'Women in Tech are the Ground Breakers!' - Sabine-Laura Tanase, Senior Analyst in the Quant and Valuation Team at Nykredit Bank

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Sabina Tanase is Senior Analyst in the Quant and Valuation Team at Nykredit Bank. We caught up with her ahead of European Women in Tech to tell us a bit about her role and experiences at Nykredit.

Tell us a bit about you

My name is Sabina Tanase and I am 33 years old.

I am the mother of three beautiful kids, aged 4, 6 and 9. I decided to start with my personal intro, because I think the personal, completely-subjective side of myself makes me the techy person I am 12 hours a day at work.
My kids are energetic, inventive and, for some unknown reason to myself, natural born lawyers: they debate everything with you until they get it their way. They always find a solution.

This is how I think of myself at work as well: inventive and always finding a solution. Technology has so many sides and so many shades, that it is impossible not to be able to make it work for your own industry or area. Technology nowadays is not a privilege, it is a requirement for everyday life.

I just find that many people are still averse towards technology and the advantages that technology can give us as a society, as a company, as a group. That is why I make it part of my daily challenge to make people warm up to technology, trying to change mindsets from mother-groups, to neighbors, from public schooling system to the bank I work in. 

What is a typical day at work like for you?

The typical day at work can be described within 2 words: organized chaos.

In a bank, every day is volatile. Today, you have a pretty good understanding of where you should be tomorrow, but when tomorrow hits, nothing is certain anymore, and all the calculations need to be redone.

You basically know what the direction is, the strategy you want to apply. That is the "organized" part of it. Everybody has the same strategy if you zoom out enough: to be relevant and to be profitable. So we all strive to work towards that direction.

But then everyday comes and hits us hard: new regulations, rumours about new regulations, past regulations, revisions, top important projects that takes all priorities, servers crashing, routers crashing, sftp-sites crashing, so on and so forth. This is the "chaos".

All of these are in a day's work. So there is no "typical" when describing my days at work. Every day is a challenge, a strive to be better, not only for ourselves but for our customers!

What excites you most about working in tech?

My personal point of view, as mentioned earlier, is that technology is a way of life. So, everything about the tech industry is exciting.

But if I really had to narrow it to one single thing, the it would probably be unity. The tech industry is very united, we all speak data, we all speak technology. And we share it.

Look at the bigger technological concepts in fashion nowadays: hadoop (and nosql databases), mapReduce, docker, git, svn, etc. - the ideas are all freeware. The real techy minds of our days understand that technology is not a commodity, and that we are nowhere near the point where our tech expansion is gonna flatten out.

Just the pure thought of how the world is going to be shaped in 20, 30, 50, 100 years puts goosebumps all over me. Technology is addictive, but the good kind - like eating ecological food :)

What would you say the best part is about working for Nykredit Bank?

Nykredit Bank is one of the very few of its kind, it lands in all the sweet spots of all the categories in the finance world: big enough to be a serious competitor, small enough that every employee counts and makes a difference; big enough that the customers are secure, small enough to get a fully personalized experience when dealing with Nykredit.

In Nykredit every single employee counts for Nykredits successes. We work as a team, we know each other, and we trust eachother, and we are so different!
This makes a very good working environment, where we are all giving it our best for Nykredit's customers.

In Nykredit we have freedom of finding our own solutions for the different problems that occur, while keeping it inline with the company and team policies. We do not have a "manual" on how problems should be fixed. That is why we go after the core problems, and we do not just temporarily solve the symptoms.

What advice would you give to women who currently work in the tech industry?

My advice to women who work in the tech industry is to keep up! I don't think it is a well enough acknowledged fact that being a woman is a hard job, but when you are a woman in a tech world, it is at least 50-75% harder. It is hard to be a woman, overwhelmed with hormones every month, it is hard to be a mom worries 24/7 for your kids, it is hard to be a wife and girlfriend, having to adhere to society's understanding of what a woman should do and how she should act. And then, if you are brave enough to choose to go into tech, then, you have to prove yourself 50-75% more than all the others around you usually. And it is not easy! So my advice, and my wish is that you keep up once you're in the tech! Keep up with technology, keep up with working harder, just keep up!

We are the ground breakers! What we do, and the fact that we work sometimes twice as hard is how we make our imprint on the tech of tomorrow.

Why have you decided to get involved with European Women in Tech?

I have been following the Women in Technology concepts for quite a while. I think it resonates quite well with my choice of considering technology a way of life. I think there should be more women coming forward in technology areas, but we should also remember that women should not get special treatment in IT departments.
I think women are wrongfully disregarded as IT competitors because of the possibility of motherhood. In my case, motherhood made me a better programmer, a better tech. But, statistically proven, many women do not return to tech jobs after having kids because society makes them feel inadequate.

I would like to stand up and say to all of the women that doubt themselves that they should at least try. Tech after maternity is not a taboo, it is an advantage!
And none the less, I am also inspired by all the women in the European Women in Tech event!

What will you be speaking about at the conference and why have you chosen this topic? 

At the conference, I will be speaking about the Agile process and ways of working.
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, the Agile process and ways of working has become a requirement for most of the companies.

Nevertheless, it seems that the Agile is a taste breaker, you either love it, and then you go all in, with retrospectives and all the other sessions every two weeks at least, until you get SAFe, of course. Or, on the other hand, you hate it, and then you do it, because your boss told you so, but you skip all the sessions, you have a backlog which is back dated, and so forth.

I want to talk about the possibility of changing the culture, and how to inspire the people to become Agile themselves, while doing the best software for your company with Domain Driven Development.

What would you say are the most notable ways in which technology has transformed the finance industry?

The finance industry is heavily based on technology and technologic advancements. I think the most notable technology to have impacted the financial area is AI in all its forms. From inside a bank's perspective, as a result of AI calculations and predictions on where the money is tomorrow, banks nowadays follow quite specialized workflows, having for example a separated buy and sell side in the same bank.

On the other side, looking from the outside of the bank, AI has shaped customer support. Robots go and troll the internet, find your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, find out who you are friends with, in order to firstly screen you and determine which risk group you belong to, but also to make you feel secure and in a familiar place when talking to the bank's people.

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