The bank for a changing world

Designer-developer, a key skillset for BNP Paribas

  • 30.09.2020

Apps, websites, business intelligence tools, etc. – there are countless digital systems and we all use them every day, customers and employees alike. And behind each system’s interface are the lines of code written by a designer-developer. A few years ago, BNP Paribas decided to train and help its employees acquire or expand these IT development skills. In this joint interview, we talk to Johane Marmai, who joined the BDDF design-development team in February 2020 after six months of training, and Philippe Mansard, who heads up La Fabrique, BNP Paribas’ in-house startup accelerator. They told us about their jobs and aspirations.

Johane Marmai, how did you return to a developer position?

Johane Marmai: La Fabrique put out a call for volunteers who wanted to reconnect with their initial professions. I applied and completed a training course comprising several practical exercises and a group project. I received a lot of support and encouragement all the way and rediscovered the joy of coding. Finding an elegant code solution is like solving a riddle. You feel a bit like a Sherlock Holmes for machines in this job! It is intellectually gratifying.

Philippe Mansard: What Johane has forgotten to mention, is that she came top of her class! We collaborate with EPITA, the computer engineering school, and organize two training sessions a year for 14 people each time. Although Covid has affected our schedule for 2020, the third session will kick off in November. It is not basic training, but an ambitious reskilling and retraining program with a strong focus on development in Java.

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“Thanks to the training set up by La Fabrique, I rediscovered the joy of coding!”

What projects are you working on now?

JMI am working on a new application that will enable us to retrieve the exchanges between our customers and advisors so we can understand what kind of information is sent and in which situations. It will allow us to make big data requests so we can improve our customer knowledge and offer tailored solutions.

After a few months in your new job, what are your first impressions?

JM: I like being able to move from one application or project to another and enjoy tackling new problems and coming across other unforeseen ones. The feedback from the teams we work with is very positive because we can do things quickly. That is because I already know the ecosystem, the banking environment… and BNP Paribas. It means we can handle requests promptly, for example, when a tool needs upgrading. In fact, we do not even use order forms, quotes etc., which is a big time-saver for our “in-house customers”.

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PM: The managers who have had the opportunity to use the teams trained at La Fabrique are delighted. The training is state-of-the-art and, as Johane said, the designer-developers have all the in-house background, which is invaluable – they know the teams, what the jobs involve, etc. It means they are right at the heart of all the high value-added systems and La Fabrique is a big contributor to this success.


What do you think the next step will be for you?

JM: I still have a lot to learn in this job. I need to get to know all the ecosystem’s specific characteristics. In a few years’ time, I hope to have gained enough experience of these issues to become tech-lead and serve as a go-to person for other developers. 


PM: In the past, to further their careers, developers became project managers, and then aspired to be managers. Now, we have decided to promote technical careers and expertise and offer developers the chance to advance without going into management. These days, you can stay in a technical career and enjoy the same salary and level of responsibility as a manager.

La Fabrique’s fundamental aim is to develop our teams’ skills throughout their careers and help bring them up to date

“You can stay in a technical career and enjoy the same salary and level of responsibility as a manager.”


Header : ©Halfpoint / Photo : ©monsitj


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