What's your name and job title?
Megan Humble – Graduate software developer.
What did you study? When did you graduate?
I studied a Bachelor of Computer Science (with a Mathematics minor) and graduated in January 2018.
Where did you grow up? Can you tell us about your education?
I grew up in a small city in Germany and lived there for most of my life. This is also where I studied computer science. During my time at university I took part in an exchange program with the University of Technology Sydney and studied in Sydney for a year.
How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?
During my exchange year I did an internship at IMC and was offered a graduate position. I went back home to finish my degree and moved back to Sydney just after graduating. I’ve been working at IMC for one year now.
How did you choose your specialisation?
I found IMC’s job offer online and was immediately interested. It seemed like the perfect way to combine my interests in math and coding in a high-performance, competitive industry.
What was your interview process like? What kind of questions were you asked?
I originally interviewed as an intern, however the process for graduates and interns is very similar. The interview process included an online coding challenge, a video interview and two days on-site with both technical and behavioural interviews.
What does your employer do?
IMC is a high-frequency trading firm. They develop their own software, which trades on markets all over the world, focusing on low latency, technology-driven trading.
What are your areas of responsibility?
My main responsibility is writing code, to extend, maintain or fix parts of our system. To do this, I need a good understanding of the trader’s requirements and our trading systems, as well as the technical side of things.
If traders need help with the system, it is also part of my responsibility to help them get things running smoothly again.
Can you describe a typical work day? What was the last thing you worked on?
When I get to work in the morning, I make breakfast and check on what has happened overnight. We’re a global company so there could be a lot of code changes overnight. Most of my day is then spent writing and reviewing code.
When I get assigned a new task, I first make sure I understand the requirements. This will often involve collaborating with traders to understand how they are planning on using a new feature or what issues they are having with the current set up. Then I will spend some time writing and testing the code. Once I am done, my colleagues have the chance to review the code and make sure I haven’t missed anything important. This gives me more confidence when pushing changes that directly impact our trading systems. In return, I also spend some time of my day reviewing the code of colleagues.
Once my colleagues and I are happy with the changes, I ask a trader to try them out and make sure they work as expected, before releasing them to our production systems.
What are the career prospects with your job? Where could you or others in your position go from here?
IMC has a very flat company structure. Graduates are given a lot of responsibility early on to make decisions and drive their own ideas.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Computer science or software engineering are the most common subjects for the software development graduates, as programming skills are required.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
I would probably have continued studying and done my postgraduate. I enjoyed my internship so much though, that I decided to start working at IMC instead. I was looking for a challenging job that would let me combine my interests in math and computer science.
What do you love most about your job?
There’s a quick feedback loop, as we don’t have any external customers. Traders start using new features very quickly. This way I immediately know that my work is having an impact. We also get a lot of responsibility early on to make decisions and help out when there are issues.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job? Do you bear a lot of responsibility?
Having a lot of responsibility is fun but can also be stressful; people here are very helpful though, when it comes to overcoming challenges.
What advice would you give to a current university student?