Serious gaming, programming robots and the Global Game Jam – IT at ING has many surprising faces
Can a master’s degree in game & media technology really be the ideal qualification for a job at a bank? Wendy Bolier proves that it can! When her university suggested a thesis project at ING, she realised it was the perfect match with both her degree and her personal interests.
Wendy: “I never imagined I would be able to do a thesis project at a bank on the topic of drawing in virtual reality (VR). Drawing used to be my main hobby and VR was one of my favourite subjects at university. The assignment was part of a joint project between ING and a charity that promotes culture to children. I joined ING’s Corebank Research department, which is involved with the latest technologies such as robotics, gaming and 3D printing. I enjoyed myself so much and found it so interesting that I stayed on after I graduated.”
High-profile international attention
Wendy’s thesis was not only published, but she subsequently received high-profile international attention when she was invited to present her paper on ING’s behalf at one of the world’s leading multimedia conferences in South Korea.
Programming Pepper the robot
She is currently working as a developer in the ING High-Tech Experiences and Simulations department where she is involved in a wide range of varied projects. “Initially the projects were mainly related to events. For example, I wrote a lot of software for our robot called Pepper, to equip him for his various roles. He has been a barista during the KLM Open, he can act as a host and he can answer visitors’ questions at our offices and during events. He’s really fun to work on as a dev engineer!”
“Right now I’m mainly involved in developing interactive serious games for e-learning purposes. For example, we’ve made a proof of concept for a serious game for anomaly detection in which participants detect deviations from normal patterns through play. The data from the game can then be used to train machine learning models. My most recent project is an e-learning game which presents participants with a data breach. They then have to decide what steps to take, and in which order.”
“I also worked for We are Code for a while, which was set up to make it easier for ING’s engineers to make contact with one another and exchange knowledge and experience. One of the things we did was organise a big Game Night, which was fantastic. There’s a lot of support for things like that; it’s a great way to get to know other people, plus it’s useful because there are always times that you need each other.”
“Because of all the different things I can do here, I’ve really learned a lot in the past few years – much more than I did during my studies, in fact. We also have the freedom to experiment, the latest tools and technology at our disposal, an innovative vibe and, last but not least, a great team – we’ve even been on a few city trips together and we take part in the Global Game Jam every year. All of that combines to make ING the perfect place to work, in my opinion.”
Wendy did a bachelor’s degree in technical computer science at TU Delft and a master’s in game & media technology at the University of Utrecht. Besides her avid pursuit of pole fitness and aerial acrobatics, she discovered a new hobby during the COVID-19 lockdowns: making her own clothes.