AN INTERVIEW WITH
AN INTERVIEW WITH
So, I’ve kind of always known about NCR and been interested in it. Fast forward to high school, I became interested in computer science and programming, so that’s when I decided I would pursue that at University. I completed my degree at the University of Dundee in computer science and as I was finishing up my last year, I started thinking about summer internships and obviously, NCR had been on my radar the entire time. After seeing open positions and applying, I got the summer internship and when I went back to University, I actually continued part-time as an intern with NCR. Now I am full-time as a software engineer and even though it’s only been a short period of being full-time, it has really been great.
That's essentially the reason I became interested in computer science—I like solving problems and finding creative solutions to address our problems. And I feel like NCR’s a really good company for that. I get to work on interesting problems and solve real issues that do actually affect our customers and people in the real world. I really enjoy that aspect of it.
Everyone who has spoken about it has said NCR is a great employer that really takes care of their staff and that there’s a really great atmosphere in the building— I had heard this from all sorts of places. As I got closer to the company after applying for the job, I began to meet my manager and different folks in HR who really sold the company to me. And even now, everyone I speak to says NCR is a great employer and in Dundee, there’s very much a culture of people who have worked in the office for a long time and held various different roles within the company. Every person you’ll speak to will say NCR is especially great for that reason—you can move around the company, there’s always different projects to do, everyone’s really nice and the company takes care of you. Specifically though, I was really interested in the role itself because the product I would be working on was really interesting to me from a technical aspect.
For example, if someone goes to an ATM and they're stuck, they need some help. Maybe they need to withdraw more cash than they're actually allowed or they’re just struggling to figure out how to use the ATM. Something they would normally need to go to a bank branch for, they can now press a button that calls a bank teller to help remotely.
I knew that this was going to be interesting from a technical aspect in the way the product is built and the programming languages and technologies used. So, technically, I found it very interesting, but I also really appreciated the fact that it’s quite a real world problem. For some programming jobs, you couldn’t explain to someone else what you’re actually doing because it’s so technical, whereas here, I actually see work that’s going to have a real-world impact that also involves an interesting problem I get to continue solving day-to-day as opposed to working on something I’ve never even heard of and couldn’t explain to someone else.
But through my job, I’ve had to speak to so many different people all around the world, thus, the job has helped my confidence a lot in that sense. For example, Mike Hayford, our CEO, actually visited Dundee in October and I got to demonstrate a project I had been working on to him— there’s nothing more nerve-racking. This really helped to bring me out of my shell socially. And technically, I’ve grown a huge amount as well. I get to work on such interesting problems that also involve very new technology— so, as a company, I feel like we are leading the way with the technologies and designs we’re choosing to use. For example, the technologies I get to use at work are much more advanced than what I would ever get to learn at University.
The hackathon is a two day event that is spent working on a project outside of your day-to-day job. My team and I were working on extending functionality to a project we had been working on within the ATM space. Essentially, we created a way to use a mobile phone as the call audio and microphone source when a consumer is receiving remote assistance on an ATM, so when someone runs into an issue using an ATM, they can use their phone to speak to the bank teller. It was such a rewarding feeling to accomplish this and see it being demonstrated and functioning with a real ATM because our team had not yet tackled this issue until now. What’s most exciting is that our team is actually planning to tackle this and put it into the production system so it feels great to know we paved the way to solve this problem for real-world customers.
We’re moving forward very quickly with the ATM project and with this new technology, there’s so much for me to learn. I work with people who have been doing this work for years and years so there’s always something to learn from them. Additionally, since so much of these technologies are so new, even my teammates with years of experience aren’t familiar with them yet, so there’s a lot for us to learn and I’m excited to keep growing and learning what the next six months has in store.
Coming in as an intern with silly questions, you would think that such a large company might be cold or intimidating. I was afraid to reach out to people above me, but I quickly learned you can ask anyone a question and they will give you a thoughtful, considerate answer. Out of everyone I’ve spoken to in the company, I've never crossed one person that I couldn’t describe as friendly. So, I’d say that’s the one word I’d use to describe NCR: friendly. It’s like a big family.
That’s the whole point of an internship: to learn and grow your skills. Personally, as an intern, I put so much pressure on myself. I didn’t want to ask silly questions and I wanted to get everything right all the time, but I realized that to actually do well, you need to accept that you don’t know everything, there’s going to be times you get stuck, there’s going to be things you don’t know and you have to learn to reach out for help when you need it. In my experience, no one has ever denied me help or judged me for not knowing how to do something. Just remember to be humble and ready to learn everything. Don’t come in with the mentality that you’re going to know everything. Just be prepared to learn and ask questions.
If I still feel stuck or unproductive, I think the best thing to do is take a break to switch off your mind, so you can return to it with a fresh pair of eyes. For me this might look like a walk or going to the gym. Once I’m ready to return, I really like to lean on the experience of my team if it’s a more complicated problem. There's rarely a problem I run into that a teammate hasn’t faced or can’t provide input on where to start, so whenever I am really stuck, I try to bring in people who have seen and solved similar problems.
I play golf as well. It’s a nice release after working at a desk all day and requires a lot of focus so I like getting to switch mental gears in this way.
Their responses gave me a very positive impression of the Company to begin with because they were all saying how great NCR was. Not only is there a rich history in Dundee, but it's also known as a great employer that cares for its employees. For all of my family members who worked at NCR, it was a great experience and when they left, it was all positive. It’s funny, too, because a lot of the things they told me about their time at NCR are still true to this day. For example, they described NCR as such a friendly place to work and they got along with their colleagues very well, often spending time together outside of work. It’s very impressive to see that this has stayed the same throughout all of the years.