Meet Swapna Alladi, Senior Infrastructure Engineer

Swapna Alladi allica bank

Tell us about what you do here at Allica

I’m a senior engineer in the technology infrastructure team. My job is to manage the hardware and software systems used by our technology team and people across the business.

Think about it like a building site. I make sure our team have the best tools and working environment possible to develop the best products.

Here’s one example: if our developers want to use a new integration platform or tool, I’ll take care of its installation and configure it to work with Allica’s systems. This includes ensuring everything is optimised for efficiency and, of course, highly secure.

What led you to a career in technology?

We’re a family of doctors, teachers and civil servants. I’m actually the first to go down the engineering route. I always enjoyed computers and I was fortunate to get a place at the top computer science university in India. There was no turning back then!

What is it you enjoy about working in financial services?

It’s an industry that never stands still. Every quarter there’s another exciting project to work on. Fintech is so new, there’s always scope for innovation and implementing new ideas.

I also love the challenge presented by the need for ultra-reliable security, because we’re handling people’s money. Any innovation or feature we develop has to be paired with rock-solid protection measures.

What made you decide to join Allica Bank?

First of all, I was excited by the opportunity to work ‘in the cloud’. Something I’d always wanted to do. Added to that is the opportunity presented by working for a new bank. We've built a bank from scratch, so there are plenty of opportunities to make a mark.

I’ve already been given the freedom to explore – to come up with ideas. Several times I’ve proposed a new approach and senior management said ‘sure, go for it – give it a try’. I just think that’s such a refreshing attitude, especially in banking.

Tell us more about your team

There are nine of us that cover end-user support, network & security, and devops. Everyone really knows their stuff – I’m learning something new every day. It’s a collaborative atmosphere and we work really well as a team. My colleagues are supportive and helpful, and we all get on as people.

How was your experience of joining Allica during lockdown?

To be honest, I didn’t really notice as I worked partly from home at my last job. The onboarding process was seamless – so much so that I was up to speed and working on my first project a week later!

I’m really grateful for the way the senior management have looked after us during the pandemic. They regularly remind everyone to have a proper lunchbreak and take regular walks. They really do care about our mental and emotional health.

Also, I feel like I know my team really well, despite not having met any of them face-to-face yet. We have a stand-up meeting every day, we talk about our families and our social lives (what little we have of them!). There’s also a weekly all-company meeting that brings the entire organisation together.

Any exciting projects coming up?

We want our infrastructure stack to be as efficient as possible, and we have a number of plans to consolidate our development, testing and infrastructure activity.

This will significantly reduce our cost base, as we’ll no longer need to pay so many licence fees, and it’ll mean fewer servers and tools to upgrade and maintain. Also, because Microsoft Azure is cloud-based, the performance should see a serious boost, too.

What’s something you’re most proud of?

Mulesoft is an integration platform and a critical component for the business to run. We recently had to upgrade and configure its latest release and I designed and developed an automation with minimal downtime and a resilient process There was a lot riding on it because downtime means our developers can’t be productive and projects fall behind schedule.

However, the upgrade went smoothly and as a result of my automation script the whole process that would normally take a day was finished in just an hour.

What job did you want to have when you were growing up?

I wanted to be in the civil service – I’ve always felt a strong sense of civic responsibility. I spend a lot of my free time organising children’s charity services where I live. It’s hard for children of the Indian diaspora to connect with their culture, so a group of us lead them in craft activities that teach them about their roots.

The pandemic restrictions have been lifted. You’re given a week off and can do whatever you want. What are you doing?

I used to live in Singapore, so I’d love to take my family back there. It’s an amazing city.

Otherwise, I really enjoy cooking, so I’d try some new recipes – anything that’s veggie. And I’m also learning traditional Indian dance and could certainly do with some time to practice!

Finally, what would you say to someone considering a role at Allica Bank?

Oh, they should go for it. It’s an exciting, new venture with plenty of opportunity and a great culture. If you have a question you never have to chase an answer. Everyone’s really helpful, especially when you’re new.

Fancy joining the Allica Bank team? We'd love to hear from you! Check out our careers page to find out how.

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