What is your name, age, location?
My name is Balwinder Anand, I’m 45 but look much younger, located in London.
What's your background?
Born and raised in east London, I had a state education, and went to RHBNC and QMW colleges, University of London for further education. I have a BSc Honours in Mathematics and an MSc in IT. I started working in IT as a Programmer in 1991, and worked in various roles related to creating software solutions for brokerage/securities systems. I’ve been working at BofAML for 17 years, and got married and had 2 kids during that time. The common thread throughout my education and career has been a lifelong love of problem solving.
What inspired you to become an IT Professional?
Because I’ve always enjoyed problem solving, I saw IT as a good avenue to apply my skills. When I started working the industry was in its infancy, and has grown and changed dramatically over the years, offering lots of new and exciting opportunities. If I was starting out again, I would still go into IT.
Please walk me through your day, what do you do at your company?
I work on analysing and providing solutions for a large system infrastructure which handles the processing of securities transactions. My work is varied and can range from investigating Production issues, to analysing brand new enhancements. The only constant in our business is change, so there is always work to do. Every day is different, but on a typical day, I might co-ordinate actions between my immediate team and other teams to achieve desired outcomes or solve user problems. This involves lots of communication via phone, email, chat tools, meetings including Telepresence, which is a room with large screens where I can see & talk with people in other locations, typically Japan, Singapore and US. Problem solving often involves some detective work in the systems, so I can also spend time writing SQL queries and interrogating databases.
Can you see yourself in ten years doing the same thing you do now?
Absolutely. I love talking to people, and I have met and continue to meet great people as part of my work. The system solutions we implement are used by other teams at the bank located in various regions around the world. I love chatting to these people and I love the feeling when changes are implemented successfully, creating positive impact for them.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Do the things that scare you the most - in my case this is presenting. The sense of achievement you get is greater than it is for things that come easily.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned in the last year?
That someone like me who has spent a long time in an IT environment has a lot to offer to people who are thinking about their future careers, which I hadn’t really appreciated before.
And what are your plans for the future?
I love traveling, and am veering towards projects and responsibilities that allow for this. As my children are older, they are more self sufficient, so it is easier to accommodate.
If you could do one thing differently, what would it be?
I would have looked at opportunities to work abroad before I settled down and had kids. Basically I would have been braver.
Any advice for your local/global Geekettes?
Work on your soft skills like communication, presenting and organising. Step outside of your comfort zone, and put yourself forward for responsibilities you might normally avoid. This will help build confidence and self esteem, and you may surprise yourself by what you are able to achieve.