Developers Cubed: What's It Like To Work As A Developer In A Big Bank?

Gizmodo’s Developers Cubed series offers a behind the scenes look into Australia’s up and coming dev scene. This week: we go inside the corporate monolith at ANZ Bank to talk a developer working on ANZ goMoney, one of the first local apps from the big four banks that allowed you to pay your mates via mobile. So what's it really like working inside a big four bank?

Who are you and where do you work? My name is Gregory Koteras and I work for ANZ. I am the Development Manager for mobile application delivery at ANZ based in Docklands, Melbourne. My role predominantly involves managing the iOS and Android developers and analysts in order to deliver mobile apps for our customers.

Why do we know you? What have you created? At ANZ we have developed the goMoney iOS and Android applications which allows our customers to check their balances, pay their bills, pay their friends via the pay to mobile functionality and transfer money between their accounts. With these applications we have really focused on creating a superior customer experience and making them as simple and intuitive to use as possible. Earlier in the month we launched ANZ FastPay which allows our customers to accept card payments via their iPhone or iPad.

What platforms do you develop for? Currently we are predominantly focusing on developing for the iOS and Android platforms but as the uptake and popularity of other platforms increases we will look into developing for them.

What are you working on right now? In the next few months we are finishing off a release for goMoney iOS which will add new functionality to the application. For goMoney Android we are looking at adding some features which were initially not included with the application to bring it on par with the iOS app and potentially include a few unique Android UX improvements.

Next year we are planning on delivering some major unique new functionality for goMoney iOS and Android which we are very excited about and additionally we are looking at improving the user interface for tablet devices. We are also looking at developing a brand new application for other customer segments within the bank.

What do you think about the rise and rise of App Stores? How has it influenced you? The app stores have provided us with a great mechanism for distributing apps to our customers. Any customer can search the Apple or Android store to locate a variety of ANZ applications and download the ones which are most relevant to them. Additionally the app stores have provided us with a very powerful feedback mechanism from our customers via the review ratings and comments. We regularly review customer feedback in the app stores and this helps us to prioritise which features we should focus on for future releases. Post any release/update of an app we review app store comments to gauge our customer satisfaction with the app released.

From a development perspective we have a separate iOS and Android team which means we can develop new functionality for both platforms in parallel. Where the app stores have really affected us is around the deployment of the apps. For our iOS apps, Apple has a long and strict approval process so we need to ensure we allow enough time for the apps to get through the whole process before we can publish them. For our Android apps we can publish them almost instantaneously as the Google approval process is very light.

One of the biggest challenges for us is keeping up with the ever changing environment for both iOS and Android. With both Apple and Google regularly releasing new versions of the operating systems, we are constantly retesting our applications to ensure that they function correctly and where required we deploy fixes. With the growing number of devices, form factors, resolutions and screen sizes we are constantly having to respond to the ever changing environment to ensure that our applications function as expected which can be quite challenging.

What’s your favourite app that you didn’t create? Two apps: firstly Fieldrunners 2, awesome graphics and a very addictive gameplay; secondly Bubble Bust, basic concept but very addictive and challenging gameplay.

What phone do you use? Why? Currently at work I carry iPhone 4S, iPad and Blackberry (work phone) but I am looking to upgrade the 4S to a 5 or a Galaxy S3. The Galaxy S3 has the beautiful large screen and I am a former Java developer so I'm excited about using a Java based OS but its really hard to move away from iOS and all the applications which I have downloaded over the years and I am currently using.

What advice do you have for budding Aussie developers out there? Firstly, make sure that you love what you do cause if you’re not passionate and enjoy development then you will struggle to become a truly outstanding developer. Also, whether you’re a developer working for ANZ or a self-employed dev it’s possible to develop truly outstanding apps get them published on the app stores and get people noticing you. Lastly, technology is constantly changing and as a developer you need to ensure that you’re keeping up to date with the latest technology trends otherwise you will be left behind.

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