"If I could travel back in time, this is what I’d tell myself"

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If I could travel back in time, this is what I’d tell myself

Max Chunsi is a Technology Engineering Graduate at Lloyds Banking Group. Here he gives his younger self a little advice

“Do the stuff that excites you”

Probably the most important thing I’ve learned is to make sure that you’re doing something you’re interested in – something you have a passion for. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of choosing a career path because you think the money will be good, or because you think it’ll look good on your CV. But this is something you could be doing for much of your life – if you can’t get excited and interested about what you’re doing, that will hold you back.

Discovering and becoming fully conscious of that has taken me a while – I wish I’d known it sooner. When I did my A-levels (Psychology, ICT and Maths), I was only really interested in the psychology. I know – I work in tech now, but at A-level I found the ICT quite dry and basic. Now I’m at LBG, I’ve started down a career route where I’m taking more of a psychological approach combined with the techy stuff I find interesting. We’re looking more at the user experience – how people interact with different parts of our apps, and how what we design can change people’s behaviour in positive ways.

“Don’t try and second guess your interviewers”

When it comes to applying and interviewing for jobs, it’s easy to try and second guess what organisations want to hear and try to be the perfect professional. I think you should focus on being yourself. Let your passions show and let your talent speak for itself. If you let the interviewer see that you’re keen, interested and genuine, they’ll have a better idea of the person they’re hiring, rather than their pre-rehearsed answers to some questions.

“The logic of coding is what counts, not the language.”

I’d definitely relax about what specific tech to focus on. Just knowing any major programming language will be a huge help. The details will always be different, but the logic is usually shared. It’s the skills you gain in thinking logically and problem solving that will help you when you start a career in tech. Personally, I learned Python at school and university and then JavaScript on the job. Now I use React.js and Redux.

In the future I think AI and the way we all interact with services is going to change a lot. With Covid, we were all stuck inside and many more people had to get onboard with mobile and online banking. In the future, I think this will only accelerate – our machine learning teams are already looking at ways to make online and mobile banking more personal. If we do this right, we will be able to help more vulnerable people who struggle with online banking as it stands.

“Don’t always judge organisations from the outside.”

I really wasn’t expecting to find myself working for a big bank. But what has really surprised me is just how big it actually is. The Group is made up of a dozen different businesses: we have around 26 million customers and a presence in most, if not all, communities across the UK. That means we have a massive impact on the everyday life of this country. It’s a big responsibility. In my work, I could be making it easier for a disabled person to access banking services, helping people find ways to deal with the cost of living, or improving financial literacy across the UK. There are almost 60,000 of us working behind the scenes to Help Britain Prosper.

“Put yourself out there.”

On a more personal level, I think my younger self would have been surprised to see me out as a gay man at work. I struggled with my sexuality for a few years and I was fortunate that I had such a supportive family and great friends around me to help me through it. Now, being part of the LGBTQ+ network (Rainbow), and going to events, plus the time I’ve spent with other colleagues like me has just been the most rewarding thing.

The single most important piece of advice I could give here is – get yourself out there, meet as many people as possible, build your network and discover your role models. It’s taken me a few months to find my feet and really get started, joining the Rainbow network, working on my development goals and so on. I think I could have pushed myself to do that a little sooner. Opportunities won’t always find you – sometimes you have to go looking for them. That’s especially important thinking of this from the perspective of a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but I think it’s good advice for everyone.

Imagine what's next for you and your career. Visit www.lloydsbankinggrouptalent.com to find out more.