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lambrini_socialist
15th April 2008, 14:13
i'm a developer and so far all of my contracts (and perm roles) have been in the London-based media / new media / creative / nathan barley industries. i often wonder what it's like working for the financials. basically these are my ill-informed preconceptions - are any of them correct?

- the rates are about 1.5 to 2 X higher than in other industries
- the hours are punishing and you're basically doomed if you want to regularly go home "on time"
- the technology is archaic
- you'll have to wear a suit
- potentially lethal levels of petty bureaucracy
- you'll have to enjoy being pushed around by the kind of testosterone-crazed Gordon Gecko ******* who are alleged to work in such places
- you can't get contracts working for financials unless you've got previous financial experience (how you get the first contract is a mystery)

how accurate is this? i doubt i'll ever end up working in this sector as i don't have the experience or stamina but i'm interested in hearing about it.

Archangel
16th April 2008, 08:31
i'm a developer and so far all of my contracts (and perm roles) have been in the London-based media / new media / creative / nathan barley industries. i often wonder what it's like working for the financials. basically these are my ill-informed preconceptions - are any of them correct?

- the rates are about 1.5 to 2 X higher than in other industries
- the hours are punishing and you're basically doomed if you want to regularly go home "on time"
- the technology is archaic
- you'll have to wear a suit
- potentially lethal levels of petty bureaucracy
- you'll have to enjoy being pushed around by the kind of testosterone-crazed Gordon Gecko ******* who are alleged to work in such places
- you can't get contracts working for financials unless you've got previous financial experience (how you get the first contract is a mystery)

how accurate is this? i doubt i'll ever end up working in this sector as i don't have the experience or stamina but i'm interested in hearing about it.


I've contracted at 4 banks, and the following applied (using your points above)

1) My rate is whatever I can get, the sector seems irrelevent, more the location and local supply and demand
2) My hours are usually 8-4 ish 9 (or 7-3) with friday afternoons (at least) off
regardless of sector
3) yes, the technology (back end) can be archaic, but I love legacy systems. The front end systems are not bleeding edge, but are usually fairly up to date
4) I only wear a suit for weddings and funerals, otherwise its business casual
5) All institutions have petty bureaucracy, the financials seem no different, I just ignore it as best I can
6) I usually worked with PM's and Team Leaders who are the same as in any other sector, and managed their expectations
7) I swap between financials and retail, and I agree that the initial contract in financials can be difficult to get, but if your skills fit you should be able to get in if you pitch your rate correctly.

HTH

The financials are having a few problems at the moment though, so perhaps you should forget about the sector for a while.

snaw
16th April 2008, 08:45
Clearly depends on which particular area you work in, for me the single biggest difference is the approach to work in financials as compared to other industries.

The stakes are much bigger in finance generally, most outages are down to human error in my experience and in finance the cost of those outages can be huge. Consequently cowboys don't prosper in that kind of environment so there seems to be much less of them than in other industries.

I guess with the bigger stakes also comes bigger pressure, some people just don't work well under pressure (Not the must meet deadline my next Thursday type either, the oh sh!t the 000s are piling up by the minute - the phones are going mental and there's a posse of senior managers on the way to find out wtf is going on).

People with no experience of this can learn it, same as everyone else - but quite often it takes them a few months to get their head round the paradigm and also quite often they just can't handle it.

And yeah, there tends ot be tonnes of beurocracy and change control but the managers imo are ok.

Moscow Mule
16th April 2008, 08:48
My experiences (4 different banks, three different countries) below. I work (mostly) in implementations or upgrades of core banking systems - YMMV if you're in support.

- the rates are about 1.5 to 2 X higher than in other industries
I get a good rate, but only because what I do is fairly niche

- the hours are punishing and you're basically doomed if you want to regularly go home "on time"
Absolute rubbish - I finish when the work is done, sometimes 9pm, sometimes 2:30pm

- the technology is archaic
Webphere, latest i5 systems - all very shiny.

- you'll have to wear a suit
only once, then business casual

- potentially lethal levels of petty bureaucracy
and obstructive w*****s at every turn

- you'll have to enjoy being pushed around by the kind of testosterone-crazed Gordon Gecko ******* who are alleged to work in such places
only in support.

- you can't get contracts working for financials unless you've got previous financial experience (how you get the first contract is a mystery)
Work for a reputable software house providing core banking systems is a good start.

Lockhouse
16th April 2008, 08:50
1. the rates are about 1.5 to 2 X higher than in other industries
2. the hours are punishing and you're basically doomed if you want to regularly go home "on time"
3. the technology is archaic
4. you'll have to wear a suit
5. potentially lethal levels of petty bureaucracy
6. you'll have to enjoy being pushed around by the kind of testosterone-crazed Gordon Gecko ******* who are alleged to work in such places
7. you can't get contracts working for financials unless you've got previous financial experience (how you get the first contract is a mystery)


I've contracted in the city for the past 16 years

1. Yep
2. Depends - I work 7.45-17:15ish but sometimes need to stay late or cover at weekends - all for the same dosh - but then the dosh is normally quite good
3. Not true - not bleeding edge but not the ark either
4. Not true, smart trousers and shirt only, no tie unless meeting nobs
5. Not true - if anything the opposite - b*llsh*tters need not apply - getting stuff into production can be a pain though
6. Yes - especially if you want to work front office - you need to be up to it
7. Yep

threaded
16th April 2008, 08:51
The ties and shoes. Mainly the ties. Especially at NatWest.

Lockhouse
16th April 2008, 08:52
The ties and shoes. Mainly the ties. Especially at NatWest.

And the cufflinks!

Jubber
16th April 2008, 09:28
6. Yes - especially if you want to work front office - you need to be up to it


"Where's my ******** figures!!" rather than, "Have you had chance to implement that new form yet.?"..??

:)

Moscow Mule
16th April 2008, 09:30
"Where's my ******** figures!!"

Where you f*****g left them.

BrilloPad
16th April 2008, 09:32
i'm a developer and so far all of my contracts (and perm roles) have been in the London-based media / new media / creative / nathan barley industries. i often wonder what it's like working for the financials. basically these are my ill-informed preconceptions - are any of them correct?

- the rates are about 1.5 to 2 X higher than in other industries
- the hours are punishing and you're basically doomed if you want to regularly go home "on time"
- the technology is archaic
- you'll have to wear a suit
- potentially lethal levels of petty bureaucracy
- you'll have to enjoy being pushed around by the kind of testosterone-crazed Gordon Gecko ******* who are alleged to work in such places
- you can't get contracts working for financials unless you've got previous financial experience (how you get the first contract is a mystery)

how accurate is this? i doubt i'll ever end up working in this sector as i don't have the experience or stamina but i'm interested in hearing about it.

After 22 years in Banks, 20 of them contract :-
1. yes
2. I leave at 15:52 almost every day - stay later once per month - but I start at 6:30 or 7:00
3. yes
4. no
5. YES
6. there are ways of standing up to them and getting your own back
7. IBs dont like unknowns

NoddY
16th April 2008, 09:32
The difference is when you work for the moneylenders you manage to contribute neither to society nor civilisation concurrently. Not many jobs can claim that accolade.

BrilloPad
16th April 2008, 09:33
i'm a developer and so far all of my contracts (and perm roles) have been in the London-based media / new media / creative / nathan barley industries. i often wonder what it's like working for the financials. basically these are my ill-informed preconceptions - are any of them correct?

- the rates are about 1.5 to 2 X higher than in other industries
- the hours are punishing and you're basically doomed if you want to regularly go home "on time"
- the technology is archaic
- you'll have to wear a suit
- potentially lethal levels of petty bureaucracy
- you'll have to enjoy being pushed around by the kind of testosterone-crazed Gordon Gecko ******* who are alleged to work in such places
- you can't get contracts working for financials unless you've got previous financial experience (how you get the first contract is a mystery)

how accurate is this? i doubt i'll ever end up working in this sector as i don't have the experience or stamina but i'm interested in hearing about it.

And another thing - we have socialists. If you dont love Maggie, you're toast.

Moscow Mule
16th April 2008, 09:34
The difference is when you work for the moneylenders you manage to contribute neither to society nor civilisation concurrently. Not many jobs can claim that accolade.

Surely, by the payment of more taxes you're helping to bolster society? :laugh

realityhack
16th April 2008, 09:35
I've been in finance for the last 4 years:

- the rates are about 1.5 to 2 X higher than in other industries
Yes - You get what you fight for, get in the door and push recklessly for your rate - the more finance exp you have, the more you can push. Go in high for IBs or you won't be taken seriously.

- the hours are punishing and you're basically doomed if you want to regularly go home "on time"
Not so - I can get away with 7.5 hrs a day if I want - if the culture seems more brazen, take an hourly rate, not a daily one.

- the technology is archaic
Yes and no - the crucial systems are top notch - the MI/web support systems are in the stone age... but not for long.

- you'll have to wear a suit
Yes and no - front office, yes, back office developer land, no.

- potentially lethal levels of petty bureaucracy
Abso-bloody-lutely.

- you'll have to enjoy being pushed around by the kind of testosterone-crazed Gordon Gecko ******* who are alleged to work in such places
Only in the head office.

- you can't get contracts working for financials unless you've got previous financial experience (how you get the first contract is a mystery)
It's not easy to break into because of this - but cite the right tech skills for a role and have previous FTSE100/blue chip exp and you'll get in.

roadster198
16th April 2008, 09:35
i'm a developer and so far all of my contracts (and perm roles) have been in the London-based media / new media / creative / nathan barley industries. i often wonder what it's like working for the financials. basically these are my ill-informed preconceptions - are any of them correct?

- the rates are about 1.5 to 2 X higher than in other industries
- the hours are punishing and you're basically doomed if you want to regularly go home "on time"
- the technology is archaic
- you'll have to wear a suit
- potentially lethal levels of petty bureaucracy
- you'll have to enjoy being pushed around by the kind of testosterone-crazed Gordon Gecko ******* who are alleged to work in such places
- you can't get contracts working for financials unless you've got previous financial experience (how you get the first contract is a mystery)

how accurate is this? i doubt i'll ever end up working in this sector as i don't have the experience or stamina but i'm interested in hearing about it.

Try actually just getting a job in London if your north of Watford matey :tantrum:

Dow Jones
16th April 2008, 09:38
Reason most require 'financial experience' is that a lot of front/middle/back office systems are similar between banks and insurance companies, also anyone that has worked in such environments is more or less capable of meeting deadlines and know the financial impact of not doing so, can be shouted at without bursting into tears and walking out, can put his/her point of view without blushing and stuttering and generally have a rare thing called personality as opposed to a non-existent one by most IT geeks.

realityhack
16th April 2008, 09:41
can be shouted at without bursting into tears and walking out, can put his/her point of view without blushing and stuttering and generally have a rare thingn called personality as opposed to a non-existent one by most IT geeks.
WHS

EDIT: If you work in financial markets or on the trading floor - this is especially true.

Also - you have to have a thick skin - be prepared to be transported back in time about 50 years in terms of office culture. Think 'playground politics' and sexist rubbish. Stay well clear of such numpties, they're slowly being culled off.

DimPrawn
16th April 2008, 09:41
If it were a Hollywood film:

Finance contractors are Chuck Norris and non-finance contractors are Mr Bean.

BlasterBates
16th April 2008, 09:51
...if the predictions are to be believed, 140,000 job losses in the City, then I would add, to the list of impressive "manly" traits, "prepared for long periods of bench time".

The question is being "Mr Bean" so bad.

Dow Jones
16th April 2008, 10:00
BB what happened to you mate? You used to write interesting posts. Trying to fill in our 'missing economist' position?
City market has grown by an average of 20000 jobs every year to nearly 400000 atm, last I heard they were talking about 20000 losses, still at worst no growth. Stop being such a gloomy sod and cheer up a bit.

BlasterBates
16th April 2008, 10:09
I'm just reiterating the dire warnings I heard on CNN yesterday, so the guy inquiring here doesn't ruin his life by moving into finance. :smile

snaw
16th April 2008, 10:11
Actually - if he's contract from what I read he'll be fine. They're still hiring them as they can get rid of them easy, it's permies that should eb worried ...

Ruprect
16th April 2008, 10:13
If it were a Hollywood film:

Finance contractors are Chuck Norris and non-finance contractors are Mr Bean.

type "finding chuck norris" into google and hit I feel lucky... also, chuck norris facts are worth a look too: Chuck norris tore up his copy of the periodic table because the only element he recognises is the element of surprise

aussielong
16th April 2008, 10:15
Actually - if he's contract from what I read he'll be fine. They're still hiring them as they can get rid of them easy, it's permies that should eb worried ...

Why? If you're right, permies can collect their redundancy and then go contracting. No problem! The difference between permie and contract is not great these days - not in Aus anyway.

Bagpuss
16th April 2008, 10:17
If it were a Hollywood film:

Finance contractors are Chuck Norris and non-finance contractors are Mr Bean.


Problem is when they try the Chuck Norris lines it turns into Paul Calf

"you've got s hitty shoes mate"

Dow Jones
16th April 2008, 10:19
Increase in permie jobs (financial or otherwise) reflects economy doing well. Increase in contracting jobs doesn't, could well be the opposite. In good times there are more permie jobs, in bad times more contract ones according to my experience.

aussielong
16th April 2008, 10:23
Increase in permie jobs (financial or otherwise) reflects economy doing well. Increase in contracting jobs doesn't, could well be the opposite. In good times there are more permie jobs, in bad times more contract ones according to my experience.

Good point but what happens to the rates during the downturn though?

snaw
16th April 2008, 10:30
Why? If you're right, permies can collect their redundancy and then go contracting. No problem! The difference between permie and contract is not great these days - not in Aus anyway.

Cause in my experience there are a fair amount of permies who wouldn't stand a hope in hell of getting a contract cause they're absolutely useless. Sorry but it's true, much less so than contractors who have to prove they're up to it by delivering. Many permies in my experience are just treading water and haven't advanced or developed their skillset in years.

BlasterBates
16th April 2008, 10:46
Cause in my experience there are a fair amount of permies who wouldn't stand a hope in hell of getting a contract cause they're absolutely useless. Sorry but it's true, much less so than contractors who have to prove they're up to it by delivering. Many permies in my experience are just treading water and haven't advanced or developed their skillset in years.

:emb

aussielong
16th April 2008, 10:54
Cause in my experience there are a fair amount of permies who wouldn't stand a hope in hell of getting a contract cause they're absolutely useless. Sorry but it's true, much less so than contractors who have to prove they're up to it by delivering. Many permies in my experience are just treading water and haven't advanced or developed their skillset in years.

Not in the IB where i work - even the permies are grafting - and nobody is treading water. You sound really cool. Why don't you help your permie mates by spreading your vast knowledge.

Moscow Mule
16th April 2008, 10:55
permie mates .

Is there an oxymoron smilie?

aussielong
16th April 2008, 11:01
Is there an oxymoron smilie?

done know

but your signature is an anagram of "i fart and love bad cunnilingus farts"

snaw
16th April 2008, 11:01
Not in the IB where i work - even the permies are grafting - and nobody is treading water. You sound really cool. Why don't you help your permie mates by spreading your vast knowledge.

I've worked in Banks for the best part of 15 years, inc two of the top three. I'm by no means suggesting all permies are rubbish, cause it's not true. But there are a fair few people in permie roles who've been there a while and are very comfortable - who should be worried right now, cause if they get kicked out into the real world they'll find that the last 10/15 years spent learning the processes of the particular bank they work in, as opposed to trying to up their skillset will find them in trouble.

An recent example for me - my last role, at a big bank, had a team of 8 guys - 4 perm/4 contractors, 3 of us contractors with CCIE's, the other a decent CCNP, who basically bar one permie guy did most of the really technical stuff.

Three of the permie guys would struggle in a technical interview if they left and would struggle to get work. That scenario isn't unique in my experience to my last contract (Or the current one I'm on - but that's not banking for a change and the permies here are in no danger).

There are crap contractors out there, but they don't last long in banking - permie ones are a bit harder to get rid of ...

aussielong
16th April 2008, 11:04
I've worked in Banks for the best part of 15 years, inc two of the top three. I'm by no means suggesting all permies are rubbish, cause it's not true. But there are a fair few people in permie roles who've been there a while and are very comfortable - who should be worried right now, cause if they get kicked out into the real world they'll find that the last 10/15 years spent learning the processes of the particular bank they work in, as opposed to trying to up their skillset will find them in trouble.

An recent example for me - my last role, at a big bank, had a team of 8 guys - 4 perm/4 contractors, 3 of us contractors with CCIE's, the other a decent CCNP, who basically bar one permie guy did most of the really technical stuff.

Three of the permie guys would struggle in a technical interview if they left and would struggle to get work. That scenario isn't unique in my experience to my last contract (Or the current one I'm on - but that's not banking for a change and the permies here are in no danger).

There are crap contractors out there, but they don't last long in banking - permie ones are a bit harder to get rid of ...

