Diversity in the world of tech doesn’t end with the wider female leaders’ involvement in hiring processes: to maintain consistent processes, multiple best practices are required in everyday work. As a result, it’s all about smooth performances and all voices being heard in the team. What could bring these details quick and efficiently? The diversity of age, gender, and even experience is as important as never before.
Jurgita Čaplikaitė, the Channels development team manager at Swedbank, shares a success story of her team. Having spent more than a decade in tech, she’s currently leading one of innovative and diverse teams in the main commercial banking player in Lithuania. Apart from that, her initiatives include IT Academy@Swedbank, the program for young specialists aspiring to work in tech-related roles at Swedbank.
What is your current role and what is your team doing?
I’m currently working as the head of Channel Development team, and my team is implementing tools to analyze the behavior of our customers on electronic channels: online banking, Mobile app, web pages… We’re doing it across the Baltic States and Sweden. A really exciting area! Only with the help of data, we’re able to develop and offer the most suitable product or service to our customers. Also, other Cross Functional teams can work on the best IT solution possible after analyzing these sets of data.
What has your journey in IT been like?
I have been leading this great team for almost 3 years, and working in IT for more than 13 years in total. I started my career in testing, then became a business analyst, an IT project manager and finally a team leader. In all these roles I learned a lot, including failures and of course successful moments. I’m proud of my results and the fact that I met so many creative, smart, professional, and fun people.
Generally, such diversity is useful in our everyday work.
Your team is famous for its diversity, especially when it comes to age range and experience. Why is such an approach beneficial?
Generally, such diversity is useful in our everyday work. We discuss and examine the issues and the tasks we have while sharing different opinions and solutions. We evaluate all pros and cons, and we choose how to move forward together. Exactly sharing contrasting views encourages us to look at the same issue from multiple perspectives. We really learn a lot from each other starting with tech innovations or communication methods and finishing with various professional experiences.
Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, to express your opinion, to be vulnerable, to say that you do not understand something, and to ask for help. I can definitely say that all situations in our team are lighter with mutual support and even humour!
On the other hand, does diversity create additional challenges in smooth work processes?
I think these challenges are the same as in other teams, where different, motivated, result-oriented, and active people come together. In my opinion, the best way to solve the problem is to discuss and always seek mutual solutions. This includes patience, listening to a different opinion, understanding it, and providing constructive feedback. The feedback should be individual, and it’s important to share even things which may be upsetting in a constructive way. Our team is very motivated, so we’re able to see the results when you care about the work being done. Then, there really is plenty of discussion, different opinions, and questions. And we solve them all by talking, learning, making mistakes, and doing it again. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, to express your opinion, to be vulnerable, to say that you do not understand something, and to ask for help. I can definitely say that all situations in our team are lighter with mutual support and even humour!
Motivation and curiosity are key elements whatsoever.
As a team lead, what would you expect from junior candidates, having little or no prior experience?
First of all, not all positions in IT require direct IT experience. The roles are very different there and you certainly don’t need to know how to code everywhere. For example, work experience in customer service is crucial for testers whereas analysts must have strong reasoning skills. Project managers or product owners are typically holding multiple soft skills such as communication, organisation, negotiation. Motivation and curiosity are key elements whatsoever. Many people are happy to share their knowledge with others if you ask, learn, and make an effort to do better.
The mission of this initiative is to enable students and everyone else who wants to seek a career in IT with the opportunity to get a job at Swedbank.
IT Akademy@Swedbank is very successful initiative. How did you decide to organise it?
It started 6 years ago, when a group of IT executives and HR professionals came up with a program that allowed us to meet different needs at the same time. The mission of this initiative is to enable students and everyone else who wants to seek a career in IT with the opportunity to get a job at Swedbank. It also attracts newbie IT professionals to junior positions and thus shortens the time of hiring processes. Current employees have a great opportunity to share their knowledge, experience and advice with others, so all in all it’s a 2-way process. The IT Academy will start in March next year with the focus on Mainframe, Web Fullstack and Data Engineering. I really encourage you to follow updates and join us: IT and data – Swedbank.
I’d love to see this number growing even further: the field is so interesting and creative.
And, finally, what’s the situation with female leadership in Swedbank’s tech roles, including your team? Does the IT Academy help there?
Ideally, I’d have 50% of female specialists in my team – currently they make 30% of the workforce. However, I can see that more and more women are coming to both the IT Academy and Swedbank itself, so it’s definitely a positive change! I’d love to see this number growing even further: the field is so interesting and creative. No 2 days are the same!