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From intern to Director

Name: Kyle S.
Job Title: Director, Cloud Security, Business Technology

I’ve been with Discover since 2005—started as an intern! When I’m not thinking about how to secure the cloud, I enjoy time with my lovely wife and our dog. When left to my own device, I follow the latest trends in pop culture and tabletop gaming. I have a great love for telling narrative stories and as such enjoy rolling twenty-sided dice to slay dragons.

How did you land at Discover?

I went to school at Illinois State University for a degree in Computer Science. I was introduced to Discover through one of the school’s numerous job fairs. The Discover intern program at the time was ahead of the other companies at the fair, providing intern events, housing and friendly people. I made my decision to do whatever I could to get an internship opportunity at Discover. Anything to get my foot in the door and I’m very happy that Discover saw something in me and offered me an internship.

I’ve had many different roles throughout my career at Discover. Currently, I am a Director of Cloud Security but just before that I was the product manager and people leader of our Cloud Cybersecurity teams. I guide our cloud cybersecurity strategy, act as a cloud security consultant for the enterprise, and coach a wonderful group of engineers who build out incredible cybersecurity cloud products.

Great experiences, Great Work, Great People

I’ve had numerous great experiences throughout my career at Discover. During my internship, I learned how to network with peers and I made some life-long friends in the process. That network has continued to serve as a support system throughout my time at Discover.

One moment I’m particularly proud of is helping to organize the Robocar Rally. This event helped demonstrate the benefits of cloud computing and machine learning. What started off as an idea from a small piece of feedback, turned into a wonderful learning experience on our campus. We had folks in the upper levels of the building watching the Robocar car track on the ground floor!

While this is just one example, the most common factor to all of the great experiences I’ve had at Discover is the people. I’ve met so many fascinating folks from around the company and it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with such awesome and amazing people.

The difference is in the cloud… cyber cloud that is!

While our team’s contributions may be behind the scenes, I view our team as enablers. For example, when we recognized that security misconfigurations in the cloud could open the door for security threats, we typically tackle this issue by looking into the commercial marketplace for solutions and the products at the time were uninspiring.  So in the spirit of innovation and investing in our talent, we decided to build our own solution!

Our product accomplished a few things. It gave our enterprise developers a set of security guardrails to operate within when deploying infrastructure to the cloud – nearly frictionless cybersecurity. It skilled up our engineering team with cloud security knowledge that will be required as our cloud adoption increases. It also demonstrated the spirit of innovation that Discover promotes – as the product has been recognized by the cloud security community and our cloud providers.

Build more than tech

From a technical skill standpoint, the freedom to pursue new opportunities internally at Discover has enabled me to gain skill sets across test automation, IT operations, systems administration and infrastructure architecture to build a solid foundation for my current role in cybersecurity.

From a development standpoint, wearing different hats and working with numerous teams helped build my people leadership experience. There’s an old metaphor I say often: “I stand on the shoulders of giants.” I have had great mentors throughout my career at Discover who knew what they had to do to push me forward. Whether telling a story, creating a vision or putting together a solution to tackle a complex problem, I’ve been able to exercise my talent for those skills at every opportunity I’ve had at Discover.

Build People:  Investing in them leads to successes

I believe what makes Discover different is our investment in our people. The ability and support to look for new opportunities internally is something I have taken advantage of and not experienced in previous companies. I’ve learned from those before me that investing in our talent yields long term benefits. In retrospect, every sound and rewarding decision I’ve made was made with an eye on talent investment. It’s a common theme in our success.

How is your work and the work of your department meaningful?

Taking care of the security of our customer’s data is integral to all that we do. The talented group of folks I get to work with everyday deliver cybersecurity innovation to enable our business while being relentless in the pursuit to protect our customers and our brand.

If you want to be part of a community of builders, if you want a company that invests in you, if you want to create things that matter, if you want the freedom to express yourself in the work that you do – Discover is the place to be.

We also have great benefits and a remote work-at-home program.

