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Deanna Bock

Edward Jones Deanna Bock

Senior Programmer Analyst

IS J2EE Framework & Design Team

Graduating Year: 2003

How hard was it to adjust to the business world after graduating from SIUE? Did you feel well prepared?

I started my career at Edward Jones as a summer intern. This provided a huge advantage when I joined the firm full time after graduating from SIUE. I had already established contacts at the company and was familiar with some of the firm's processes and procedures. Edward Jones also has a strong mentor program in place that allows for a smoother transition to the company and your team.

SIUE provided me with the fundamentals of what I would encounter as an IT professional, including working as a team and how important it is to communicate effectively. My mentor and fellow associates helped build on that foundation. The internship, mentor, and knowledge learned as a CMIS major at SIUE all contributed to a less stressful transition from life at SIUE to Edward Jones.

Is the business component of the CMIS degree important in your work?

While it's not as important in my job as the technical concepts I learned at SIUE, I believe a well rounded education has helped me excel in my career. My ability to understand the audience I am communicating to and tailor my message whether that is orally or written to those people is a major strength. I may take a different approach when describing a technical problem to fellow IS folks verses the business users impacted by the situation.

And because I work in the financial services industry, having some background in finance is a benefit when designing and building applications to support trades, customer portfolios, and other concepts of finance such as return on investment. I do spend time working with business users. These are the folks who determine system requirements, sign off on testing prior to implementation of an application, and communicate system changes to other areas and to our Financial Advisors in all those little Edward Jones offices you see scattered throughout town.

Do you work in project, cross-functional, or departmental teams?

Yes, and the answer to this question is one of the reasons I love my job. I am actively involved in all of these types of teams. I serve as a mentor to software development project teams, work with associates from other IT areas such as networking and quality assurance, and on a daily basis work with others in my department who support our web infrastructure and global user interface designs.

I don't think a day goes by that I don't ask someone from another area a question or for a favor. Likewise, people ask the same of me. Even though the majority of programmers at Edward Jones are split into teams of 6-12 people, at the end of the day we're really one team trying to accomplish the same goal. That goal is to support the firm's Financial Advisors by making their jobs easier so they can successfully service our clients.

Do you feel a sense of reward in your work?

Yes. There are a couple responsibilities that give me a sense of pride (reward) when the job is done well. One is helping others. Java isn't the most intuitive language, and it feels great to know you've helped another developer with a problem or taught them a new way to use the power provided by the Java JDK.

The other is delivering quality new systems to the Financial Advisors and business area. Think about it. If you worked for 9-12 months to deliver a new application, wouldn't you feel a sense of reward and pride over what you finally had a hand in implementing? It's icing on the cake when a user acknowledges the new system and how much easier it is to do his job now that he has it.

Finally, tell us some details about the technical work you do at Edward Jones.

I started as a Programmer Analyst I, then a PA II, and am now a Senior PA. My CMIS degree provided a very good foundation for the PA I entry-level position and, since then, I have continued to learn new technical skills through my work at Edward Jones.

In the last year, I have primarily worked in the area of development/maintenance of a proprietary J2EE framework as a member of the framework team. My most recent accomplishment was development of a SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) global account service used by approximately a dozen other applications to retrieve customer account data. The service is deployed and managed on multiple WebLogic domains. It interfaces with Oracle, DB2, and IDMS databases using iBATIS persistence framework and Tuxedo services respectively. The service was built and deployed leveraging Spring Framework's dependency injection and Xfire. The service was architected such that it can be invoked as an EJB or web service.

One of the most interesting projects I've been a part of was an effort to move the Portfolio system to our GUI client/server system. My responsibilities included converting a legacy Cost Basis and Amount Invested system from CICS/COBOL to a J2EE application that integrated in this customer Portfolio system. Much of this project leveraged a technology offering the benefit of complex business logic reuse while following a "screen scrapping" technique to move the user interface from CICS to GUI screens. Using a scripting language similar to JavaScript, data is transferred from the mainframe through HTTP requests and passed as XML. The front-end was built on Apache Struts and JSPs. Conversion of this system allows Financial Advisors the ability to manage customer portfolios, cost basis, and amount invested through the firm's proprietary GUI Account Workspace.

To think it all started with CMIS.

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