A major shortage of computer skills has hit South African banks hard

Messugga

Honorary Master
Joined
Sep 4, 2007
Messages
10,351
#22
Dear Bank,

I'll come head up a team but I want the following:
- I get to hire who I want
- We get to wear jeans and t-shirts
- I don't want to see the portfolio manager more than once a week
- We get complete say wrt to devops and release cycles (as in daily/hourly). Screw your CAB meetings.
- We want access to the production database so as not to rely on your MIA "DBA"
- High end gear (Macs, XPS etc)
- No Windows and no stupid limitations on network traffic
- Remote access so we can work from home a couple of days a week (nobody wants to work in the CBD or drive into Sandton)
- No limitations on where I can invest my money
- No limitations on where I must bank
- Minimum gaurenteed annual salary increases of prime + 2 excluding performance bonuses (4-5% just doesn't cut it) for the whole team.



No?
The more boutique banks have you covered on all but the increases. Our client base is the higher end of the market and we're getting hammered. Devs get to choose highend Dell or Macbook. Running modern stacks and frameworks, open to selection by devs as long as they make a plan to support or solve bugs. If you bring in an external library and it ****s up it's on you to fix it.
The model works well and the environment is good, but the finances just aren't there for the big increases. Such a pity as we're losing good guys. Can't blame them though.
 

Hamster

Resident Rodent
Joined
Aug 22, 2006
Messages
30,932
#24
Wait, they don't allow you to do that?
Investments they want you to use their platforms unless they don't provide a similar product. Investec is more relaxed but Standard Bank was anal about it. Even though I was a contractor through a development house they wanted me to stop my ABSA investment accounts and use OST.

They also only pay salaries into their own accounts.
 

Hamster

Resident Rodent
Joined
Aug 22, 2006
Messages
30,932
#25
The more boutique banks have you covered on all but the increases. Our client base is the higher end of the market and we're getting hammered. Devs get to choose highend Dell or Macbook. Running modern stacks and frameworks, open to selection by devs as long as they make a plan to support or solve bugs. If you bring in an external library and it ****s up it's on you to fix it.
The model works well and the environment is good, but the finances just aren't there for the big increases. Such a pity as we're losing good guys. Can't blame them though.
Which bank is this? Tyme/Africa?
 

phil77

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2016
Messages
254
#28
The problem with working for banks in my experience is dead wood. Old people who cant/won't adapt to newer technologies. They get paid a lot of money for resisting change.
 

CT_Biker

Expert Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2016
Messages
1,401
#29
Well what do you expect when you have the woeste education system in the world?
Hang on - before we go down this road. Let's look at the variables in play here.

Banks have legacy systems, some of them may be using COBOL/FORTRAN in production. I know for a fact that Capitec are using COLBOL. A large SA furniture chain still uses FORTRAN on their back end.

These legacy systems often do a lot the heavy lifting for the bank, even running tasks for ATM's as far as I have been told. Everything that is seen from a Tellers point of view is most likely view through an abstraction away from the legacy code by means of API - God alone knows how how this was achieved, and God in this case were the devs who designed that abstraction layer.

For a junior dev, who most likely was taught a bunch of math, Java, C, and maybe picked up some JS/Python along the way will most likely have no idea where to start. I have just started working in development and I would not want to dig through, even go near anything that interfaces with code that old, or even fiddle with the code from the abstraction layer.

Maybe banks should make their old code public to bring some exposure to the environment instead of introducing a Dev at interview time to a code base that should have been binned 10 years ago.

So before we say South Africans are stupid, the banking environment is an environment you don't just walk into.
 

Hamster

Resident Rodent
Joined
Aug 22, 2006
Messages
30,932
#31
Well what do you expect when you have the woeste education system in the world?
Banks provide a numbing and toxic environment to developers that can get better job satisfaction somewhere else.

They have so many levels of management each try to keep control of his little empire (read: step on the ladder). These guys are more often than not out of their depth or only plan on being there for a short period of time before getting promoted.

When I was there the portfolio manager was more interested in new features with showy frontends than fixing the mess that's underneath it all (I'll NEVER use OST). He had so many title promotions I lost count.

And then you had his PM friend who adjusted story points to fit the budget so that they could validate expenses and charge other business units more.

Then there was the time they decided to link story points to KPAs. That **** show lasted all but two months.

Then there was the time the portfolio manager (who has no development experience at all) forcing us to use code coverage to pass builds or not.

And let's not mention the countless agile agencies (or "process engineers" as they called themselves) like [REMOVED] they contracted in that knew nothing more than what they read in the latest Thoughtworks blog post to screw up a team. It was funny though - every now and again the team they were at jumped up and went into a meeting room. Turns out they had a brainstorming session every time somebody got stuck with code.

Banks are the worst.

EDIT: Let's not name call
 
Last edited:

Kryptonite

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2006
Messages
283
#32
I think the banks are going through so much change / automation / downscaling branches to move to digital it's honestly a nightmare.

I've been with one for 15 years now and the amount of change is simply incredible.

I think the biggest problem is that banks are not "IT companies" and it shows, the IT guys / dev's who do great things never get the same remuneration as the teams in trading / capital for example. They'll get there but everyone needs to realize that they should run their IT shop like a business, the minute we start doing that we will start getting more value out of the staff whilst improving the delivery to the company.
 

Aqua_lung

Honorary Master
Joined
Jul 16, 2004
Messages
16,992
#34
Dear Bank,

I'll come head up a team but I want the following:
- I get to hire who I want
- We get to wear jeans and t-shirts
- I don't want to see the portfolio manager more than once a week
- We get complete say wrt to devops and release cycles (as in daily/hourly). Screw your CAB meetings.
- We want access to the production database so as not to rely on your MIA "DBA"
- High end gear (Macs, XPS etc)
- No Windows and no stupid limitations on network traffic
- Remote access so we can work from home a couple of days a week (nobody wants to work in the CBD or drive into Sandton)
- No limitations on where I can invest my money
- No limitations on where I must bank
- Minimum gaurenteed annual salary increases of prime + 2 excluding performance bonuses (4-5% just doesn't cut it) for the whole team.



No?
Might as well create your own finance/bank startup, this is pie in the sky for the institutionalised.
 

The_Librarian

Another MyBB
Super Moderator
Joined
Nov 20, 2015
Messages
20,984
#35
Maybe I should open an account with Tymebank just to get a bank with newer technology... Capitec's still working for me atm.
 

Mrlepen

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 18, 2017
Messages
360
#36
Dear Bank,

I'll come head up a team but I want the following:
- I get to hire who I want
- We get to wear jeans and t-shirts
- I don't want to see the portfolio manager more than once a week
- We get complete say wrt to devops and release cycles (as in daily/hourly). Screw your CAB meetings.
- We want access to the production database so as not to rely on your MIA "DBA"
- High end gear (Macs, XPS etc)
- No Windows and no stupid limitations on network traffic
- Remote access so we can work from home a couple of days a week (nobody wants to work in the CBD or drive into Sandton)
- No limitations on where I can invest my money
- No limitations on where I must bank
- Minimum gaurenteed annual salary increases of prime + 2 excluding performance bonuses (4-5% just doesn't cut it) for the whole team.



No?
Well said
 

whatwhat

Executive Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2009
Messages
5,869
#37
Dear Bank,

I'll come head up a team but I want the following:
- I get to hire who I want
- We get to wear jeans and t-shirts
- I don't want to see the portfolio manager more than once a week
- We get complete say wrt to devops and release cycles (as in daily/hourly). Screw your CAB meetings.
- We want access to the production database so as not to rely on your MIA "DBA"
- High end gear (Macs, XPS etc)
- No Windows and no stupid limitations on network traffic
- Remote access so we can work from home a couple of days a week (nobody wants to work in the CBD or drive into Sandton)
- No limitations on where I can invest my money
- No limitations on where I must bank
- Minimum gaurenteed annual salary increases of prime + 2 excluding performance bonuses (4-5% just doesn't cut it) for the whole team.

No?
lol no. With PCI and other regulations you are not going anywhere near the production databases.
The door is that way --->
 

Moosedrool

Expert Member
Joined
May 24, 2012
Messages
4,566
#38
Dear Bank,

I'll come head up a team but I want the following:
- I get to hire who I want
- We get to wear jeans and t-shirts
- I don't want to see the portfolio manager more than once a week
- We get complete say wrt to devops and release cycles (as in daily/hourly). Screw your CAB meetings.
- We want access to the production database so as not to rely on your MIA "DBA"
- High end gear (Macs, XPS etc)
- No Windows and no stupid limitations on network traffic
- Remote access so we can work from home a couple of days a week (nobody wants to work in the CBD or drive into Sandton)
- No limitations on where I can invest my money
- No limitations on where I must bank
- Minimum gaurenteed annual salary increases of prime + 2 excluding performance bonuses (4-5% just doesn't cut it) for the whole team.



No?

-OK but we're paying you x and only x so choose wisely.
-Why? field techs sure but why the rest of you?
-Sure.
-Not a chance in hell unless you pay for the infrastructure and your changes doesn't touch our production.
-No happening.
-Then Buy it, also no Macs since our GPO is only catering for windows policies. This is your job btw...
-Read the above.
-OK but a warning. 60% of your staff is not going to be disciplined enough to pull their weight and the rest will carry it. Just a warning.
-OK
-OK miss out on the benefits.
-Nope you'll have to perform for that and we'll rate you like any other department.
 

Compton_effect

Honorary Master
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
11,574
#39
I was recently approached for a contractor position at a Financial Service Provider. They were urgently looking for staff and even asked if I knew of other developers. But they were only willing to match my current salary. A few inquiries found that that they had lost a large number of their staff and contractors in the past few months due to internal politics.

When I declined - they suddenly offered a 20% increase. That's when the alarm bells really went off.
 

The_Librarian

Another MyBB
Super Moderator
Joined
Nov 20, 2015
Messages
20,984
#40
I was recently approached for a contractor position at a Financial Service Provider. They were urgently looking for staff and even asked if I knew of other developers. But they were only willing to match my current salary. A few inquiries found that that they had lost a large number of their staff and contractors in the past few months due to internal politics.

When I declined - they suddenly offered a 20% increase. That's when the alarm bells really went off.
Bullet dodged.
 
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