What's your job about?
The Information Technology department at the Reserve Bank of Australia implements and maintains the infrastructure required to run national payments systems and support economic research and decision making that is crucial to the ongoing stability of the economy.
As a developer in the Innovation Lab I consult with internal stakeholders to flesh out issues with processes and systems at the Bank, suggest potential solutions that may involve emerging technologies and then implement these solutions in an application, usually through delivering a proof of concept technical demo. The response of the stakeholders to the demo can result in a production implementation of the system by another team down the track, or direct us to other important research questions that may also be worthy of an experiment.
One day of work for me is often a combination of the things I listed above from different projects. One project might be in the stakeholder analysis stage where I am scheduling and running meetings to better empathise with the problem space experienced by the team or department.
What's your background?
I grew up on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, Australia, and have always had an interest in technology. In primary school I was always the kid who the teacher or other students asked for to fix their computer issues. My education at St Aloysius College in Milsons Point for high school was not very technology focussed, but I really enjoyed the subjects I took, especially Economics, Ancient History and Mathematics. Going to UTS to do a Bachelor of Information Technology was where I really started to understand how powerful technology was as a tool for organising information and disseminating it in ways that are really useful to humans and developing the world.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes, in fact having a broad range of experience is essential to the team in the Innovation Lab. You do not have to be a programmer to work in the Lab (however it can help when developing software based solutions). It is more important that you are able to bring a diverse range of ideas to the team, contribute to discussions, and have the motivation to research new and emerging technologies. Being able to clearly express yourself to stakeholders and empathise with their issues is also important.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The great thing about working in the Innovation Lab at the Bank is flexibility. Part of being on the team is having “crazy” ideas about how software could be applied to an area and being given the time to test it out. In a broader sense, the graduate program at the RBA is an awesome way to gain a set of short experiences in a bunch of areas and teams that might otherwise be quite hard to enter on a short term basis. You finish the program with much more exposure to different technologies and broad experience than simply entering into a permanent role. This is perfect for people who are less sure of which area in technology they would like to end up working in.
What are the limitations of your job?
The working conditions at the Bank are very flexible, and the graduate program provides a large amount of support from both peers and leadership.
Sometimes working in an information technology department can be stressful, for example when you are near a deadline for delivering a system or doing something for a stakeholder or customer. However, if you are able to be transparent about your work to your manager and team, collaborate with others easily, not be afraid to ask questions (yes, even the ones that seem silly) and generally have a passion to produce good quality work, you will do well.