 

 

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Scrum Master for Two Teams

Name: Cynthia D.
Job Title: BT Scrum Master

Aligning on values

I first joined Discover in April 2016 as a part of the Business Technology (BT) Risk and Compliance team. At the time, I was looking for a company that provides its employees with good work-life balance, has values, is going in a direction I agree with, and has amazing people. Discover marked all the boxes and today, I am the Scrum Master for two teams, the Authentication Infrastructure team and the Identity & Directory Services team.

Tools for self-discovery

Discover gives us so many great resources and opportunities to advance our career and networks—both professional and personal. From the Development Central training portal to one-on-one conversations with leadership, I feel I have the opportunity to figure out how I want to grow my career which is very important to me.

I’d like to say that I’m in a unique position—I have a business degree and experience in both technical and risk areas. This combination significantly helps me in my current role as a Scrum Master, as well as bringing a different perspective to the table. Having been an engineer for a few years, I understand the processes and can relate to team members. They also don’t need to explain technical details to me, because I was once in their shoes. On the other hand, my business degree and risk experience give me a unique perspective from my peers and I ask questions and look at situations differently. For instance, I always ask – “How can we communicate this change so our end users fully understand and don’t require follow-up questions?” This saves us time in development and ensures we deliver a quality product.

An opportunity to fall in love

This year, I transitioned from being an engineer into my current role—a Scrum Master and I absolutely love it.  This role keeps me in the technical world and allows me to help enhance current processes, shield my team from distractions and interruptions, and help them become more efficient and effective in everyday work.

Hard work pays off

I love that Discover gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the great work our peers do through various channels, including recognition points to peers and the President’s Award. The greatest award to me is the acknowledgment and appreciation for the work that we do every day. So, when I was nominated and won the President’s Award last year, it meant so much to me that my passion and efforts were not going unnoticed.

Coworkers worth celebrating

As cliché as it sounds, it’s the people who keep me here at Discover. I have gained so many friends as well as grown into the person I am today. At my wedding, I had a whole table full of my Discover friends, and though I’ve only been here for a few years, I have made lifelong friends.

In Corporate America, it’s difficult to find a company that truly cares about you as an individual. Not only is Discover one of those rare companies, but Discover also has company values and beliefs that prove it is looking out for its employees and customers.

 

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Support, Innovate, and Embrace

Name: Nnaemeka O.
Job Title: BT Senior Manager

Supporting the company

At Discover, my team helps enable enterprise planning capabilities across the company by bridging business and process thinking with technology. My team builds capabilities that help manage our portfolio of work as well as creating strategic reporting. With this in mind, we are constantly collaborating with stakeholders across the business who manage and deliver enterprise initiatives. Working with these individuals, coupled with the new technologies I have learned, provides me with an improved understanding of the financial services industry and the impact we can make in the lives of our customers.

Bold, innovative ideas

I love my job because I’m always meeting with creative thinkers. Discover does a great job enabling people to think creatively and bring ideas to the forefront. Innovation is core to the future strategy of our company and enabling our bold thinkers creates positive change and a collaborative environment. I appreciate having the platform to bring my ideas to the table. By contributing my perspective, it allows me to be true to myself while delivering new technology and capabilities to our organization.

A company that leads and embraces

I’ve worked at large companies, and yes, Discover is a large company; however, there is a strong sense of community and truly owning “doing right” by our customers. Discover is a leading company within the financial services industry that embraces and values diversity in its employees. We are encouraged to challenge the status quo and to contribute improvements that deliver an amazing experience for our customers.

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Craft Brewery Supporter. Volleyball Player. Software Developer.

Name: Nick O.
Job Title: Software Developer, Business Technology

A winding path to the right place

Near the end of my college career, I attended a technology career fair hosted by my University. I remember being flooded with nerves, hoping to land at least one interview. This is where I met Olga Zhornitsky in Human Resources, who invited me to visit Discover for Candidate’s Day. Olga showed me how unique Discover’s culture was, and how great of a company Discover is to work for. Even though I didn’t end up becoming an intern, Olga would continue to reach out to see how my classes were going. To my surprise, she would also continue to search for possible positions for me at Discover, and after graduation she brought me in to interview for my current position. Olga’s interest in me made me truly feel valued, and after my experience with her, I knew that Discover was the right place for me.

Keeping customers in mind

The work my team and I are doing, as well as the work our department is doing, is very meaningful to not only our company, but to our customers. Everything our department produces, whether directly or indirectly, is concerned with improving our customer experience. By simplifying and improving our customer service system, agents can focus on providing the best support to our customers. A good example of this was when I visited the Phoenix call center. I was able to shadow a few agents who have access to the new system. It was amazing to see how much faster an agent could resolve a customer’s issue in this system compared to the old one. For the first time, I was able to see how meaningful my work really is to Discover and our agents.

Keeping coworkers in mind

Whenever an opportunity arises, I love getting involved at Discover and meeting new people. Some examples of this include being a buddy and mentor for technology interns, participating in a panel for new employees to share experiences, helping out at career fairs and even joining a sand volleyball team. As a Discover employee, it doesn’t matter what you do or where you are located, we are one giant family that works together.

Keeping the community in mind

One of the best experiences I’ve had at Discover was when I was a leader for the Business Technology Volunteer Day. My job was to lead a group of six volunteers to accomplish one of the many tasks for fixing up a few schools in the community. It was incredible to see 600 Discover employees drastically improve the learning conditions for the students. I observed how much work Discover puts into planning these events and how passionate Discover employees are about volunteering. This is one of my favorite days of the year because of how much help we provide.

Growing with the company

Discover has helped with my professional development by providing access to training and development opportunities. I have taken several onsite technical training classes and a few professional skills classes. The technical ones were great opportunities to learn about some of the different technologies we use at Discover. These were especially beneficial when I first started because they provided me with exposure I might not have received from college. In addition, the professional skills classes offered practice for handling various work-related scenarios that I may encounter in the future. Discover offers its employees so many opportunities to grow and learn and at the same time provides a great work-life balance.

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Linking machines to learning.

Name: Suvadeep
Job Title: Senior Manager, Data Science

I manage analytics efforts for paid search and media channels for card acquisition. For my PhD dissertation I worked on the big bang machine in Geneva, Switzerland that led to the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle. After working at Fermilab for eight years, I decided to make a career move and join the exciting world of data science. That led me to the position of Data Science Manager in the Supply Chain and Optimization team at Sears Holdings Corp. Two years ago, I was hired at Discover to run a data science team to provide advanced analytical solutions for different businesses.

 

How has Discover helped you in regards to Professional Development?

The open ambience at Discover fosters collaboration. Working with various business units gave me a broad knowledge about different functions within the Discover ecosystem. After being part of the Analytics Lighthouse leadership team, I started directly interacting with Card Marketing Acquisition and have been involved in determining the long term road-map. Lighthouse has given me the exposure to work directly with senior leadership, which sharpened my communication and conflict management skills, and ability to handle crucial conversations. I consider these to be key elements in shaping my professional development.

Tell us about a great experience you’ve had so far here.

Prior to joining Acquisition, I’ve gotten to work with three different business teams—card operations, credit risk and card member assistance—a highlight of that was a visit to our Lake Park office in Salt Lake City, UT. I went on a live call listening program with a team of analysts from Customer Service & Engagement. I got to see how the field agents handle complex calls with ease. At that time, I was working on a machine-learning model to score customer call qualities using recorded transcripts from historical calls. The live listening and interaction with the field agents offered a fresh perspective to what the business really needs. During the trip, I could connect how the work I was involved in can make a difference in improving our cardmembers’ experience.

 

How are your work and the work of your department meaningful?

We are constantly pushing boundaries by seeking cutting edge, best in class technology to drive operational efficiency and speed to market. Having adopted the Discover Management System (DMS) principals, our department is building capabilities within teams and empowering members to make key decisions.  My team is playing its part in having an immediate impact towards driving profitable growth through paid digital channels and improving our customers’ journey through personalization.

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