because ‘that’s the way we’ve always done things’. The journey that Capital One is on is about changing the way we do everything. It’s a great thing to be part of.”

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