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Getting Hired into Hedge Funds or Trading Firms

Lewis Bickerton

I am a specialist C# recruiter and a common question I get asked is: How do I get into the Hedge Fund or Trading space?  Many developers still believe you must have previous experience at a fund to work there as a developer.  This is far from the truth!   I cannot count how many times I think I have a perfect candidate for a fund who has industry background, strong technology skills, and an Oxbridge or Imperial education behind them but they have been beaten to the position by someone with less qualification but who displays a more inquisitive mind towards technology.  Ten years ago, it may have been the case that it was a hard sector to get into, but times have changed.

What’s changed?

It is common knowledge that Hedge Funds seem to be populated by some of the world’s elite.   These elites have also cottoned onto some important points that make a developer successful.  It isn’t about their equities or derivatives knowledge, but their deep knowledge of the technologies they work with, and more importantly the knowledge of the technologies you don’t work with commercially.   These Hedge Funds now require so much more from a technology perspective. So, if you work for a tech consultancy or a firm outside of finance you stand just as much chance as the developer from industry.   The most important part to a successful candidate is the attitude and passion of a person.  Nine times out of ten, the person who reads up on new technologies and runs their own projects outside of work will come with this strong working mentality and a thirst to learn.   As long as you have an interest in finance, you have researched what a Hedge Fund does and learnt the basics of some of the Asset classes, you will always beat the person to the job who doesn’t possess that inherent desire to learn. 

I have seen so many developers end up at Hedge Funds and trading firms that have come from companies like; Trainline, online poker companies, Thoughtworks, Microsoft, the list goes on. 

Why do people want to work for Hedge Fund & Trading Firms?

You will be surrounded by like-minded people who have all done very well in life
They usually have some very interesting projects in which you will have a lot of ownership
Your business and tech skills will improve (you will become more of an all-round professional)
Usually, they have some good perks
Let’s not forget the bonuses (Some organisations out there can make you a very wealthy developer)

There are certain roles in this space where you may need some specific, relevant experience, but I am seeing this less and less.  Even highly mathematical-based development jobs are taking people from a range of diverse backgrounds. 

Someone asked me a question yesterday.  They currently work for a Hedge Fund as a developer, he or she believed that if they were to move outside of industry they would struggle to get back into the fund space (which is far from the truth).  Going to an innovative tech firm will most likely increase your chances of working for another fund or trading firm as you will now add even more value through the experience you bring.

Working in this sector isn’t for everyone.  Some people complain about the hours, some people complain about the lack of good development practices, but I firmly believe that if you are interested in finance and technology, this is the place to be. As you will get exposure to so much more than if you ended up in a Broker, Bank, or an Exchange.   But what do I know? I have only talked to about 100000 + contract and permanent Developers in my time….

For a candid conversation about the opportunities out there in the market today, give me a call or click on my picture to send me an email.