My 2022 reflections

Looking back at 2022 – the first question I ask is “are we really at the end of the year already?” .

My quick reflections follow – as always , this is all strictly personal and have nothing to do with my employer

First some “personal” stuff

Thrilled for our daughter – finished her high school in 3 years with summa cum laude , and finished her first semester of college being on Dean’s list . And she is having fun making new friends, traveling etc

Very grateful for the great team that I am part of . Thanks to them – I could effectively do two roles this year, and I feel confident walking into my new role as the managing partner for Financial Services (FS) next week .

Totally feel bad for Archie who didn’t get as much time with me this year thanks to me getting a little too busy with work . I have promised him I will do better next year . Ollie has no complaints – and has been holding my hand throughout webex meetings

Got to hang out with my mom a lot more this year than usual and I hope to do that next year too

Reading has been a bit of a casualty – though it is slowly getting back to normal .

And now some “work” stuff – largely my observations on the financial services industry

There are two trends in financial services that fascinate me – apps moving to public cloud a lot slower than people thought , and big data moving to cloud much faster than the original Datawarehousing wave in the past . Companies have a real challenge sweating their legacy investments and making use of all the innovation goodness available now .

There are very few clear boundaries in IT anymore – to stay relevant, we need to acquire multiple skills and keep learning . Long gone are the days when 5 days of training a year kept me on the bleeding edge of SAP . We need some serious thinking urgently on how to up skill rapidly and at scale

FS companies are getting religion on “product vs project” approaches . I am sure 2023 will see the demand for product manager type folks go through the roof

It’s very good that FS companies have strict regulations to comply with – we are all protected because of that . I am not totally sure though if the design and implementation of existing solutions can be called thoughtful . The industry can and should make use of ML and automation a whole lot more – and even more importantly take a second look at existing workflows to see if they still make sense .

Perhaps the biggest untapped opportunity in tech now is the under utilisation of junior talent . This needs urgent attention . There are very few things in tech that need everyone in the team to be highly skilled and experienced . I implemented their party logistics systems , pricing engines and so on as a junior developer – mostly by learning new stuff on the job . That was not the exception – that’s how all of us worked at the time . Today most companies won’t take you into a Dev team to do basic file handling if you don’t have a couple of years experience ! When people cry about lack of budget to do fancy projects – I often make this suggestion , and am constantly amused by the shock on their face . The irony of this situation also is that many of these folks are so excited about GPT generating code – but would not trust a young engineer to write it .

FS companies do more legacy Modernization projects than any other industry I know of . These are expensive initiatives no doubt and often very strategic . However they are not usually done in an efficient way for the times we live in. I see three broad opportunities to improve – a) better product management ( including perhaps from Agile education to business and not just IT ) b) better standardisation in coding ( for example – why does every developer have to spend time on scaffolding code ) and c) better testing (not just more automation , but also optimising coverage – and definitely making good use of synthetic data )

FS companies in US have some ways to go to embrace the fact that no one company can effectively serve all needs of their customers . It is not that this is a new idea – it’s just that culturally the industry is not fully committed yet in my opinion despite the massive disruption that the incumbents face . For sure most companies have dipped their toes in ecosystem initiatives – but very few have serious commitments with budgets to back it . I have a strong feeling that this will get serious attention in 2023

I will close with the topic on sustainability . I am absolutely thrilled that FS has largely jumped in on what is perhaps the most important thing for our planet and hence humanity . First order of business is to track, record and report . This seems to be well under way and has largely become a board level priority . But I do have a question on what happens next . If a developer raises their hand in a scrum meeting and questions if they need such heavy compute because of its negative carbon footprint consequences – will the engineering VP even consider a trade off ? Will the business live with that trade off ? That’s where the rubber hits the road . I am hopeful we will indeed get to a good place – if we replace sustainability with cyber security in this hypothetical , we know the answer is that the leaders will act on it real fast . We know that ML models are getting similar treatment as well in many companies . So I have a lot of faith that sustainability will also get there very soon !

Happy new year everyone !

Published by Vijay Vijayasankar

Son/Husband/Dad/Dog Lover/Engineer. Follow me on twitter @vijayasankarv. These blogs are all my personal views - and not in way related to my employer or past employers

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