How to get into IT: NAB interns share their paths to full-time roles

National Australia Bank wants to fill 1,500 IT roles in 2022 and is actively recruiting interns to do so.

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NAB

The National Australia Bank (NAB) internship program has trained 290 interns in 2021, both new entrants to the jobs market and people seeking to change careers or improve their skills. With NAB planning to fill as many as 1,500 technology roles across the bank in 2022, the program will accept 500 interns in 2022 to help achieve this goal. There are already 250 interns in the 2022 intake.

NAB has already hired about 60% of interns from previous intakes. Computerworld Australia spoke to two interns who secured IT positions at NAB via the internship program: Brenton Walker, who joined as an intern in 2018 and is now a tech lead training interns like he once was, and Katerina Matveeva, who migrated to Australia in 2015, joined the program in 2021 and is now an associate engineer at NAB.

From software engineer student to tech lead at NAB

Brenton Walker, 27, was heading into the final year of his degree with Deakin University when he joined the NAB internship program. Walker was studying mechanical engineering but during a project he found a stronger interest in software engineering, so he asked his university advisor if there were any software engineering internships open. That is how he learned of NAB’s program.

NAB interns can choose where to start in the program. For Walker, that was in performance engineering, working on testing performance. Because that work was closely connected to software application development, he was given a choice to focus on development alone. During the internship, Walker had hands-on experience working with two other people at NAB to develop a new application that would replace legacy Oracle apps.

brenton walker thumbnail NAB/Brenton Walker

Brenton Walker

Walker tells Computerworld Australia that the program is very flexible and that if the app development side had not worked out his manager would have approached him to check what other options he was interested to explore before choosing a definitive one. “The main thing was the autonomy to be able to learn and grow at my own speed as well without being blocked by anything because you're an intern or anything. There was nothing like that,” Walker says.

He also had a senior developer as a mentor as well as his manager to go to as a “safety net”. “I definitely got that support network,” Walker says, “But for me, the biggest thing that really pushed me along was just being able to learn at my own pace.”

Nine months into the internship, Walker’s manager approached him to ask if he was interested in pursuing a career with NAB. Walker was happy to continue, and his NAB manager knew he needed six months to finish his degree so offered him the flexibility to do that while working full-time, by using extra leave that the bank provides for study purposes.

Today, Walker is a tech lead at NAB, managing 12 people who include two interns like he once was. He works in the business-lending technology area, focused on contract generation and digital documents.

From hospitality to associate engineer at NAB

Katerina Matveeva, 45, had spent five years working in hospitality until she realised her passion was in IT. Matveeva has a computer science degree with the University of Saint Petersburg and had worked in IT support back in Russia, but she understood that after five years in a completely different industry she had to go back and update her skills.

She did a 12-week bootcamp in software engineering at global technology educator General Assembly. GA offered a career coach who helped her look at internships, trainee programs, and other entry-level opportunities. Rather than sending out 20 résumés a day,

katerinam 2 NAB/Katerina Matveeva

Katerina Matveeva

decided to take a more focused approach. One internship she learned about was NAB’s, and while researching about the organisation she found she related to NAB’s values, especially around culture and diversity.

After applying, she joined the program in 2021 in quality engineering in the customer establishment team—which focuses on the first step of a customer onboarding process—working on testing. That was the challenge she was looking for.

“Straight away I was involved in enterprise-wide projects. You learn by doing so, it's really a great experience. You are involved in real projects, it's not just some training but real work experience,” Matveeva tells Computerworld Australia.

Like Walker, Matveeva was offered opportunities to explore other areas and learn. When she joined the program, there was a large group of people that she could observe, which gave her enough information to choose quality engineering. Monthly catchup meetings with her manager reinforced that choice, because both agreed that as she was happy it was good to focus on that area and grow her knowledge.

Within her testing focus, she was able to explore different aspects. Interns were encouraged to help out on other projects once they completed their current assignment; as a result, they would work on multiple projects and be able to see the bigger picture.

Today, Matveeva is on her way to get her software testing qualification from the International Software Testing Qualifications Board. And she has started her full-time role with NAB as an associate engineer.

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