That you don't have to be an IT professional to work in IT is proven by American-born Kaitlan McKinney. "I never expected to work in IT at a bank after studying Psychology", explains Kaitlan. Nevertheless, since December 2021, she has been working as a Junior Data Analyst at Rabobank and she participates in the Young Professional Program IT, also known as the YPP IT. "The variety of the program and my role as a data analyst is perfect. I learn a lot about myself, develop my technical skills and meet other young professionals. And because I work on software that helps detect fraud, I'm still working on people's behavior every day."
“I myself grew up in Florida and I wanted to study abroad. Since my family is half-Dutch, of course I immediately thought of the Netherlands. I took my bachelor’s degree in Psychology in Leiden and my master’s degree at the University of Amsterdam. During these studies I did a lot of research and I found out how much I enjoyed coming up with solutions based on data. I was looking for this in my future job.”
“But at a bank? I had never seriously considered that. I thought of a bank as having long days, firm deadlines and above all focus on results. Fortunately, I soon found out that there is precisely no such thing as a hustle culture in IT at Rabobank. There is a lot of attention here for employee wellbeing, which makes it very nice to work here as a young professional. The amount of work that comes your way is quite manageable.”
What does your role as a Young Professional look like?
“Three days a week I work with my team from the Department of Forensic Incidents Management. We develop software that helps detect fraud, money laundering and other financial crime. If you look at my background in psychology, surprisingly I see an important similarity there. Even though the content topics are very different, I’m still concerned with people’s behavior every day.”
“The other two days are dedicated to the Young Professional Program IT. One day I work on technical skills, such as programming in C#, Python and SQL. The next we’ll have a variety of trainings focused on my own personal development. One training I recently took is “Storytelling”. And pretty soon I will have a session of “Circle coaching”, along with other Young Professionals. During this session, we will discuss personal leadership and what that means for everyone. All this to discover what really matters to you in your work.”
Connecting with colleagues, inside and outside of work
“What I like a lot is that as colleagues we help each other. I feel supported by my team manager, to whom I can always turn with questions about my work. He knows exactly what is going on in the team. In addition, Young Professionals have a Talent Manager who helps with goal setting for personal development and soft skills.”
“I am participating in the Reverse Mentoring Program this year. During this program, you will be paired with a senior from another department to learn from each other. You coach each other. You talk about personal development, leadership and exchange views on management styles. That works very well. Despite a difference in age and type of work, you still run into the same things. Brainstorming about that gives so much energy!”
“Furthermore, during the Young Professional Program IT there is plenty of room for fun. Having drinks together or a bite to eat, my group of young professionals enjoys meeting up spontaneously after work. We also regularly sign up for the activities of one of the youth associations within Rabobank: I-Talent or Jong Rabo. It’s very easy to make new contacts and get to know people.”
Learning from different perspectives
“I never thought that I would work at a bank with my Psychology degree. But the funny thing is that this is the case for many young professionals in my team. We come from all over the world and everyone has studied something different: chemistry, biology and psychology, like me. This diversity in the group has many advantages: we learn from each other’s culture, knowledge and skills. As a result, we always approach the work from different perspectives.”
“What I find most valuable within Rabobank is the growth mindset. The focus on learning from each other and making each other better. Especially within the Young Professional Program IT. Making mistakes, asking questions, choosing for yourself what you want to get better at. Rabobank gives you the space to discover for yourself what you are good at and what you like.”
Also want to join the Young Professional Program?
Kaitlan explains how this works: “I applied via LinkedIn for an entry-level position at Rabobank and the recruiter contacted me immediately. She told me about the Young Professional Program IT and I got excited. I decided to apply for the data analyst position. This was followed by assessments, job interviews and I attended the selection day for the Young Professional Program. I was hired and thus began my adventure as a Young Professional IT!”