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What do bank technologists do? A day in the life of a data engineer at UBS

Amy Graf is a data engineer at UBS’s London office. She joined the firm’s internal finance team in 2006 and is currently part of the global development of a new platform for regulatory reporting, within the Group Operations and Technology Office.

6am: I wake up and grab a coffee. If I have time, I get a workout in; if not, I’ll run to work to get some exercise in. It’s harder these days, with young children – I enjoy using this time now to get them up and ready for school.

8am: Off to work. If I did get a workout in, I’ll commute in and can check emails and Teams messages on the way, to get ahead of the imminent items that have come in from our APAC teams, as well as to set things up for my day. One of the benefits of being in a global team means our work can ‘follow the sun’ to keep things moving forwards. Otherwise, if I’m working from home, I usually drop the kids off at school.

9:15am: In the office. I usually grab some breakfast and start preparing to lead the team’s daily call at 9:45am.

9:45am: Team meeting. I work in team of experienced and multi-skilled individuals and close collaboration is key. The role I play is that of a scrum master. That means supporting the team when they are facing roadblocks. Is everyone in a position to be able to do the work that’s assigned to them? I’m not the person managing their challenges for them, but the person that acts as a facilitator and brings the right people together to collaborate and tackle the challenges. It also means, there are always multiple strands of work going on at once and whilst it can be challenging at times to co-ordinate, it is necessary to ensure delivery of our upcoming releases. 

10am: The meeting is over in 15 minutes flat. We like to keep it concise and take things off calls as soon as possible, and most of my next hour is spent following up with any items that arose during the call. There’s usually a follow-up with software engineers and analysts in the team that have objections. Our team is developing a new product designed to streamline reporting – teething issues are an inevitable part of the process. 

11am: There’s another call, this time with our external provider, who’s working together with us on the project. One of the parts of my role I enjoy most, is collaborating with many different stakeholders, to bring us to the best possible outcome. 

1pm: I spend the rest of this time following up from the morning’s meetings, especially our analysts’ comments, and then take my lunch break. Our team is a tight knit group, and we often spend the time together, going for walks or hitting up our favorite local Indian restaurant. If I’m in a bit of a rush for whatever reason, I head down to the 1st floor of the building: the UBS canteen. 

2pm: Back to work. My afternoons are quite ad hoc. Unlike the morning, any meetings after lunch will be more impromptu and the pace moves quickly. When something arises, I’ll schedule time to make sure it gets resolved in the right way. However we always make sure to schedule regular touch points with our end users, proving an update on our progress and giving them the opportunity to ask any questions and provide feedback. In addition, I spend time completing modules that are part of UBS’s Certified Engineers program, which offers a pathway to build technical knowledge and expertise. It’s a great way to keep skills sharp and learn new ones. As modules are completed, we earn badges and other recognition across the firm.   

3:30pm: I grab a coffee with a colleague I met in the Neurodiversity employee network. As a mum to children with autism, getting support from like-minded colleagues in the network has been fantastic. There’s a network for everyone here. The events and speaker series’ on offer are rewarding, insightful and inspiring.

6:00pm: Time to leave the office, usually. Sometimes earlier, sometimes later. If I need to pick up the kids, I’ll clock off earlier to do that and catch up with any emails I may have missed from home. One of the perks of working in this role is having the flexibility to adjust my hours to balance both family and work life.

6:30pm: If I leave the office early, I’ll spend some of the evening helping my son with his homework and putting the kids to bed – and I probably won’t be long into bed myself after them. Eight hours of sleep is a non-negotiable part of keeping myself productive.

If I have a bit of time off (or before I had kids!), I make the most of it – now it would mostly be to take an opportunity to see friends, and I used to also take the chance to go to the theatre with my mum - we’re both big fans of musicals, especially comedies.

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AUTHORZeno Toulon Reporter
  • Ph
    25 June 2024

    It's my firm belief that scrum master in IT should not be a dedicated role, i.e. it should not be something that someone does full-time. You cannot fully understand developers' problems without doing some of the work yourself. Instead scrum master should be a hat that one of the developers in the team wears for 6 to 12 months at a time; they'll still have JIRA cards (or whatever) to do but maybe only half the number the others have.

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