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Embracing change and opportunities helps make a successful career

11 December 2018

Emily Diggins

Our colleagues drive innovation and change daily. Impacting the way we serve our customers and how we work together as colleagues. But success is not just about what you achieve, it’s about how you achieve it. Our Chief Operating Office (COO) recognises the value our colleagues bring, not just to their roles, but our culture and values. COO have recognised a number of exceptional women who have made a difference within Barclays, the industry, and the wider community through their impact and passion for change. Learn more about Emily Diggins and her experience developing and designing major solutions for Barclays.

Emily has been part of the success of Barclays through drive and determination, leading her team to make valuable improvements to our processes. In Emily’s professional life, she tries to follow some core principles: strive for excellence, put the customer first and lead by example. Her line manager, Kevin Cheng, Head of EQ Sales Trading Technology, told us how Emily is being a role model in her team: “Emily’s work, conduct and professionalism is an example to others. She sets the standard within the team, exemplifying a ‘leading by example’ attitude and true practice of Barclays values. In essence, she has established herself as a role model in many ways for others.”

We caught up with Emily about her work in Markets Execution Technology:

Tell us a bit about your career at Barclays

During my time at university studying Mathematics I was contemplating a career in computer science. I chose a final year project which combined mathematics and computer programming to create a simulation of the Enigma machine, a WWII cipher machine. My work on this simulation made it even clearer to me that programming would be a great career choice for me.

After completing my degree, I joined a consultancy in July 2011. My first project was at Barclays, where I joined the team working on an Equities Sales Trading system (Puma).  I started by working on a project that taught me in-depth computer science concepts, which I thoroughly enjoyed. After two and a half years, I transitioned to Barclays as a permanent member of staff.

Since then I have progressed from being a junior developer to being one of the team leads. I have really enjoyed working on real world challenges and have the ability to deliver commercial value on a trading application. My career at Barclays so far has provided me with many opportunities to make a difference.

What do you feel has been your biggest achievement/proudest moment during your time at Barclays?

I believe my biggest accomplishment is my journey from junior developer to team lead in a relatively short space of time. I achieved this through technical development, to the point where I now coach my team; through taking responsibility of both my work and my team’s deliverables; and through the trust I have cultivated with my peers and my management team. In the span of seven years, I have learnt to wear many hats, including developer, architect, project owner and business analyst, and I leverage this diverse experience every day.

Could you share with us a success story that illustrates how you are bringing the COO (Chief Operations Office) Mindset to life, through Customer Obsession or Winning as One Barclays?

One of the biggest projects that reflects Winning as One Barclays was the migration of US Cash Equities Sales to Puma. Leading the development of a core component whilst seated 3,000 miles away from my users was a significant challenge. The subsequent decommission of the legacy system has helped cut down the technical debt and operational risk tremendously. It has also helped the Equities business stay compliant with legal and regulatory requirements.

Could you tell us how your team are delivering value to customers and clients and Barclays as a whole?

I belong to the Markets Pre Trade transaction cycle, where our focus is to fulfil client trading, pricing, and hedging risk demands. We are also responsible for ensuring clients derive maximum value from their investments. Towards that end, we leverage operational efficiencies through cutting edge technologies and systems. At the same time, we work towards securing long-term and cohesive relationships with clients to generate organic revenues. In many ways, we operate as a face of the firm to our clients.

Is there a woman who has particularly inspired you? If so who and why?

My mum would have to be my role model. She had a fascinating career as a Fortran programmer, was a very well regarded English teacher, ran more than 40 marathons, swum the English Channel twice, and won the European Judo Championship. She has helped me to shape my character and I believe my programming roots have come from her.

Some of the life lessons that I have learnt from my mum are to believe in myself, remember that change is the only constant in this world, and be ready to take up any opportunities and challenges that come up in life. And most of all, enjoy it while you are at it.