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We constantly have our sights set on the future

Emelie Tham and Alicia Nilsson

"We constantly have our sights set on the future" says Emelie Tham and Alicia Nilsson, who both work as DevOps Engineers within the Developer Experience Tribe at SEB. Here, they share more about the DevOps role, the techniques involved, and how their work contributes to shaping the bank’s journey into the future. 

After developing an interest in programming, Alicia chose to study computer science at Uppsala University. Through Talangjägarna, which focuses on recruiting newly graduated IT students, she came in contact with SEB. 

“That’s when I heard about the Developer Experience team, from which I got a very positive feeling. I also found it exciting to work for such a large company”, says Alicia, who has now been with SEB for three years. 

Emelie studied computer science at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and was, like Alicia, recruited to SEB through Talangjägarna almost 2.5 years ago. She explains: 

“It was really out of curiosity that I was drawn to this area, as I hadn’t learnt that much about DevOps during my studies. But I found the job tasks very interesting, and just like Alicia, I had a good gut feeling about the team.”

What does DevOps actually entail? 

“DevOps combines the Development and Operations teams, intending to work together to deploy their code in a faster and more secure way. However, DevOps is very broad, and within SEB alone, one can work with it in several different areas and teams. You can work on everything from creating pipelines to providing an entire platform. As a DevOps Engineer within Developer Experience, you work centrally and support all application teams within the bank. This is done by providing the services that SEB’s developers need to build, test, and deploy their code. Therefore, you could say that the bank’s developers are our primary customers”, Alicia explains.  

What technologies do you work with? 

“To achieve the most efficient development flow possible, we provide SEB’s developers with services such as GitHub, GitHub Actions, Artifactory, and SonarQube. We are responsible for hosting these services, ensuring that they function properly and are used as intended. To then manage infrastructure and automate operations, you can use additional tools such as Docker, Kubernetes, and Ansible. These tools help, among other things, to reduce the risk of manual errors when creating and scaling various servers, systems, or platforms”, says Emelie. 

What qualities are required to succeed as a DevOps Engineer? 

Emelie explains: “I would say curiosity is important. The DevOps field is growing rapidly, and there are many diverse technologies one can work with. Even though there was a lot to learn and take in at the beginning, it always works out as long as you’re someone who enjoys exploring and experimenting. Also, everyone on the team has been very understanding and supportive, and you always have someone by your side willing to explain and help.”

“I also think that enjoying collaboration is advantageous, especially since we, at Developer Experience, come into contact with so many different teams, each with completely different skills and experiences. Since our customers are the bank's developers, it becomes super important that we have a good relationship with them and understand their perspectives and problems, otherwise we can’t deliver good service”, says Alicia. 

What makes the role so interesting at SEB specifically? 

“Something I really like about SEB is that we constantly have our sights set on the future. The bank has many goals, such as the cloud journey, which requires all developers to be on board. Since our work directly impacts the bank’s developers, we also become a crucial component in securing SEB’s plans for the future,” Emelie explains. 

Alicia adds: “Absolutely! What we do becomes important down the line, and of course, that’s very rewarding. Plus, it’s also exciting how much you get to learn in the DevOps role. When I look back on my time at SEB, I realise how many different things I’ve done. And if you ever want to try something new, it’s very open, which is extra fun when you’re fresh out of school. So, it’s an incredibly varied job, and SEB is a fun workplace with a lot to offer.”


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