Thursday, October 01, 2009

OpenGamma Is Hiring

People who have been following the blog for a while, or my twitter feed, will know that I've co-founded a startup called OpenGamma, that we've received a significant equity investment, that we're working in the financial services technology space, and that we're so stealth we don't even have a web site. And now I'll add another nugget of information into the mix: we're hiring.

Immediately, we have head count for one person, and I'm describing what I'd like for that one hire below. However, we're always open to finding someone good, so no matter when you find this post, if you think you might be a good fit for the company, send your CV over; if we can't hire you right away we'll let you know right away, but our headcount requirements are changing constantly. We might not be able to hire you right now, but if we think we might have room later on, we'll let you know.

About OpenGamma

Let's completely ignore whether you're a good candidate for the role that we're looking to fill. The #1 question you should be asking yourself, without even knowing what we do, is do I want to work with these guys? Hopefully this section can fill you in about who we are.

OpenGamma was founded by three people: your humble author, Elaine McLeod, and Jim Moores. Of the three, I'm the only without a PhD, and Elaine and Jim remind me of this on a regular basis. I'm the CTO and Acting CEO [1]; Elaine is our resident quant; Jim works on our core engine. We've known each other for years now, and bring a combined 30 years of technology experience (13 in finance) to the table.

The team has already grown beyond the three of us, and by the time you read this we'll have one more person working on-site and one more who's agreed to join. So you'd be coming on board when we're still quite small, but that's one of the major attractions for a lot of people. We believe that since you'll likely be spending more waking hours with us than your family or friends, it should be an enjoyable, social atmosphere (one of the earliest decisions we had to make was which local pub to adopt [2]).

We're well capitalized, having just closed a Series A equity investment by a major international Venture Capital group [3]. We have an office in the London Bridge area [4], from whence we can easily make lunchtime trips to Borough Market [5]. We have fast computers and big monitors and good (unfiltered) network connections and tons of Diet Coke and all the types of things that mean nobody's banging his or her head against "if only I had X, I could code better/faster."

What we don't have is meaningless policy, bureaucracy, procedures, politics, or other stupidity. We don't have a dress code. We don't have any paperwork other than expense claim forms and what we're required by law to fill out. We believe that the only policies we need are "do the right thing." We believe the only procedures that are worth having are the ones that help you, and us, execute better. We believe in hiring the best, enabling them to perform, and trusting them.

About You

I probably don't know you. But I can guess a lot about who you are, if you're going to be a good fit for the team at such a critical early stage in OpenGamma's life.

First of all, you know something about Front Office or Risk technology in capital markets. Ideally, you've worked for a broker-dealer or investment bank in your past, and might even be working there now. While this isn't critical for every hire we make, it is for this one. You get a thrill out of working under the constraints that modern trading software requires, and you like producing software not just for its own sake, but to solve business problems.

However, you're not 100% happy working for a Big Bank. You've beat your head against policies, procedures, internal audit, external audit, anything that stops you from doing your job effectively, one too many times. You're sure that it doesn't have to be that way. Maybe you started out trying to change things, thinking that one person could make a difference to the organization, and gave up. Maybe you just thought "that's how it's got to be" until you discovered the wide world of technology outside your bank. But you know that you don't want to work there anymore.

You like technology; it's not just a 9-5 job with you. You read tech blogs [6], user-contributed sites like Proggit, Hacker News, and DZone. You post answers on Stack Overflow. You research new technologies even though you know your employer would never let you use them, because you find them interesting. You go to events like CloudCamp, Pub-Sub, and BarCamp. You probably code in your spare time.

You live within a reasonable commute of Central London. While at some point in our future we'll be happy for full remote working, we're not there now. You might need reasonable accommodation for your personal or family situation (and we're not just legally obligated, but happy to do so), but you have to be able to make it to the office on a regular basis.

Most importantly, you've gotten this far and thought to yourself "Wow; this sounds great! Kirk, tell me more!"

About The Role

So about this role. I can't tell you that much about it without bypassing the Great Shield Of The Stealth Startup, but here's your buzzword bingo section:
  • You need to know Java. It doesn't have to be your preferred language, but you need to know it.
    • +1 if you came to Java from a C/C++ background.
    • +1 if you got sick of Java-the-language and started working with other JVM-based languages.
    • +1 if you've worked with low-level APIs like the post-1.5 concurrency libraries and the IO and NIO systems.
    • -5 if it's confined solely to web applications.
    • -10 if you've only ever used a traditional full J2EE stack.
  • You need to be conversant with modern software engineering, architecture, and methodologies.
    • +1 for every agile technique you like to use
    • +1 if you understand the difference between agile and Agile, and prefer the former
    • +1 for IoC and use of Dependency Injection containers like Spring
    • +1 for rigorous use of automated test suites
    • +1 for dedication to continuous integration
    • +1 for every functional language you can still code in (Scheme from your SICP days doesn't count here)
  • You need to be familiar with a standard Front Office/Risk Technology stack. By this I mean message oriented middleware, enterprise-class databases, distributed systems.
    • +1 for every Trading System you've worked with
    • +1 for every source of market data you've worked with (Reuters, Bloomberg, Exchange Feeds, etc.)
    • +1 if you've setup your own MOM infrastructure
    • -2 if you used XMPP rather than a real MOM infrastructure.
    • +5 if you've worked with AMQP
  • You need to have some familiarity with analytic libraries for financial models. We don't need you to be a quant, but you should have worked with pricing models in the past.
    • +1 for every chapter in Hull you've managed to get through (and +2 for every problem you managed to do successfully without resorting to the solution book)
    • +1 for every pricing model you've seized from the quants to improve performance or stability
    • +10 if you understand why Correlation is a rubbish analytic for pricing credit derivatives (even if you can't work through the math)
  • You might be familiar, even if you haven't used them in anger, with some advanced technologies not every bank has rolled out yet:
    • Clustering and Data Grid technologies like Terracotta or Coherence
    • Hardware accelerated computation like GPGPUs and FPGA-based acceleration cards
    • Shared-memory or shared-flash clustering systems like Violin
    • Key-Value stores like Project Voldemort and CouchDB

Risk/Reward

Here's what OpenGamma can offer you:
  • The chance to work for an organization designed to allow you to produce great technology.
  • No bureaucracy.
  • An equity stake in the business.
  • The chance to learn about working for an early-stage startup first-hand.
  • A tech team filled with the smartest, best people we can get. In fact, if we can't find the right person, the role stays unfilled.

However, there are some things OpenGamma can't offer you:

  • Job Security. We're well capitalized, but we're still a startup. If you want/need a guaranteed job for several years, we're not for you.
  • The Chance To Hide. What you work on is going to be seen by everybody else in the firm on a daily basis. Moreover, you're going to interact with customers. You're going to interact with the public at large. No room for shrinking violets, and no room to coast on your teammates, I'm afraid.
  • Hedge Fund Cash Compensation. I believe in fair compensation for excellent staff; London is an expensive city, and if you're good enough to work for OpenGamma, your fixed expenses have largely grown commensurate with your banking salary income. We can offer good compensation, but we can't and won't match what you'll earn in a good year for an Investment Bank or a Hedge Fund: your equity stake is to make you whole over your employment at OpenGamma, and to make sure that everybody has aligned interests.

How To Apply

If you still think we might be a good match, send an email to jobs at opengamma dot com with your CV, and a description of why you think you're a good fit for OpenGamma, and we're a good fit for you.

Note: Recruiters/Agencies Not Welcome To Apply. We're not working with recruiters as of yet, so please don't contact us with a story about a candidate whose "profile" you're "exclusively representing." Any agency-provided CVs will be deleted unopened and unread.

Update 2009-10-28: We are now working with external recruiters, so if you're a candidate who just read that after a recruiter contacted you, ask to see the job specification. If they have it, they're definitely working for us.

Footnotes
[1]: I'm CEO during this, the most formative period of OpenGamma's lifetime; I'm not wedded to the role, and it will become quite clear to myself and our board of directors when it's time to bring in a permanent CEO. Until then, I'm it.
[2]: The Trinity. Best one around, even though it's farther from London Bridge station than the office.
[3]: Yes, I'm coy about who it is. No, I'm not going to tell you unless you get to the phone discussion stage. Yes, we have valid reasons for that.
[4]: If Old Street is Silicon Roundabout, can we be Silicon Bridge or something?
[5]: Shame that it's 1/3 shut down these days...
[6]: Like this fine screed. That guy's really good, if a little opinionated for my liking. He should calm down a little and go back to writing about tech stuff rather than politics and personal attacks on industry figures.
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