I didn't realise there was a Sys Admin contract market. I assumed most people on here were developers like me.

oracleslave
16th April 2008, 11:05
I didn't realise there was a Sys Admin contract market. I assumed most people on here were developers like me.

Some people move up from being code monkeys after a while.

snaw
16th April 2008, 11:06
I didn't realise there was a Sys Admin contract market. I assumed most people on here were developers like me.

Look up from your keyboard and have a look around. There's a touch more than just sysadmin or developers in the IT world.

BlasterBates
16th April 2008, 11:06
There are crap contractors out there, but they don't last long in banking...

:emb

You'd be surprised....

snaw
16th April 2008, 11:08
:emb

You'd be surprised....

Actually no, you're right - but they're outnumbered by crap permies imo. Some people are naturally good at hiding how sh!te they really are.

aussielong
16th April 2008, 11:09
Some people move up from being code monkeys after a while.

Move up to what? What can you move up to that isn't a different career?

oracleslave
16th April 2008, 11:14
Move up to what? What can you move up to that isn't a different career?

Good point. The only people that work in IT are developers :rolleyes:

sasguru
16th April 2008, 11:16
Stop feeding the troll!

snaw
16th April 2008, 11:19
He's not very good if he's a troll.

aussielong
16th April 2008, 11:22
Good point. The only people that work in IT are developers :rolleyes:

No but fing is, most decent developers can do DBA, SysAdmin, BA and Architecture work more or less. The opposites do not hold true. So when I think about IT people I think about developers, not the service people around us.

snaw
16th April 2008, 11:26
No but fing is, most decent developers can do DBA, SysAdmin, BA and Architecture work more or less. The opposites do not hold true. So when I think about IT people I think about developers, not the service people around us.

Umm, so though I can do ops, implementations, architecture, project management, routing & switching, security, voice and some mpls, I guess I'm just not talented at all.

BrilloPad
16th April 2008, 11:28
No but fing is, most decent developers can do DBA, SysAdmin, BA and Architecture work more or less. The opposites do not hold true. So when I think about IT people I think about developers, not the service people around us.

the contract market covers alot of areas.

aussielong
16th April 2008, 11:31
Umm, so though I can do ops, implementations, architecture, project management, routing & switching, security, voice and some mpls, I guess I'm just not talented at all.

routing & switching? voice? my 60 year old Dad managed to set his own network up at home and he was a welder before retiring. haha. any plumb can read a book and follow instructions.

snaw
16th April 2008, 11:33
routing & switching? voice? my 60 year old Dad managed to set his own network up at home and he was a welder before retiring. haha. any plumb can read a book and follow instructions.

You're not very good at this trolling malarky, are you?

BrilloPad
16th April 2008, 11:35
You're not very good at this trolling malarky, are you?

There are worse...

Bring back Chico!

sasguru
16th April 2008, 11:36
I bet AussieL is a certified unix network technician.

Moscow Mule
16th April 2008, 11:36
Bring back Chico!

All contractors have the mark of the devil.

oracleslave
16th April 2008, 11:39
I bet AussieL is a certified unix network technician.

Of that there is little doubt. Except a mule's one, all others are useful in some way.

aussielong
16th April 2008, 11:46
I bet AussieL is a certified unix network technician.


i am a proper C.U.N.T. to DBAs and SysAdmins

realityhack
16th April 2008, 11:51
I'm sure all this twaddle is interesting to the OP.

:tired

aussielong
16th April 2008, 11:58
I'm sure all this twaddle is interesting to the OP.

:tired

Good point.

There is a distinction between working in financial markets (investment banks) and finance per se. You could get into SunGard and work on coding up derivatives pricing models someone else has thought up, with no background in that, for relatively good pay compared to what you are getting.

If you want to get into IB's do the Securities Institute exams first and then at least you will be able to talk the talk in the interview (http://www.sii.org.uk) and you will look keen. Aim for Back Office roles first.

Diestl
16th April 2008, 12:03
Working in finance is different in that you'll probably be on the bench soon.:ohwell

lambrini_socialist
16th April 2008, 12:14
thanks everyone, really interesting stuff. i'm having a lot of fun working for TV broadcasters, computer games companies and the like, so although switching industries could be lucrative, i don't think i'll be putting on shoes or whipping out the laminated wipe-clean picture of Mrs Thatcher any time soon. ;)