During Q1 I was fortunate enough to be on sabbatical – but with a twist!
The beginning of 2019 was incredibly intense and challenging for me, as I took sabbatical leave to participate in full-time coding training (Boot camp!) in France. I wanted to share with you my experience of what it takes to become (try to) a Full-stack Developer (Junior clearly!) and how much it means to me, speaking from the perspective of a long-term employee and technology leader.
Starting with… why?
I have had the pleasure of experiencing the transformation of HSBC Technology from its early days. I have witnessed tremendous work of turning ideas into very concrete actions – adopting Agile & DevOps culture, redefining the role of technology in the bank, becoming a more innovation-driven organisation, and formulating the Manifesto.
So for me, as a Head of GBM Technology Poland, it has been a particularly exciting journey, leading teams that are on the front line of change. Moreover, the further it has evolved, the idea of being closer to technology was an even more obvious decision for me.
As a senior manager, my first focus should be on people and to better appreciate their work, their constraints, and helping them to remove obstacles (as well as ensuring their estimates are realistic).
Agile adoption, as with any transformational programme/project, requires even more exemplarity from the leadership team. At times continuous learning is especially needed and promoted. It starts with leading by example, in my view.
I wanted to better understand and shine a spotlight on their challenges and ideas, and deepen our conversation, help to remove blockers, better communicate IT-related topics and mind-set with internal various stakeholders, business, support functions, and external ones as well.
Moving to… how?
So if you ever wonder how the coding Boot camp works… 10 weeks, 450 hours of courses, 9am to 7pm, every day, no exception! To put it differently, its 10 weeks of your life exclusively dedicated to coding and nothing other than coding.
Combining lectures which are actually live coding with the teacher (rather than slides), days spent on pair-programming, extended usage of e-learning platforms supported by 1:1 with a teacher who explained the problem and helped when I got stuck. Similar to how we work in HSBC Krakow – no judgment, no blame.
At the end of the day, the camp helped me to get over the initial threshold and start coding in Ruby, JS, SQL, HTML, CSS and combine all in Rails. I built a clone of a home letting site in a week and an MVP of a Job Search app and website in two weeks with my project team.
The bonus. You get to connect with likeminded people. I met a lot of start-up founders, CEOs, CTOs, CIOs of small and larger companies and entrepreneurs. I certainly learnt about different issues that we experience, but are actually quite similar in essence… you adapt, take customers’ feedback, pivot, struggle, lose, win and do something different to what you originally thought you’d do!
Concluding with… Thank you!
In summary, when speaking with fellow students during the boot camp about what we do in GBM IT or HSBC Technology, the ongoing shift, the tech choices, they were really surprised… in a good way. So much to do to change the perception here! Even the fact that I told them my CIO Richard Herbert was supportive and agreed to find a way, impressed them.