While she might write literature in her spare time, Shu started writing code while at work. After studying English and Maths at the University of Cambridge, she’s discovered the synergy that comes from combining diverse interests and ideas on our Transformation Graduate Leadership Programme. Shu tells us what she has discovered so far.
Brushing up on IT literature
I’m currently a Scrum Master in Big Data & Machine Learning. It involves contributing to machine learning strategy, facilitating progress, removing blockers, and organising and leading all the meetings for the team. I’m working to help bring cutting-edge technology to our customers.
It’s very different from the creative work I did before, but I’m stimulated and challenged in news ways. I love learning how information technology works at scale.
From small start-ups to a big bank
I was interested in creative work–writing, film, art–and industries and institutions that support that. I’ve worked for start-ups, but I felt I would be stimulated and challenged in new ways if I joined the corporate world. The transition was much easier than I thought it’d be.
In start-ups, you often need to take a DIY attitude to complete a project, so I’m not in the habit of having things laid out for me. It works the same way here. There’s a very supportive culture, but there’s a lot of opportunity to exercise your own initiative.
Taking lessons from literature
Literature has given me an appreciation of how complex people and situations can be. I’ve learnt that stepping back to see the big picture, whilst also delving deep into the details of any narrative, is important to understand unclear, or uncertain situations.
It’s helpful when I’m at work, because even if I don’t immediately know what to do, I can still feel confident that complexity, or even conflict, represent challenges and opportunities that I can work through.
Take skills to the next level
In my first placement I assessed old IT processes for automation potential. To do that, you need to write code, so when I told my manager I’d completed a basic Python course he really encouraged me to develop those skills.
That happened a few months into my placement and I wrote a program that automated incident management processes.
Room to explore and grow
As part of that coding task, it wasn’t clear which automation process would be best. I was given the time to test different code and experiment before deciding what was best practice.
My managers have really helped me grow, by giving me the space to experiment, pushing me to take on more responsibilities, and by answering my questions (or pointing me towards the people who can).
Creativity in 1s, 0s and people
What’s refreshing is that there are always opportunities to be creative.
Technology is fundamentally, very creative. And, when you have many specialisms working together, unexpected synergies appear between your ideas and how people normally deal with a problem.
At Lloyds Banking Group, it’s also very much about people; how they communicate and the innovations they work on to meet the changing needs of customers.
Becoming a citizen scientist
I’m now very passionate about getting into the technical details of machine learning, and am pushing myself to become a citizen scientist. It’s something my team leader has mentioned and it’s become a personal interest, as well as a professional one. In my interpretation, it’s about learning how to work with, and analyse Big Data on the job – rather than spending decades on a PhD, say.
For me, it’s about becoming an expert in my topic.
Making an impact now and in the future
While I’m only on my second placement, I hope to deliver really fascinating and innovative technology projects that help make people’s lives easier.
I’m also a new mentor with Lloyds Banking Group’s women’s network, Breakthrough. I’m excited about working with either female or male mentees who are looking for guidance too.