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Senior technology people in banks are all about defending their territory, says this developer.

"I'm a developer in a bank and my managers are incompetent"

The big beasts of banking tech

I'm a developer at a bank in New York and my role has become increasingly stressful. The problem is my managers: they're piling more and more work onto me without considering the actual bandwidth that I have available.

The bank I work for is all about results, and my managers in sell-side technology are entirely results oriented. Because of this, there's a continuous push to launch half-baked products that satisfy immediate metrics without any consideration of the longer term impact. And no one seems to care.

Developers in banks work shorter hours than bankers and traders, but the work can be very monotonous and managers in technology are very unsupportive. It's not unusual for the managers on my team to push for delivery and to then provide no feedback on encouragement once an initiative is complete. The bank says it's spending billions on technology and is at the forefront of innovation, but systems are poorly run and inefficient. There are continuously cost overruns and it's very difficult to extract that the data that's needed by the front office. Despite this, the senior managers are continuously extolling the virtues of the systems - suggesting they either don't know, or don't care. 

Best comment picked by the author
In my experience the best managers are often those who were previously developers. If the managers at the bank you work for aren't sufficiently informed to understand that technical debt is something that can't be accumulated indefinitely then perhaps it's time to look for a new employer.

The problem, I think, is the caliber of the managers. Many are incompetent and I've noticed that they have very little specialization. I've also noticed the same names down against separate projects. They're continuously pushing their own agendas, aggressively pursuing timelines and constantly calling people out for failing to product results, even though they themselves have not communicated properly or detailed their expectations in full. 

My team is overloaded. There are managers from every corner of the bank, many with fancy job titles, who think nothing of reaching out with unreasonable requests. It's impossible to deliver anything well.

Instead of adding more managers as technology spending increases, my advice is that technology headcount in financial services should be trimmed. Legacy managers need to be let go, and their replacements need a higher degree of specialization. To reduce complexity, far fewer systems should be managed.   

Unfortunately, I can't see this happening. Money is being thrown at technology, and the long-tenured technology managers are constantly defending their useless performance and being paid top dollar in the process. Banking technology is being degraded as a result, but too few people have the honesty and integrity to call this out.

Rashad Peck is a pseudonym

Photo by Tim Wilson on Unsplash

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AUTHORRashad Peck Insider Comment
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  • Da
    Dave
    25 January 2022

    You will find that the competent developers and managers have moved on to greener pastures where 'IT' is treated with some respect such as tech companies, or even fintechs

  • ep
    ephemerix
    25 January 2022

    In my experience the best managers are often those who were previously developers. If the managers at the bank you work for aren't sufficiently informed to understand that technical debt is something that can't be accumulated indefinitely then perhaps it's time to look for a new employer.

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