Thomas H.

Core Developer
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Thomas H.
Computer Science
Computer Science and Mathematics
United Kingdom

My employment

Core Developer
a Wall Street trading firm
United States
Digital and IT services
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Core Developer in the United States

There's a fast turnover of skills in tech - try to think in terms of transferable skills.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

I work for one of Wall Street's leading algorithmic trading firms, out of the World Trade Center [sic]; I have previous experience at startups in San Francisco and at Google here in New York.

What do you do?

I work on our firm's trading infrastructure — the interface between our traders and algorithms and the systems of exchanges such as NYSE or the London Stock Exchange. There is a strong emphasis on avoiding latency so I work primarily in C++, with some Python for offline and non-latency-critical tasks.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

With the benefit of hindsight, and having tried various other things in the interim, as a graduate of both the Computer Science and Mathematics departments it probably isn't surprising that I've ended up in a heavily maths-driven environment that puts a large amount of value on efficient use of computing resources.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

Very much so; immediately following my graduation from York I went to law school. Following my graduation from law school I went into publishing. Had there not been a financial crisis in 2007/8 I might well still be in publishing.

Describe your most memorable day at work

In terms of professional accomplishment, finding out that an iOS app I had written while I was more of a front-end developer had been selected by the NY MoMA as a waymarker in human-computer interaction.

On a more facile level, the day Ron Howard visited my team at Google.

What’s your work environment and culture like?

At my trading firm, it's a lot like a tech firm but with a greater emphasis on hours — I tend to work eight or nine a day and I'm still at the shallow end.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

Honestly, I wasn't especially into organised extracurriculars; the things that have helped me most besides my undergraduate study are: (i) reading; and (ii) my postgraduate studies in law.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

There's a fast turnover of skills in tech and the market shifts pretty quickly, so unless you're a clairvoyant it's probably wiser to prioritise medium-term goals only and to try to think in terms of transferable skills. Getting on top of principles is a lot more important when you're starting out than tying yourself too closely to a specific language, framework or environment.

Next steps...

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