There’s no denying that it is an incredible time to be a developer. I work on the permanent Java/C++ desk at Harrington Starr and we’re currently working with approximately 60 separate clients across financial services who are all looking to hire developers with these skills. Some of them want multiple people. Buy Side, Sell Side, Exchanges, Brokerages, Vendors and Consultancies are all crying out for candidates with Java and C++ skills.
With this kind of demand, you could be fooled into thinking that just because you’ve done a bit of OOP in the past that you’re going to walk in to whatever job you fancy. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
The standards for developers in financial services are higher than ever, which is what makes it such a great industry to work in. What’s even better is that, if you excel in these highly skilled environments, you will be rewarded handsomely. I met a candidate earlier this week that I placed with a prop-trading firm about a year ago. In that time, he has not just made himself comfortable with the code-base he’s working on, he’s been trusted with the task of re-writing a large portion of the trading system resulting in latencies being halved. In less than a year, his basic salary has been raised by almost 50% and he is about to receive a bonus that most people could live on for a year. It’s fair to say that he is an exceptional developer, but his background wasn’t particularly remarkable. What’s helped him get to this level is an incredible drive for self-improvement.
All of the Java/C++ roles I mentioned above are all looking for the same thing: developers who are hungry to improve themselves. Developers who are prepared to go above and beyond to take their technical skills to the next level, regardless of the level they’re starting at. If you’re a graduate, what’s it going to take to get you to being productive quickly. If you’re a senior developer, what have you done in your spare time to keep up-to-date with new and emerging technologies? What have you done to mentor the juniors around you?
Interview questions don’t appear to be getting any more complex, but the standard of the expected answer is being pushed up. Candidates will be expected to explain not just the architecture they’re currently working on, but how it fits into the overall system. What’s the business impact of the work you do?
With this many live roles, I am of course always happy to speak with developers and explain these interview processes in details and what it will take to essentially have the pick of your next job in the financial services space.