With hackathons, U.S. Bank brings together technologists and business experts to develop solutions that meet client needs – this time, with payments
If you heard a competition judge say “wow” during your presentation, you’d probably feel quite confident in your shot at winning. Tim Walker, a principal engineer, says he’ll never forget that moment at last week’s U.S. Bank hackathon.
“The other judge looked and said, ‘You’re not supposed to say that out loud,’” Walker laughed. “It was probably my favorite thing that happened to our team aside from winning.”
Walker’s team, which included Andy Hanson, a software engineer, and David Zhang, a senior software engineer, won first place at a two-day hackathon hosted by U.S. Bank with the support of Microsoft at its training center in Minneapolis.
The trio competed against 60 of their fellow engineers, while partnering with U.S. Bank payments business experts, to solve real-world customer problems. Together, they used Microsoft Azure – the bank’s primary cloud service provider – to produce tangible solutions that demonstrate how payments functionality could be embedded within Microsoft Teams.
“U.S. Bank is steadily focused on how the way we pay is evolving. It’s becoming increasingly simple and convenient and is often embedded in software people use every day, like Microsoft Teams,” said Rachel Hansen, chief information officer of Payments Technology. “This hackathon had that future state in mind, with a focus on providing customers a choice in how they pay or for business customers to be able to offer simple and easy payment options to their customers.”
For engineers like Zhang, the business examples provided by the payments business experts gave all the engineering teams a motivating start.
“The use cases that the payments business shared with us opened my eyes to new examples of how cloud technology can really help our clients," he said. "Working with cloud in this way has helped me see why it’s important that, even as part of our daily routines, we need to keep learning, so we, as technologists, can better solve existing business problems.”
“Also, we have thousands of technology employees at U.S. Bank, so the hackathon provided a wide-open space to listen to some of them and come up with fresh ideas that inform what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis,” Walker said.
Their first-place idea will now be vetted by additional U.S. Bank experts to see what’s needed to get it to the next step: clients. For Walker, it’s beyond gratifying to know his team’s work could directly impact the millions of clients who depend daily on U.S. Bank for industry-leading, innovative and resilient technology.
“It’s fun and energizing to see what’s possible with new technology, like cloud. There were some pretty good ideas and strong technical teams behind them, so it was amazing to pull it off and win first place,” he said. “But, there’s nothing more exciting than to see people benefit from something you’ve produced – that is the ultimate satisfaction.”
If you’re interested in starting a career in technology at U.S. Bank, you can find all open roles at careers.usbank.com/technology-careers.
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