What first attracted you to Optiver?
I heard about Optiver through my friends. I knew a few smart people who worked here, and the fact that I’d be surrounded by intelligent colleagues really attracted me.
What does your job entail?
My main role is to utilise data to improve our trading systems. This can come in the form of fixing issues or optimising the current system. My work is quite varied, and priorities often depend on how our systems are operating. The vast amount of data we capture helps us to identify the areas with the largest potential for improvement. Data also supports us to define the best strategies for improvement, as well as analyse the effectiveness of our changes.
We have a wide variety of researchers – where I work on the systems, others work on modelling and developing our trading strategies.
Key skills you use?
You need to be able to identify what is the best approach for each scenario, and which data will be most useful. If the data does not exist, talk to the relevant people and see if we can collect it. Once you have the data, the next step is to filter and improve data quality – this is where our programming ability (mostly Python) can really help.
Who do you work with?
I work with traders to define the relevant indicators of our trading platform’s performance and how we want the system improved. We discuss a lot of ideas, and I then work with Developers to get those improvements implemented. Once the updates are made, we all review the results to determine what change we should make next.
Your proudest achievement?
I ran a project to improve our systems’ efficiency at providing prices and volumes to the market. We’d always had high-quality data from the exchange, but we’d never been able to utilise it fully. I had an idea in my mind, and then I worked closely with one of our Intern Software Developers to set up the specifications and provide direction. We worked on that project for a month and the outcome has been great. One year on that improvement continues to give us greater insight into our trades, as well as identifying areas for future improvements.
Favourite part of working at Optiver?
Definitely the working environment. Regardless of who I work with, or how long I’ve been here, my work is always appreciated.
What challenges did you face initially?
My lack of financial background. I had literally zero finance knowledge. When I started, ‘Researcher’ was quite a new job and there weren’t many senior people to guide your learning. Now we have a much larger team and better education structure in place to get people up to speed quickly.
Advice to potential applicants?
We care about you being a cultural fit as much as we care about your talent. Most people try to emphasise their talent, which we definitely need but, we also really care about how well you fit in our environment. We value team players, people who are enjoyable to work with. So make sure you demonstrate your talent as well as what kind of person you are.