TD Bank is hiring 2,000 technologists in 2022. Here's what the bank's chief engineer said she looks for in new recruits.


The competition for tech talent that's raging across Wall Street is set to become even more intense this year.

This January, TD Bank Group announced plans to hire 2,000 technologists this year across Canada and the US to carry out the firm's cloud and data aspirations. The bank is hiring for a "cross-section" of engineering jobs that include data-science-oriented roles focused on machine learning and AI, in addition to cybersecurity and DevOps, Licenia Rojas, TD Bank's chief engineer and chief architect, told Insider.  

It's the latest bank to announce ambitious tech hiring plans, further tightening what is an already competitive market for talent.  

Licenia Rojas, senior vice president and chief engineer at TD
Licenia Rojas, senior vice president and chief engineer at TD. 

TD Bank Group's US consumer division ranked ninth in deposits nationally as of the fourth quarter, per FDIC data, and the bank counts some 25,000 employees in the US. 

On Monday, meanwhile, TD Bank said it plans to buy Memphis-based First Horizon Bank for $13.4 billion, pending regulatory approval. The all-cash deal, which is expected to close in the summer of 2023, will vault the bank into position as the sixth-largest in the country by assets, it said. 

The 2022 hiring goal, meanwhile, represents a significant step up for TD Bank, whose US operations are based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. In 2021, the bank hired roughly 300 new staff across its technology division, according to a spokesperson.

Rojas, who joined the bank in July of last year after spending more than 23 years at American Express, outlined the type of candidates TD Bank is most interested in. 

Hiring across the cloud

TD Bank's plan to hire 2,000 tech workers this year comes as it focuses on building on an existing cloud partnership agreement with Microsoft Azure and a new one with data architecture giant Databricks. 

Azure and Databricks will work with TD on building a data lake, or a centralized place to store data across the firm. 

TD's hiring approach, Rojas said, will reflect these new collaborations.

A key focus will be engineers with cloud experience, even if it's not specifically Azure or in a particular coding language, as they will understand cloud design principles. That includes building with resiliency and automation, as well as considering the broader technology ecosystem and full software development life cycle when focusing on a specific coding task, Rojas added. 

Having familiarity with cloud tech also reveals a practical understanding of how financial firms think about data, infrastructure, and ultimately the customer experience.

"We want them to think in an agile way and think about how to simplify existing processes for customers," Rojas added. 

"When you think cloud-native, in terms of engineering and architecture, they can transcend the different types of cloud because those are anchored principles. That's a design approach," she added. 

Showcasing an 'engineering mindset'

The interview process can vary depending on the level of experience, Rojas said. For a more senior-level hire, there maybe four to six meetings that probe technical ability, leadership style, and how collaborative the candidate is with the team. 

For more junior hires, like those just out of university, the bank will be looking for aptitude and attitude, Rojas said, were showing off an openness to learn and curiosity is key. There are typically fewer interviews at the junior level, she added. 

The ideal candidate is curious, thoughtful about driving efficiencies, and makes decisions driven by data and analytics, Rojas said. That could look like asking questions around the business strategy and how that can influence how the technology is built, or considering how to collect feedback after creating a solution to understand how to improve it. 

"At the basis, it's good software engineering. At the end of it, it's really being focused on the experiences we're driving to our customers," Rojas said. 

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