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 !
One thought on “My 2022 reflections”
Came here to read your blog after a long time Vijay, every word is spot on. As always you have articulated it very well. The thought train on tapping the junior talent is so relevant and under rated in our IT world today. I became nostalgic and was recalling where I was part of that TCS cohort as a graduate hire where FC Kohli famously said he would run the whole BU with freshers !!! such was the confidence he placed in leadership to groom and tap junior associates, and I had the divine luck of being coached by senior leaders like Arnab Gosami and Subhash Bose who spent enormous time modeling the junior talent in their teams. Forever grateful to those guys.