Capital One Exec Details the Bank’s Training Playbook for Cloud Tech

  • Capital One was an early adopter of the public cloud amongst financial firms.
  • The bank’s technology is completely hosted on Amazon Web Services.
  • One of Capital One’s top tech execs detailed three programs for training employees for the cloud.

Capital One, the first US bank to go all-in on the public cloud, knows the challenges that come with using the technology like few others. 

The bank put its flag in the sand in 2016 when it decided to go all-in with Amazon Web Services, announcing a five-year migration plan for moving its core business and technology applications to the public cloud. 

Amongst financial firms at the time, it was a revolutionary move by Capital One, which has roughly 11,000 employees in its tech organization. Most Wall Street firms were only just coming around to trusting the technology.

Four years later, the bank shuttered the last of its internal data centers and put its faith — and the technology stack underpinning the bank and all of its operations — in the hands of AWS. 

But the risk of being a first-mover has also meant that Capital One has gotten a head start on what has turned out to be one of the most critical pieces of any Wall Street firm’s cloud playbook: upskilling programs. 

A frenzied war for tech talent and a simultaneous shift of many businesses to move to cloud-based technology — where computing services, like storage and servers, are outsourced to third-party providers rather than maintained in-house — has created a lopsided equation that has tech executives scratching their heads. 

Todd Cassidy, managing vice president, chief of staff, and CIO of associate technology at Capital One

Todd Cassidy, managing vice president, chief of staff, and CIO of associate technology at Capital One

Capital One

There simply aren’t enough cloud engineers to go around. A recent McKinsey report showed that 95% of chief information officers surveyed cited a lack of cloud talent as one of the biggest challenges they face.

“In my 25 years of being with the company, I’ve never seen the war for talent be like it is right now,” Todd Cassidy, Capital One’s managing vice president, chief of staff, and CIO of associate technology, told Insider. 

The current environment has put a new level of pressure on employee technology training.

The shortage has forced firms to establish boot camps that take software engineers, used to working with decades’ old technology often found within bank’s older tech stacks, and transform them into cloud-ready developers. 

“What was helpful for us is that was at the early stages of us moving to the cloud and that’s just been a really powerful tool for helping associates adopt those skills, reinforce cloud engineering, as well as other things,” Cassidy said.

It’s not just a matter of coaching up engineers to work on cloud tech, it’s the ability to hold on to them. For Capital One, training programs have led to better retention, a strong pipeline for hiring, and lower attrition amongst participants, according to a spokesperson for the bank.

Cassidy walked Insider through three training programs Capital One uses to get its employees up to speed on the latest tech. 

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