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capitec careers: derick schmidt, product head: client data platform

Derick Schmidt joined us in 2018 and was recently promoted. We caught up with him to find out more about his career journey at Capitec.

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Looking back, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I started programming at the age of 12. But even at that age, I knew I wanted to work with computers to solve challenging real-world business problems.

What did you end up studying?
I studied BEng Science (Computer Systems) at the University of Stellenbosch. My degree was a combination of electronic engineering, applied maths and computer science.

Can you tell us a little about your first job?
I grew up on a farm in the Free State, so my first job was actually helping my dad on the farm. Although this work experience was great, I realised it wouldn’t be the right kind when I was ready to join a tech company one day. Companies are looking for experience that proves you can do a job.

To solve this challenge, I offered to help the BSC Computer Department at the university for free. They happily obliged; I got my foot in the door and, in turn, got the experience I needed.

When did you join Capitec and what was your role?
I joined in February 2018 when a systems engineer position opened to work with the team that built the first version of the Cognitive Platform in Azure. This platform is used to create and host machine learning models. I jumped at the opportunity to work at Capitec and use real cloud technologies.

In October 2019, I moved into the role of solutions architect, where I was involved with building solutions in the cloud (Azure and AWS). My role focused on machine learning and big data.

Over the past 4 years we’ve built scalable solutions in a multi-cloud environment. Capitec’s official AWS journey began in 2020 and we now use cloud native tools to deliver faster, more reliable and cost-effective solutions for the bank and our clients.

We heard you were recently promoted. Tell us about your new role.
I was promoted to Product Head: Client Data Platform, and my role focuses primarily on client data, particularly on how it should be used responsibly and with consent from our clients. Our goal is to use our clients’ data to generate insights through machine learning and graph technologies to deliver relevant next best actions. These next best actions should be used to improve every client’s financial life.

How has the experience of working at Capitec been?
Capitec’s mission of putting clients first resonates with me because I’m passionate about improving other’s lives. I believe the inclusive, optimistic and forward-looking culture is at the heart of Capitec’s success.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Right here at Capitec, of course, taking on new challenges and continuing to make a difference in our clients' financial lives.

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