Non trading-related SWE at top hedge fund?

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jhjkkkk

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May 14 5 Comments

I applied long time ago for a different position, but offered to interview for a ‘python developer’ position for their finance team at Hudson River Trading. Looking at the job desc., it looks like the work is about building report gen. infra, etc... and what ppl call ‘back office’ position which many ppl say is not good for career, but 1) I wanted to see how these trading firms operate 2) I could likely expect higher comp 3) I heard HRT is really hard to get into.

Currently doing infra dev (not at FB) at AANG, but I don’t mind doing data eng-ish work. Has anyone taken or considered similar move?

Current TC: 280k

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TOP 5 Comments
  • Google Lilium
    First, HRT is not a hedge fund. It is a prop shop. The business models (and scales) are different. Second, some people enjoy back office roles due to lower pressure to generate PnL. Finally, don't confuse a high hiring bar with quality of standards and career value internally.

    Edit in response: Yes, proprietary means the partners' capital, which is different from the 2 and 20 model, where fund growth is sometimes largely due to inflow in AUM. Hedge funds can be $100B+. Even the largest prop shops are only single-digit billions.
    May 14 1
    • Facebook / Eng
      jhjkkkk

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      OP
      prop shop means they trade their own money?
      May 15
  • Capital One / Eng KoookieS
    That’s unfortunate that no one else responded, I thought I’d check back in a couple days and give my feedback. I switched from doing mobile / backend engineering at Capital One to work as an Equities Trader / Software Engineer at family office / hedge fund. At my new job I write java code to execute stock orders for portfolio managers. I also contact brokers when we need to execute bond, fx, or OTC trades. I also write code to test/try new algorithmic trading strategies, and write automation for trade booking/middle office related tasks.

    For me, after working there for seven months, I think a lot of my pros and cons won’t apply to you since you won’t be the only software engineer but my list so far is

    Pros:
    1) no sprint planning, I setup Jira for us for organizational purposes
    2) no meetings
    3) free lunch
    4) $35k increase in base salary, and a unknown bonus but should be non trivial
    5) I can work on any software engineering problem I want at my own pace and there are no deadlines
    6) I learn about portfolio management and trade execution
    7) I can day trade and test any trading strategies that I want with a dollar size limit
    8) the people I work with are nice
    9) I find the work interesting

    Cons:
    1. I don’t work with any other software engineers. So when I need to figure something out, I just look at the open source Google, Square, Facebook libraries on Github to see how they solve similar problems.
    2. It’s sometimes stressful when you make mistakes with millions of dollars on the line
    3. I don’t feel like I contribute to society, and feel guilty that I find the work so intellectually stimulating
    4. Hours are fixed and revolve around the stock market hours and holidays

    In terms of a new job in finance, I think you should be open to it and see if you like the team and work that you do. I used to be depressed because I didn’t have the best ideal career path, but sometimes you just have to take the opportunities that are in front of you and make the most of it. I know a guy from college who will go through two IPOs this decade. He went from Apple to Square Pre/Post IPO to Airbnb Pre IPO. So if that’s not your career path as well, then you fall in my bucket haha.
    May 18 1
    • Facebook / Eng
      jhjkkkk

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      Thanks.
      May 18
  • Microsoft Not_at_MS
    Really depends on the type of firm and the engineering culture. At highly automated trading firms, this type of work can be extremely valuable if it means that the company doesn’t need to hire another 5 ops people to do that job. I don’t personally know anyone who has such a role at HRT, but I do know of a few HFT firms which don’t have official “back office” software engineering roles at all because they don’t look down on reconciliation/reporting-type work.

    I don’t see a problem with making the move if the pay is good.
    May 14 0

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