DBS eyes AI and blockchain talent

DBS Bank plans to hire 150 developers and engineers skilled in artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain through its Hack2Hire programme.

Into its fourth edition, Hack2Hire is a virtual hackathon where participants are required to solve a range of business and technology problems that will test not only their technical competencies, but also their approach to problem solving and teamwork. Successful candidates will be invited for a final interview during the same event.

Hack2Hire was last organised in 2019 and was put on hold last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. DBS has hired about 120 people from the previous three runs of the programme.

Soh Siew Choo, DBS’s head of big data/AI and consumer banking technology, said: “With Covid-19 greatly accelerating the pace of digital adoption, it is now more important than ever to ensure that our digital offerings continue to stay ahead of our customers’ needs.

“At DBS, we are deeply absorbed in leveraging emerging technologies such as AI and blockchain to deliver intelligent, intuitive and invisible banking services. We have made significant strides in the past year, but the journey is only beginning, and we are looking to uncover high quality talent to join us as we shape the digital finance landscape and make banking joyful for our customers,” she added.

DBS has been applying AI and blockchain technologies in areas such as financial planning, wealth management, asset digitalisation and sustainability. Specific projects include a blockchain-backed digital asset ecosystem that offers corporate clients and accredited investors an integrated suite of solutions across the digital asset value chain.

In April 2020, DBS also launched DBS NAV Planner, a financial and retirement planning tool that leverages over 100 AI models to deliver personalised insights to 2.4 million users. The tool was recently upgraded with a new digital investment advisory feature that can determine individualised investment risk profiles and make specific recommendations. More than 30 million financial planning insights were delivered in 2020.

Michael Burchell-Davies, an engineering lead at DBS, joined the bank through the inaugural DBS Hack2Hire in 2017. Since then, he has been involved in complex projects to enhance DBS’s digital banking capabilities, including building machine learning operations infrastructure to operationalise the deployment of AI models across the bank.

Davies said: “As a Singaporean who has been following the local technology scene quite closely, I was intrigued by how a bank with decades of history was taking such a novel approach towards hiring. Having been with DBS for some time now, it’s gratifying to know that the innovation goes far beyond the hackathon.

“I see it every day at work, as my colleagues and I tackle new and exciting challenges to deliver the best possible digital banking services for our customers. It is very satisfying to solve large engineering challenges while applying the latest and greatest technology practices,” he added.

To provide applicants with a peek into life at DBS, the bank is organising a virtual Hack2Hire festival next month. This comprises a series of talks covering topics such as the DBS innovation engine, emerging technologies and the future of work and workspaces.

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