DBS has appointed Accenture technology consultant Wan Mohd Fairuz as its programme director for core banking and API (application programming interface). His move comes as several banks in Asia start to ramp up their recruitment of people with API expertise.
Fairuz joined Accenture’s technology team in Kuala Lumpur in 2010 as an analyst, shortly after he completed an engineering degree from French university ENSEEIHT. He rose steadily up the ranks and was promoted to senior manager in December 2017, according to his online profile.
Jobs within Fairuz’s field, API, are increasingly in demand as banks in Singapore and Hong Kong – including DBS, Standard Chartered and Citi – expand their teams. APIs essentially allow applications to communicate with one another. In a banking context, API teams (sometimes called ‘open banking’ or ‘ecosystems’ teams) develop partnerships with third-party providers such as fintech firms, allowing access to customer accounts, payments and other data, and in turn making banks less reliant on their own siloed digital channels.
This all means that API technologists like Fairuz must be good at communicating as well as programming. A current AVP-level API role at DBS, for example, demands stakeholder management skills alongside technical ones. Similarly, if you want to land OCBC’s middleware engineer API role, you’ll need strong interpersonal skills to complement your experience of TIBCO software products.
API-focused jobs are also found within broader technology teams. Citi’s Global Product Digital team is responsible for delivering open API applications, as well as mobile and internet ones. And API tasks are increasingly creeping into more generalist technology jobs. A current Stan Chart vacancy for a front-end developer demands that you “think API” and “build your front-end with generic primitives exposed to back-end developers through a clear API”.
Not all API-related jobs in Asia require you to code, however. DBS, for example, is currently looking for a VP-level Hong Kong-based candidate to develop and oversee API policy and governance, based on global best practices in the field.
The recent surge in API vacancies in Singapore and Hong Kong isn’t just a passing trend, says Jon Scheele, a former senior ANZ technologist who now works as a Singapore-based consultant. “This is just the start for open banking,” he says. “Expect to see more financial institutions and fintechs grow their API teams in the future.”
Several distinct types of API jobs are emerging, according to Scheele. API architects drive the technology roadmap and design patterns, for example. API-specific developers develop the bank’s core APIs, while developers outside the actual API unit build APIs for their own team’s services. API engineers, meanwhile, ensure the availability, maintenance and operational effectiveness of the API gateway and API management platform.
Image credit: Tomatopictures, Getty
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