After a traineeship at an IT business, where I learnt the most important database and programming languages over a couple of months, I was placed with Nationale-Nederlanden in a management role. I enjoyed the work and the contacts with my client and colleagues so much that I took up a permanent position in the organisation.

We work in an agile way. Our working day starts with a daily stand-up meeting and we work via two-weekly sprints during which we finish our work in order of priority. All my work involves technology. For example, I help build applications and test whether they’re working properly. At the moment, for example, I’m building a portal for customers who have accrued a pension with Nationale-Nederlanden, so that they can request a proposal for a pension benefit based on personal choices. This type of application is underpinned by lots of data and systems. It’s no wonder then that things sometimes go wrong. If we come across bugs, we try and solve them and ensure that they don’t happen again.

Our pension chain is large and complex. Just think about all the websites for our customers and advisers, the tooling we use internally to support our customers as best we can, and the underlying systems we use to administer the policies. All these systems can be old. After all, pension products and policies have often been around for years. At the same time, we’re innovating with new products, new technology and new systems. However, it’s not that easy to transfer old systems one by one to new systems or to integrate them. It’s fascinating to get a grip on this.

At Nationale-Nederlanden, each team has the specific skills needed to achieve the desired results. This results-driven approach really appeals to me. At the same time, it does mean we have to be flexible. We’re a DevOps organisation and it’s important that each member of a team has different skills in development and operations so that we can get results with a stable team. As a consequence of this approach, we interact well and everybody is engaged in innovating and creating as well as in the quality of the end result.

What also appeals to me is the collegiality, the sociability and the opportunities for personal development and to learn new skills. For example, if I say that I’d like to learn a specific programming language that’s a good fit for my work in the pension business, it’s always possible. I feel totally at home in an organisation in which IT really can make a difference.

Saskia Stekelenburg,
IT Engineer, Digital Teams Nationale-Nederlanden Life