AMA - Financial Techonology/Unique Background

While I know most people on this forum have no interest in IT jobs even if they are in finance, there may be someone with my background who would be interested in my story.

Age: 27
Department: Technology - I would say this is MO at my firm if you work on investment related software, and BO if you are tech support/networking etc.
Title: VP
No BS/BA - Attended a Canadian university as a math major and dropped out in 2006 due to personal issues. I am however an American citizen and went to Canada because it was cheap.
I have been working in technology since 2008.

Firm Info:
Asset Management - 200bil+ AUM

My Timeline:
I started working as a contractor for a financial firm in 2013.

After working as a contractor for about 8/9 months I inquired about becoming an employee and within a year or so of working as a contractor I became an employee.

My responsibilities went from a just programming to working with the FO to create software for analysts and PMs, as well as managing these projects. I also got everything I could have asked for regarding benefits, pay and title. Of course, I work more than I used to and have a lot more responsibility. I enjoy this though and it is what I want.

Currently, I am studying for the Level 1 CFA exam this June. I honestly enjoy a lot of the CFA material. I am surprised at how much of the L1 material I am familiar with.

You can ask about my personal issue I would rather do so via private message. It does give perspective to my story, but I would prefer to not broadcast it everywhere.

Comments (9)

Feb 16, 2015

Congrats on finding what you want. Why are you doing the CFA?

I've worked in IT for almost a decade, which help me land an analyst gig in VC before taking my current role.

What kind of software do you build for PMs/FO? Where do you see your career going in the next 5 years? 10?

That's a large firm, on a AUM basis, how large is the IT dept.? how formalized is it? what sort of work do other people do around you?

Feb 16, 2015

I am taking the CFA to better understand finance. I am also using it to "replace" my lack of an undergrad degree. I have too few credits to warrant going back to school even part time. I also want to increase ITs profile within the firm.

What it all boils down to is without a CFA I will never work in the FO. I also think understanding finance would be key to producing more valuable ideas for the firm. This is key to standing out in technology. Anyone with IT experience can follow FO orders.

The software we create for the research side is focused on risk and forecasting.

We have also done things to help with passive communication, processing news and determining trader and analyst performance.

I see myself managing my own team in 5 years. I am currently being groomed for the role. I also think the FO may be a possibility in 10 years, but my other long term plan would be moving technology up the food chain to a near FO level department because it provides such value.

I think if finance companies see a good technology department as a competitive advantage the salaries and respect for the department would increase greatly.

Our IT department including contractors is probably about 120+ people.

It is less formalized and has a very flat structure. I would say a little over half of of the IT department is focused on software for the FO and the others half is help desk, DBA, networking, or supporting a specific departments needs. IE Relationship management, Operations, Trading.

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Feb 16, 2015

Not to throw stones, but isn't a bachelor's required for CFA?

Feb 16, 2015

No, professional work experience counts as well. I have more work experience than required.

CFA exam requirements are college credits + work experience in a professional setting must be equal to or greater than 4. The work experience doesn't have to be finance. But to become a CFA member I would need 4 years of experience at my firm.

Feb 16, 2015

Interesting, didn't know that. Thanks.

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Feb 16, 2015

what was going on 2008-13, prior to working at the AM firm?

Feb 16, 2015

Working at a small educational software company from 2008-2012 and then working at a small tech start-up until 2013.

Feb 16, 2015

Whats your salary? How hard is it to move to tech in the FO?

Feb 16, 2015