Zachary “Lace” Williamson
Associate Solution Engineer
What made you choose to work for KeyBank?
Before joining Key, I worked as a lab technician in the energy sector. I participated in a local Tech Elevator boot camp because I was interested in a career in a field related to service digitization, and computers and software development had always been an interest of mine. Key pursues a wide range of robotics process automation (RPA) projects each year, which appealed to me. After joining the team, Key trained me on their RPA tools and allowed me to leverage that new knowledge and solve problems on a larger scale than I had ever done before. This was my first opportunity to be part of a larger workforce and an opportunity to work as a team with a big impact on the organization.
What has made you stay?
Engaging colleagues and interesting problems to work on definitely keeps me engaged. Our tech teams are very diverse, and that diversity of thought interests me.
We also have more access to tools and resources than I’ve had to work with while at smaller firms. We have been growing rapidly, and it has been exciting to see the evolution of our team and work take place in real time. We started as a small team and have doubled rapidly in the past few years. This growth is a testament to Key’s commitment to digitization, and I believe it also means exciting things for the future.
What does the Robotics Process Automation team do?
Quite a lot! To boil it down, we often take mundane or repetitive user tasks and workflows and figure out how to get a computer to do that work instead, opening employees up to more fulfilling tasks. We provide unique, well-researched solutions to problems and free people up to use their time towards more meaningful tasks that only a human can do – leaving the mindless repetition to the computers. We make a big difference for Key’s employees. Seeing people recognize how much time we are freeing up for them is a gratifying feeling.
What’s interesting about your work?
While my work is somewhat technical, it is also very relationship-driven. We have had a wide range of people from diverse backgrounds joining the team: legacy employees, Tech Ready program participants, and other fresh perspectives are coming together to offer unique points of view that make for more effective problem-solving. It helps us “think around corners.” It’s also about the relationships with the people we are creating the automations for; understanding them and their day-to-day needs helps us create more effective automations.
What would you say if a job candidate asked you about Key’s culture and what it’s like to work on your team?
I’d say it’s fast-paced. Not painfully so, but we keep things moving. We have several standups per week to keep us on task, but at the same time, we maintain a lot of personal accountability to drive the work. There’s not a lot of micro-management. We aren’t expected to know everything but to ask questions and take ownership of our work. We identify roadblocks, and our leaders provide support to overcome those blocks and put faith in us as individual contributors. From my experience, our level of freedom is unique in the tech sector. We have the freedom to focus and are trusted to manage our priorities. If I’m ever unsure, I know I can ask, no matter the subject. I’ve always felt supported and empowered by my teammates and my leaders here at Key.
Who is the ideal candidate for your team?
Loving problem-solving is critical! It’s essential to enjoy the process of identifying an issue and understand in detail why it is happening and filter through multiple possible solutions to the problem. That sense of collaboration and the search for answers is a significant part of what drives the whole process. People skills are also more critical than one might think. We are not sitting in a cubicle all day with our computers; we are out communicating with business lines to discuss their challenges and collaborating with tech team members to find solutions that will genuinely work.
What are you excited about as a Key employee?
The low code and no code initiatives are picking up pace here and are exciting. Learning new programming languages can be intense and have difficult learning curves, so low/no code allows people with less coding experience to get involved in more development projects. When less technical knowledge is required for certain projects, it allows for more rapid deployment, which holds some exciting possibilities in the near and long term!
Key is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer.