The Finance industry is huge, and is a mine field of products, institutions, exchanges, terminology, traditions and sectors.

Do you know your exotic swaps from your index linked bonds? Or your BRIC’s from your MINTs? What about the difference between the LSE and the LCH? Could you outline either a bilateral or multilateral net settlement? Would you risk not wearing a suit jacket to a meeting in the insurance industry?!

In my opinion, for a test team working at a financial institution it really is vital to have a strong balance of experience across both the technical and business or industry spectrum. Without having the technical testing skills the team would not be on site in the first place, but in order to really understand the project – and add value – then business experience within the client’s industry is equally as important… If not slightly more so.

In the Finance world there are many stages of a lifecycle, and there are a variety of different ways of performing what, on the face of it (to someone with no financial experience), are similar activities. For example, Trading and Settlement is defined as the exchange between counterparties of a product on a particular date. However, Foreign Exchange, Equities, Gilts, Derivatives, commodities (to name but a few) are all traded and settled in many different ways across many products, using distinct regulations across multiple regions.  A test team without financial experience, when discussing the scope of testing whilst applying an equity methodology to a derivative product, would lose face in front of the customer very quickly.

In the Testing world there are excellent testers who have spent their entire careers as a tester and are undoubtedly very well versed in the technical aspects of what they are doing. But, what is rare are testers with years of sound financial experience behind them, testers that have performed business roles for a number of years and have had exposure to day to day trading and settlement activities, systems, processes and procedures.

During the course of their business careers, these testers, with valuable industry experience, will have been involved with in-house projects, performed UAT roles and therefore have a good knowledge of the tester’s role. When this day-to-day experience is added to a consultancy such as Sogeti then these testers who have spent time ‘in the field’, as it were, are able to act as a key point of contact for team members and other IT resources on the project (and those on other projects with similar clients), offering explanations, walkthroughs, validations and clarifications, rather than having to go to the business to ask questions in the first instance.

To give an example, on my current project I was able to use my previous experience, from having spent a number of years in business roles at well-known financial institutions, to identify a problem with the proposed model that had not been identified by the project. Using my knowledge and explaining the scenario with examples, I was able to get my message across and work with the BA’s and other stakeholders to come up with a viable solution (for those that are interested it related to bilateral net settlement).

I find it rewarding to be working in a role performing test management activities on a day to day basis, yet also be able to call on previous business experience at any time to add value to the role – passing on knowledge and examples to assist others, and growing into the technical aspects of the role to become a stronger all round test manager. And of course, our clients see value in this too – and not just in Finance, but across Telecommunications, Gaming and beyond.

To find out how Sogeti can help your organisation, why not take a look at our range of services?


Posted in: A testers viewpoint, Opinion, project management, Software testing, sogeti employees, Working in software testing      
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