Women in Tech (WiT): Hackathon heroes rise to the challenge
Credit Suisse Perspectives

Women in Tech (WiT): Hackathon heroes rise to the challenge

We believe in women and their power to disrupt the tech industry. We believe in the power of technological innovation to allow us to know, understand and create amazing solutions to the most urgent problems of today. At Credit Suisse, we are proud to celebrate the achievements of our women colleagues from India Technology team who prove that women can really do anything!

Cracking the Hackathon!

At Women in Tech (WiT) India Hackathon, titled CO[vi]DE Warriors, 425 teams in the country were set the challenge of devising solutions to some of the most pressing problems arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic. The brief was to develop a software, hardware, or an application with potential for daily use, whether it was to solve household problems or industry-specific issues.  A virtual collaboration during the pandemic, this event was the largest women-only hackathon in history. Over a span of four days, 3000+ talented women from across sectors collaborated to develop 'tech solutions to accelerate the new normal'.

Meet our team and their winning idea

At this WiT Hackathon, a team of four Credit Suisse colleagues from India Technology team were placed among the Top 15 entrants for their quick-thinking, tech-savvy solution: Shramik Bal, a mobile app designed to serve as an employment portal for the lower wage-earning segment of India’s labour force. Inspired by the incredible hard work and resilience of these workers, the team poured all their energy into alleviating the need for workers to move to far-away cities. The situation was exacerbated during the pandemic, and the team's aim for this hackathon was to minimize logistical challenges such as travel, food, and shelter. The team – made up of Minu, Neha, Bharati and Prajakta – competed against some of the brightest minds in their field for the prize of mentoring to develop their idea and bring it to the market.

The key to success in these competitions is anticipating future risks or complications in the initial design. For this hackathon, the team had daily scrums to collaborate smoothly and efficiently and used a mobile application tech stack DB2 – a product from IBM for Relational Database Management, and Java Spring Boot (STS IDE) to design a multilingual mobile application. They used Rest APIs, Ionic (VS CODE IDE) for developing the front-end framework, Maven for dependency management and GIT for version control and documentation. They also have plans to build in text-to-speech functionalities and scalability to their model.

Minu found the hackathon experience a rewarding challenge:

"We had to manage everything from inception to delivery within 36 hours while working from home and managing our day jobs and managing home. It gave us a unique opportunity to think like entrepreneurs creating our own venture which was an exhilarating experience. We received tremendous support from our managers at Credit Suisse and ultimately secured our place among the Top 15 teams in the grand finale, competing amongst 3000 participants and more than 400 teams from over 100 corporates across India."

Participating in a hackathon provides a platform for enhanced visibility and recognition that can sometimes be challenging to achieve while working day-to-day. It is an opportunity to really show the world what you can do.

What's it like to work in Technology at Credit Suisse?

Team member Neha joined Credit Suisse through our Real Returns Program following a break in her career, and says,

"My experience so far has been incredible".

She values the dialogue with senior colleagues and networking opportunities, and especially welcomes the great work-life balance Credit Suisse offers. She observes that a welcoming, egalitarian, and inclusive environment is crucial for every employee in the workplace:

"I feel a sense of belonging working in the Technology department at Credit Suisse, and this positive environment has contributed to my professional success."

For Neha, the culture of openness and excellence, and the recognition of outstanding performance can be summed up in three words describing her career journey: "Upward, Learning and Evolving".

Prajakta told us her job satisfaction comes from attaining a high level of functional and technical understanding of a particular domain as well as being part of an agile, driven team. Prajakta joined Credit Suisse after completing a degree in Computer Engineering and has been with the bank for three years. As a Full-Stack Developer, she has worked with a diverse range of teams and embraced the opportunities created through mentorship and the transparent working culture. She enjoys the environment at Credit Suisse that provides ever-more challenging and exciting opportunities to grow, express herself and be creative. All these factors have kept Prajakta focused on her career path in Technology, and she told us,

"Frequent and numerous initiatives within the team and at regional level have imbued confidence and a sense of community."

Minu started her career over 14 years ago and has worked in various multinational companies and global financial institutions, starting as a Developer and then as Business Analyst, Business Project Manager and Delivery and Program Manager. She has worked at Credit Suisse for three years and welcomes the enriching experience. Working in the Securities and Payments Program she has taken on interesting and challenging assignments and has also built and led large teams. She says,

"I have had incredible support and guidance from my senior leaders and mentors along the way."

Minu is looking forward to further developing her skills and a future of exciting opportunities as part of the communities supporting Innovation and Learning. She notes,

"Credit Suisse has an exceptionally positive, transparent and motivating work culture which gives us the confidence to express our views."

#ChangeTheGame at Credit Suisse

We are committed to ensuring greater representation of women in leadership positions at Credit Suisse and believe women-only hackathons and other initiatives offer a space for women to shine on their own terms in a supportive, creative environment. As a global leader in the financial services industry, Credit Suisse offers a wide range of career options for women in the tech field. Here are some ways in which we encourage the engineers and programmers of the future:

  • We partner with Code First Girls (Switzerland and United Kingdom) and Girls Who Code (United States) to help close the gender gap in tech.
  • Our INSPIRE Women in Technology (Hong Kong & Singapore) program nurtures female tech talent through mentorship.
  • We have supported our teams to enter the female-friendly Women++ and Let's Hack! 24-hour hackathons.
  • We have several learning communities and networks offering support and mentorship across the bank.
  • Inclusion, equality, and diversity are foundational values at the core of our organization.

­Minu, Neha, Bharati and Prajakta epitomize the excellence and determination we celebrate at Credit Suisse. They show us how they strive to #ChangeTheGame as they bring their best to solve the most pressing problems. At Credit Suisse, we are all proud to be part of the change we want to see.