Think finance is just for bankers? Think again.

UBS employs people in a wide variety of professions – and more engineers and developers than many technology companies.

28 Jul 2021 4 min read
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For all of our employees, we offer a choice in how their careers progress, which is where the Distinguished Engineers framework comes in.

As part of our purpose, we aim to create an ecosystem that gives the world a strong push toward a brighter future. But while our purpose may be new, in many ways, it’s only possible because of the many years of hard work and foresight of teams across the bank – including the work we’ve done in the technology space.

We introduced the Distinguished Engineers framework in 2018 to further build a world-class engineering culture and to recognize the talent and contributions of outstanding engineers across the firm.

These days, Distinguished Engineers are among the most skilled, accomplished and influential engineers across the firm. They’re valued for their technical expertise, history of delivery and impact on our engineering culture. They also help UBS fulfill the four core elements of the framework’s mission:

  1. to foster an engineering culture that encourages learning and self-development, where selected technical experts are equipped with freedom and time so that they can solve challenges;
  2. to offer different career options for our highly skilled engineers and developers, some of whom prefer to progress up the ranks while remaining technical, without being burdened with the managerial tasks of the more traditional career ladder;
  3. to master the engineering challenges of a global firm operating in an increasingly digitalized world and a complex, densely regulated industry; and
  4. to serve as trusted advisors to senior leaders in the bank, and ambassadors of engineering inside and outside the firm.
Learning – both effective and fun – is at the heart of the engineering culture at UBS. For engineers, lifelong learning is even more of a necessity than for everyone else – though most fully enjoy it and seek challenges. With the Distinguished Engineers framework, we’re happy and proud to offer the right next step for all our developers and engineers,
says Rick Carey, Group CTO, Technology Fellow and sponsor of the Distinguished Engineers framework.

What does the Distinguished Engineer (DE) framework look like?

At the heart of learning and progressing as an engineer or developer at UBS, stands the DE framework, which consists of three levels – Technology Fellow (highest level), Distinguished Engineer and Certified Engineer.

  • Technology Fellows are individuals who are recognized for their eminent contributions to engineering. This is the top tier of the DE framework.
  • Distinguished Engineers are top technical experts in their technology fields, trusted advisors and partners to technology and the business.
  • Certified Engineers are technical specialists that are highly skilled, delivery-focused and actively engaged.

How can you become a Certified Engineer?

Each year, only a few selected engineers become Distinguished Engineers, and an even smaller group makes it to be Technology Fellows. But all our engineers can start becoming Certified Engineers by collecting badges. More than 50 badges are available through the Certified Engineers program. As technology is always evolving, so are the badges our developers and engineers can obtain. Some badges are relevant to all engineers, such as Agile and Cloud, and some are specialist badges relevant to specific roles, such as Front-End Development and Capacity Engineering.

Here are a few examples:

Once our engineers collect the required number and combination of badges, they achieve the Certified Engineer title and complete their certification. As part of their journey, they choose topics relevant to them but are also challenged to expand their horizons and go outside of their comfort zone. Though the program is still in the pilot phase, many of our Certified Engineers continue collecting badges. They do so because, as they say, "it’s fun.”

Some of our engineers and developers collect a few badges, some get their certificate and some carve out their career to become Distinguished Engineers or even Technology Fellows. Whatever they aspire to do, we offer them the right next steps.

Learning is part of our DNA

Beyond recognizing achievements, the DE framework provides our engineers with opportunities to develop their skills, network, share knowledge, contribute to strategic projects, and more. However, with learning being so critical for engineers and technologists, possibilities don’t end there.

Our engineers not only get access to top-end technology learning platforms, they're also involved in internal events, such as hackathons, digital summits and tech conferences where they get to do hands-on experimentation and hear from internal and external expert technologists. They also benefit from access to our communities of practice and special interest groups, such as our Emerging Tech Forum.

Learning is part of our DNA and boosts all our digital evolution initiatives, such as the fintech initiative UBS Next, our accelerating transition to agile ways of working, UBS Future of Finance Challenges, and our innovation labs and centers of excellence. Thus, the Distinguished Engineers framework and our learning culture are just two of the many ways in which we are turning technology from an enabler into a differentiator at UBS.