Canada Pension Plan Investment Board: Senior Java Developer (x3)

September 30, 2008

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is looking for three senior java developers:

We are currently looking for experienced Java Developers who can think outside the box and use your technical, critical thinking, and strong mathematics skills to manage the SDLC and deliver state of the art applications for this financial organization. You must have strong communication skills with experience in the financial industry. A PHD or Masters degree is a plus. 

The Senior Developer’s role is to write, code, test, and analyze software programs and applications. This includes researching, designing, documenting, and modifying software and specifications throughout the development lifecycle, as well as providing proactive level III application support for production systems. The Senior Developer will provide innovative and proactive solutions to challenging business problems, contribute to the development and maintenance of leading systems architecture and demonstrate a strong business acumen and subject matter expertise in investment management concepts. 

Collaborate with business analysts, technical analysts, clients and architects to conceptualize, design and develop new software programs and applications, including but not limited to database applications, web services and Enterprise Service Bus services that support our service oriented architecture 

Although the posting doesn’t specify the employer, “Integrity, Partnership and High Performance” seems to be a dead give-away for the CPP IB.  They are also looking for a few managerial positions which I may come back to.

The Good
There are a lot of financial institutions in Toronto, and most of them pay well below par, from what I can see.  In this case, the pay seems pretty competitive, at $95k-125k, which is the high end of most senior developer positions in Toronto.   

With three open positions for senior developers and a few managerial positions, this might be a good opportunity to get on board with a few people that you trust.   The role is moderately senior.  The technology stack seems reasonable for the most part.

The Bad
Despite the fact that a little detective work turns up the likely employer, that still leaves a lot of information gaps.  Who is the employer, is it really the CPP IB?  What do they do?  What will you be working on?  How big is the team you’ll be on?  How does that team get its job done, what’s the process?  What are the non-salary parts of the compensation plan?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to working on anything vaguely related to financials and investment right now.  Although the Canadian bywaters seem to be undisturbed, we’re still a long way from ‘safe’.

Your mileage may also vary when it comes to things like service-oriented architecture and enterprise service bus, both of which can be a cue that this is an organization that buys into vendor hype and adopts complex technology they don’t really need (although you’d really have to understand the CPP IB well enough to make that call).

In Summary
Moderately senior positions in financial company that manages tons of assets with reasonable technology and reasonable pay.


“International Investment Firm”: Development Manager / Architect

May 8, 2008

Pencom is helping a ‘Major International Investment Firm’ look for someone that they can call a ‘senior software development manager / architect‘:

  • Build, maintain, retain and grow a strong development team
  • Set technical architecture direction and vision for the development team
  • Partner with IT Mgmt and Business to deliver eCommerce projects on-scope, on-time and on-budget and contributes to evolve an effective strategy
  • Lead development of technology solutions to automate and support critical business processes and strategic plans

The title’s quite a mouthful, but the posting is reasonable, although I’ve seen this one before in other forms. In addition to the technical skills, they’re clearly looking for someone with a background in fixed-income securities (aka bonds) and messaging:

  • Experience with electronic trading aspects of the Global Fixed Income business, such as current and emerging new markets, connectivity, auto-quoting, distribution, etc.
  • Experience with full trade lifecycle events, and it’s technical and operational support

The Good
The salary is listed as ‘open’, which might be good. Investment banking is supposed to be an industry where there’s money to be made, although I’m not sure if that’s true for the development manager / architect types.

Certainly, there’s something appealing about the firm logic of financial markets and software development. They seem well-suited for each other, and because investment banks are a rarer bird than retail banking, the work might be more exciting.

The Bad
They don’t seem especially familiar with the adage, “on time, on budget, on quality: pick two.” That may simply be using industry boiler-plate for “looking for someone who won’t screw up our plans”, or they may be have-their-cake-and-eat-it types who refuse to acknowledge that software development is difficult to predict.

Those I’ve met who do work for retail banking are either very bored or very well paid, sometimes both. If investment banking isn’t more exciting, then you could be in for a dull ride.

Ultimately, the biggest problem here is the usual: lack of information. Who’s the investment firm, and are they on the verge of topping over in the sub-prime mess? What exactly is the work? Where is (or will be) the office? What are the details fo the technology? What’s the compensation, other than ‘open’? Are you building a team and a product from scratch, or working with an existing team and product? And so on.

Your mileage may vary with respect to the aforementioned ‘open’ salary. Does that mean it’s well-paid, or simply that they’re not sure how much they’re willing to pay you until they meet you?

In Summary
If you’re looking to make a move and a development manager / architect role in investment banking sounds like fun to you, this might be an interesting opportunity, but the only way to find out is to respond.

Sr. Developer (‘Multinational Investment Bank’)

April 24, 2008

A “multinational investment bank” is looking for a Senior Developer:

This position requires the ability to come up with independent ideas and work effectively within a global team to rapidly implement solutions and deliver production quality applications that are highly supportable and maintainable.The goal is to implement a scalable solution, which is responsible for connectivity to external ECNs, low-latency electronic trading and global inventory distribution. The candidate should be able to easily translate business strategy into scalable technical solutions, which could be leveraged globally.

The tech (Swing/RCP, Message Queues, JUnit, Ant) sounds reasonable.  But who is this, where are they located, what are they paying?

Merrill Lynch: Java Technical Lead

March 22, 2008

Merrill Lynch is looking for a Java Technical Lead to work at their Toronto Technology Centre of Excellence (250 Yonge, the Eaton Centre):

The Good
Merrill Lynch is a well-known financial company, and in the long run, financial companies often do well (although I’m not sure this the the right time to join one, what with subprime, but that’s another story).  The job seems to relate to securities trading and messaging, which could be interesting technically.

Although ‘centre of excellence’ is a little over-the-top, it does sound as if this’ll be a location of some importance for ML, so working there is perhaps a good thing.

Merrill also claims to be a bit of a meritocracy, although I’d have to talk to someone who works there to get a sense for how real that is (or isn’t):

Merrill Lynch places a high value on talent and on maintaining a culture defined by meritocracy. For these reasons, it is deeply committed to professional development, opportunity and accountability at all levels of the organization.

Having worked at 250 Yonge for four years, I can say that it’s a nice location, if not perfect.  It’s pretty central, there’s lots to eat in the area, getting a little shopping done is dead easy.  Transit access is good, although the TTC is always crowded and somewhat unreliable.  Surface routes are pretty congested, but it can be done.

The Bad
Nothing leaps off the page as being horrible.  Typically, financial institutions in Toronto don’t pay all that well, and the work can be dull, and process-bound.  I can’t argue whether or not that’s true for Merrill Lynch.  It sounds like a background in order management systems and the FIX protocol wouldn’t hurt, which I imagine some of you don’t have.

More of a sense of the project, the existing team, and the processes at work in ML would help a lot.  Some sense of compensation would also help.

It’s a little spartan, as postings go, but there’s no huge red flags either.      I’d certainly want to probe on compensation, process and culture, but if you’ve got the background in OMS and FIX they’re looking for, this seems worth a look.