View Full Version : What's "Experience of trading envirnonment" like?

3rd March 2004, 13:23

I have an interview for a development position with a commodities trading company in The City.

I see a lot of the ads on Jobserve looking for people for banking/finance etc specifiying "experience of working in a financial/trading environment".

Is there something special going on in a "trading environment" different from an "office environment"? Is it just more pressure/longer hours?


3rd March 2004, 15:49
Errm... from not too recent experience,

1) zero timescales
2) zero error rate
3) zero variation from user requirement
4) zero clarity in the user's requirement...
5)zero support if you miss any of the above

plus traders as a breed are not nice people (while at work that is, outside they're actually quite normal) - they're far too busy to give a stuff about your problems.

4th March 2004, 11:44
Business knowledge is a requirement not only in trading but often (but not always) in almost any sector.

If you haven't experience in telecomms it's difficult to get in to it, in an experienced position. Manufacturing or embedded control is the same, although in boom times you can more easily transfer.

The reasons are obvious. For example most trading systems are very similar, and if you've worked with one, you can relate easily to another. If some one talks to you about the yield curves, they don't have to explain to you what a yield curve is.

5th March 2004, 11:26
Plenty of pressure. I met a guy a few years ago who was doing first line support for a trading room.

When the phone went he had to sprint to the trading room before keyboards and screens got smashed.

The other important thing is to "fit in" and not to create waves. You might see useless projects wasting lots of money, but you keep your head down and get on with the job.

5th March 2004, 14:00
i walked round a investment banks trading floor once and heard a cry from a trader of "2nd Line"

Within 5 seconds he had 2 technical support people with him sorting out his problem. Turned out his mouse was playing up, but within 30 secs he had a replacement plugged in and he was on his way again

5th March 2004, 17:32
Nobody's seen fit to point out that this is probably related to investment banking and that they won't touch you if you don't have that experience...

8th March 2004, 17:12
Been in it for several years and basically comes down to how you handle pressure. Lots of pressure.

This scenario is fairly common: trader/s down, every second that ticks is potentially tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds of lost opportunity (Sometimes goes other way and they make when things are down). The trader/s are under an extreme amount of pressure, they pass this on to you.

You MUST be able to handle this sort of pressure, if you don't like people screaming at you, or working with the clock ticking or lots and lots of nights and weekend work (Nothing happens during trading hours normally), then don't do it.

On the flip side if you enjoy pressure then is doesn't get much more fun and high energy than trading environments.

G'Luck with your interview.

11th March 2004, 10:25
Thanks for all the posts.

I got the position and the place looks reasonably healthy from the outside, so I'll give it a shot.

Maybe I'll run screaming to a quiet software house within six months, begging to be let back into the darkened room with a nice blanket and no customers to get at me.

Or maybe it'll turn out fine and I'll manage the pressure ok. It'll be an experience anyway.

Thanks again,

12th March 2004, 16:08
Been in it for several years and basically comes down to how you handle pressure. Lots of pressure.

It doesn't need to be that way. I spent several years in a trading environment (major bank, huge trading volumes). Yes when the system is down is has to work yesterday, but panicking and feeling stressed doesn't help to solve any problems. It depends on how its organised. I never felt stressed in the bank, motivated - yes stimulated - yes under pressure - no not particularly, never worked overtime (got annoyed when I had to stay an extra half-hour), never worked on the weekend. We had a business analysts that provided an excellent interface to us developers. We just solved interesting technical problems; yes occasionally somebody might get "huffy" but then people get "huffy" buying a McDonalds burger.

The stress in investment banks is purely artificial, and is propogated by people who like to feel they're a cut above the rest, and so "bully" their underlings. It is however completely unnecessary. In fact investment bank systems are pretty "noddy" really.

19th March 2004, 14:53
I have to disagree with ya there. The stress in 'trading' environments is 100% about money and nothing else. Nothing artificial about dealing with say options traders on experation day when quite literally millions of pounds are at stake.

Nothing noddy about it either - then again you mention you were a developer so maybe you never experienced the pointy end.

And nobody mentioned panicking, which quite obviously is counter productive in this sort of environment. The key as I said is handling pressure, lots of it, by lots I measure that as directly proportional to money at stake against time down, but you would know that ...

22nd March 2004, 10:40
Snaw I don't disagree that there developers in UK investment banks don't experience a great deal of pressure. It just doen't need to be that way.

I'm currently working on a trading system that processes billions of dollars; it is one of the largest trading systems in Europe, and I'm experiencing about as as much pressure as Mrs Mopp in her sweet shop.

In the UK engineering, design/development processes are often very badly organised; this applies to all sorts of industries, and as a consequence people are put under emmense pressure. If systems are thoroughly tested BEFORE they go into production, then the ensuing problems are quite minor, hence low levels of pressure.

Occasionally traders would congratulate us on a job well done, and they would be very understanding of problems that did occur because they were very satisfied.

From a distance I have seen UK development teams in action and it is not a pretty sight !!! (young twenty-odd years olds without a clue).