Making your mark in fintech

As a child, Archana Manjunatha has always been surrounded by people in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) professions. Her mother had a Ph.D. in solid state physics and she was fundamentally good at math and science in school.

After graduating in 2001 with a computer science degree, Manjunatha landed her first job as a software programmer at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the first jump for most IT engineers in the early 2000s.

At TCS, she was one of the first engineers to work on a National Stock Exchange of India project to introduce futures and options trading to the local market.

“I found myself in an environment where people were talking about bonds, stocks and shares,” he said. “I was on a futures and options trading floor, and I had absolutely no exposure to these instruments.”

That didn’t deter Manjunatha, who has a knack for working with merchants and customers to understand their requirements and troubleshoot problems with their business systems.

“I remember one time something was wrong with the trade capture system and traders couldn’t book their positions. As a technology analyst, that was my first experience as a hands-on technologist solving problems for the business,” she said.

Building on that experience, he joined Citi as an analyst on the bank’s credit default swaps trading desk after completing his master’s degree at the London School of Economics in the UK.

Not long after, her interactions with end users made her realize she was better off in a more customer-facing role rather than simply programming as an individual contributor. She then went on to become a business systems analyst, accumulating her experience in portfolio management and product delivery.

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His longest stint was at Barclays, where he worked in the back office on derivatives trading platforms. He also worked in wealth management before joining JP Morgan for a corporate banking technology role.

All of that experience then led her to Singapore’s DBS Bank, where she was the first engineer hired to build the bank’s NAV planner financial planning tool. After forming her team, which has been a symbol of agility in DBS, she wanted to move on.

Today, Manjunatha is leading the transformation of the DBS platform for consumer banking, taking a strategic and operational view of the business to improve the bank’s processes, tools and ways of working to create better quality products faster. and economic. That involves working closely with site and platform reliability engineering (SRE) leads as well as agile coaches to address issues facing the bank and its customers.

There is a lot of self-limitation and self-deselection that leads to less important women going into coding.

Archana Manjunatha, DBS Bank

Manjunatha and other agile trainers recently held a workshop for the DBS tech team in India to get them to think more like product teams that focus on building minimally viable products, rather than having a project-oriented mindset.

To be heard

Throughout her career, Manjunatha has not experienced discrimination in a male-dominated field and much of that has to do with making her voice heard.

“You have to be fearless,” he said. “I have only had male managers in my entire career, and I was never made to feel that as a woman my opinion was not important.”

Having a good handle on your topic and appearing confident is just as important: “When you provide your expertise on the topic, the genre is invisible, and most people will listen to you and give you credit for that.

“I would consider myself extremely privileged and lucky, but I think I’ve also played a huge role in presenting myself as someone who has an opinion and wants to be heard,” she said.

On what it takes to get more women into coding, Manjunatha said that talent pipeline issues need to be addressed.

“There’s a lot of self-limitation and self-deselection that leads to fewer women getting into coding,” she said. “Even if you look at universities, there’s not a 50-50 gender balance, so unless the pipeline issue is resolved, it’s still going to be a problem for organizations to hire women for roles in tech.”

To that, she said that DBS works with United Women Singapore, a local nonprofit that promotes women’s empowerment and gender equality, to hold coding workshops to interest girls in tech careers.

“You’re making them realize that a role in technology is a possibility and there’s no reason anyone should feel otherwise because technology is genderless,” Manjunatha said.

Manjunatha also called on women already in the industry to step up and become role models for the next generation of coders, in order to shed the image of the male engineer.

“The only way to remove that bias is to present more women as role models, so the more images you see of female data engineers, data scientists and solution architects, the more convinced the next generation of women will be that this it is the norm and not an exception anymore.”