From archaeology to IT
‘After I’d finished my secondary school exams, I still didn’t really have an idea of what I wanted to do. One thing was certain and that was that it had to be something I found interesting. I used to visit Rome with my parents when I was younger. I was fascinated by classical antiquity and that’s how I ended up studying archaeology. But I soon realised that this was a pretty academic and static world with limited prospects. That’s when I started to focus on IT. It wasn’t entirely unexpected because I was always working on computers at home, and when I studied archaeology, I had also built databases. I enjoy analytical thinking with an eye for detail and that’s true of my current job too. Because a difference of just one letter can make or break an application.’

Intelligent chatbots
‘When I joined NN as an IT worker, I knew relatively little about it. But I’m somebody who likes to change things up, who suits the kind of environment where you need to make new things for customers. I noticed that it gave me a lot of energy. And then you develop quickly. I now work as IT Lead Chatbots & Conversational Interfaces at Customer & Commerce. This business unit plays a key role in making our financial services more personal and relevant. My work includes integrating chatbots into our portals and NN app. Chatbots are automated discussion partners that help our customers 24/7 to find the right answers to their questions as quickly as possible. Now that chatbots have become common use, the challenge is to make them more and more intelligent by using data smartly so that they’re also better at answering complicated questions.’

Flat organisation, self-directed teams
‘NN’s Customer & Commerce business unit is switching to a new, agile organisation structure with fewer managers and so more responsibilities in the teams. This will allow us to take more of our own decisions and work more quickly and efficiently. I’m very happy with this step. The vacancies that have opened up in our team mean that we have the opportunity to recruit the expertise we need.’

We share our problems and successes
‘You’re also given personal responsibility here from the outset. If you haven’t got very much IT experience to begin with, it’s challenging of course, but NN gives you plenty of scope for personal development. I can spend 20 per cent of my time on this, which allows me to explore new technology, take courses and visit conferences. The NN Young Professionals network also contributes to my development. Colleagues under 35 years of age from a range of disciplines and business units get together to share their problems and successes. It’s really educational and enjoyable. The programme also keeps me on my toes and gives me an understanding of what’s going on in the world of NN.’

Start-up with pioneering mentality
‘Our team is also very sociable. We get to do fun things outside of work which fosters a positive atmosphere and that’s important for team building. The whole team enjoys experimenting with new functionalities and we’re given the freedom to do this. Pioneering suits me and brings great benefits. If things go wrong, well they go wrong and we simply come up with another solution.’

Music and marathons
‘My girlfriend and I like to travel a lot and I always make short films of our trips. I add one of my own tunes to the films because I enjoy making music digitally. I took a music production course to allow me to do this. I also play the guitar, acoustic and electric, and every now and then I have a go on our piano. It’s the kind of unconstrained life I also have at NN. I have plenty of opportunities to be myself. In addition to work, NN also offers opportunities for personal development. For example, I ran the Egmond half-marathon at the beginning of the year. NN is the event’s main sponsor. The organisation was top-notch. I just had to turn up on the starting line. A running event like this definitely contributes to your personal development.’