Joining the Seattle Cloud Culture

JPMorgan Chase is staffing up a cloud engineering center in Seattle, as it builds out one of the first global, multi-cloud computing platforms by a U.S. bank.

Cloud engineers at JPMorgan Chase’s Seattle office are fielding inquiries from former colleagues. They’re curious: What’s it like to work at a bank?

They’re hearing that life at JPMorgan Chase is not much different than at a startup–except it provides technologists with the scale and opportunities that come with its more than $11 billion annual technology investment.

It’s believed to be the first time any bank has placed itself smack in the middle of the undisputed cloud capital of the world, minutes away from the biggest public cloud providers. The banking industry is among the last adopters of public cloud platforms, so few cloud technologists know what the work and the culture is like.

Julie Rensch, who recently joined the bank’s Seattle cybersecurity team from Salesforce, says she’s involved in everything from standing up a new, fast growing ‘start-up’ inside of one of the world’s largest financial institutions, to engaging with nonprofits, and building secure cloud platforms at nearly unmatched scale. “Our team, culture, and the work we do is amazing.”

Four Cloud Platforms

At the core of the company’s technology strategy is a multi-cloud platform. To deliver leading technology globally, driving innovation with emerging capabilities including blockchain, artificial intelligence, data analytics and digital currencies, JPMorgan Chase is using not one, but four global cloud platforms—the three biggest public clouds provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Azure—and its own private cloud.

That requires an army of technologists specializing in cloud, and there’s no better place to find them than in Seattle, where AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud are headquartered.

“The density of this sort of talent doesn’t exist outside of Seattle and a couple of other cloud pockets in the world, including Dublin and Hyderabad,” says Todd Hrycenko, who left Salesforce’s cloud security group to head up JPMorgan Chase’s Cloud, Platform and Application Cybersecurity team in Seattle.

The intellectual complexity and the global impact of the bank’s multi-cloud model helped Hrycenko hire more than 50 people within months of joining, including top cyber minds like Mark Novak, a former Senior Principal Security Architect at Azure.

“If you’re in cybersecurity, you can’t be in a more globally critical business than finance, and JPMorgan Chase is one of the world's most important Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFI),” says Hrycenko. “We transact $6 trillion a day. That’s $6 trillion. Working to protect that—because it’s increasingly moving to our multi-cloud platform—is working to protect the stability of the global financial industry.”

Intellectually Challenging

Cyber engineering work at a bank is about as challenging as it gets, says Mark Novak, who joined the JPMorgan Chase team after 23 years at Microsoft.

“There are so many regulations governing the finance industry, it’s an extra challenge on top of already intellectually challenging cybersecurity work. The scale, distribution, complexity, and impact we have on our business is nearly unmatchable,” Novak explains.

Some applications will need to be workable on multiple public cloud platforms for regulatory purposes. “However, no two public clouds are the same, and the need to secure an app on different cloud platforms is incredibly complex,” says Novak. Adopting a multi-cloud approach and ensuring it is secure requires engineers with deep experience working with the big public cloud providers. Hrycenko and team are heavily investing and looking to hire more people this year in Seattle across multiple facets of cloud engineering.

Learn more about technology career opportunities at JPMorgan Chase & Co.