Exciting projects and team spirit since day one

My highlight was definitely my stopover in Frankfurt, because I had the chance to work with a great team on challenging projects.

Tell us about yourself and your experiences here at ING.

I started my IT traineeship at ING Turkey in 2017. During my first six months, I worked in the Application Development, Corporate Credits team and then decided to move to the Data Engineering team. During my last rotation, I had the chance to work in the Analytics team in Frankfurt for six months. The rotations helped me a lot to find out what I was really interested in, and to build my career on it.

Currently, I am working as a Data Engineer in the analytics department in Frankfurt. Our team consists of 15 people who are either Data Scientists or Data Engineers. As Data Engineers, we work on global and local data science projects and products.

What did you do before your traineeship?

Before my traineeship at ING, I studied Computer Engineering in Istanbul and worked for one of the biggest banks in Turkey as a part-time Software Developer.

How did you find out about the ING trainee program?

Actually, it was a bit by chance. A friend of mine forwarded me the job posting, and I decided to apply because the program offered the opportunity to work in different IT areas during the rotations and to work abroad for some time.  

International experience plays an important role in this program. An integral part of the program is a stay abroad in another ING unit. You started your traineeship in Turkey, and your stay abroad was in Germany. Tell us more about your experience at ING Frankfurt. 

During my last rotation, my team in Frankfurt welcomed me and helped me to get on board very quickly. Within a short time, I really felt like part of the team, which helped me a lot to settle in well in Frankfurt. By the way, this is a general experience I made at ING: if you face a challenge, you will always find someone who will help you. Of course, I could always ask my team lead for advice, but actually it was the whole team that supported me. I have never experienced such strong team cohesion anywhere else.

The move to Frankfurt was also a big change for me on a personal level. I spent my whole life in Istanbul, and it was a great experience for me to be in another country for some time. Compared to Istanbul, Frankfurt is much calmer and smaller, but that's been a nice change so far.

The international network is also an important part of the trainee program. What’s it like to work in an international environment?

In my team, you can experience the international work environment first hand, because we have a lot of international colleagues from different countries, like Thailand, Great-Britain and Australia. We also work a lot with ING units in other countries. I really like this international working environment because you get to know new perspectives on your work through different cultural backgrounds. I think this openness and internationality also improves the overall performance of our team.

What do you think is special about the ING trainee program?

For me, the most important part of the trainee program is experiencing different departments, as this helped me find where I really want to work. During my studies I worked in various fields of IT, e.g. as a System Administrator, as a Software Developer or in cybersecurity. When I started the Trainee program, I had the chance to work in different areas and discovered my passion for data engineering during my last rotation. I think this makes the program unique, and we can build our career on the rotations that we are free to choose for ourselves.

Another highlight of the program is the offsite training every year. In addition to the technical training, it is always a good networking opportunity to get to know other ING trainees from around the world.

Which project or topic was a highlight during your rotations?

My first project during my stay in Germany was definitely my highlight. It was a big project about shifting data cluster tools from local to global servers. At first, the responsibility for the project was challenging for me, but the work was really fun, and I could always count on the support of my colleagues. In the end, I was proud to have completed such a big project with my team.   

What does the program prepare you for and what are the challenges?

In general, the program prepares you to assume responsibility for a management position, but I think you also benefit on a personal level from the program. In addition to the technical know-how in IT, for example, I learned a lot about banking itself and how a bank works. This was very interesting and it helped me a lot in my daily work to know how a certain banking product works and what will be the effect of my work on it. But I have to admit, it was also a bit challenging, because I have no background in banking. So the program offered me the opportunity to broaden my personal horizon and grow with the challenges.

What drives you in life besides your job? What are you passionate about?

When I started my traineeship, I played basketball in the team of ING Turkey. We had regular training and even participated in a big tournament since basketball is quite popular in Turkey. When I moved to Frankfurt, I joined the local team here. The training is a good balance to the daily work and gives you the opportunity to have fun with your colleagues outside work.

And what are your future plans?

I would like to start my master studies in Computer Science in Frankfurt soon, and I want to improve my German. I just started a German course four weeks ago and can't say much yet, but I hope that I can improve my skills quickly.

About Ertugrul

Stations: Istanbul, Frankfurt

Focus: software development, data engineering

My highlight: My highlight was definitely my stopover in Frankfurt, because I had the chance to work with a great team on challenging projects. Ultimately, I was given the chance to stay and relocate to Frankfurt, where I am still based, working in ING’s analytics hub.

Why ING: I think the corporate culture is very open and atypical for a bank. No matter who you work with at ING around the world, they all embody and share the same entrepreneurial spirit. What particularly fascinates me is that most of the work at the bank is agile: there are flat hierarchies, and internationality and diversity are valued.

My tip for applicants: You should be curious and open-minded. And, most importantly, it is appreciated when you challenge the status quo to improve your performance and that of your team.

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