• Role: Analyst, Equity Derivatives IT
  • Location: London
  • University: Greenwich
  • Degree: Computing
  • Organisation: Barclays

Matthew Ward

What attracted you to a career in investment banking?

At the age of 28 I decided to change the direction of my career from small business management to the IT industry. I was keen to take on a new challenge, gain new skills and grow professionally, so I enrolled to study computing at the University of Greenwich.

During my studies I found that I had a real passion for programming applications, and so decided that this was the direction in which I wanted to take my career.

Whilst researching the various industries that offered these kinds of roles, I felt that the mixture of career development, continual professional education and constantly evolving operational landscape that investment banking offered would make it exactly the kind of environment that I would like to work in.

I initially joined Barclays for the summer internship, which led to an invite to the graduate programme. I progressed to a permanent position at the end of the year-long programme.

I chose to apply at Barclays because of its history, emphasis on continual learning and development, meritocratic environment and the commitment to investing in technology.

What does your role involve?

I am currently working in the Equity Derivatives Technology team as an application developer. My primary responsibilities are entirely technical in nature and range from user interface (UI) development to SQL/Oracle database work.

Our applications support the Equity Derivatives business through a group of pricing, risk and trading tools that are created in many different languages and frameworks.

These tools allow our front office people (sales and trading) to accurately price, structure and execute trades made up of a range of products.

The great thing about this role is that it gives an in-depth level of exposure to the financial side of the business which, as a computing student, is quite new to me and proving to be incredibly interesting. It also offers a challenge, requiring me to constantly learn new coding techniques to implement functionality in the correct way.

A typical day would involve a meeting in the morning to establish the tasks for the day. These could be small UI or bug fixes, or the continuing work on a larger piece of functionality.

The majority of the day is spent creating and testing code. As a part of a global team, the ability to communicate and synchronise work with others is crucial. The collaborative nature of our role means I am exposed to different techniques and methods of programming to learn.

What was the application process like – any advice?

The application process was broken into several steps:

  • Online application form
  • Online numeracy test
  • Online logical reasoning test
  • Telephone interview
  • Assessment centre.

While this list may seem long, it was actually a fairly quick process, with feedback on the result of each stage given promptly so you could begin to prepare for the next stage.

My advice would be to spend some time preparing for each stage of the application. There are many online resources that can help with brushing up your maths skills or logical reasoning, and you can research the company thoroughly before each interview stage, making sure to have an understanding of the culture as well as a broad knowledge of the products and services.

What would you like to achieve in the future?

As I am really just starting out in my professional IT career, I am focusing on absorbing as much knowledge as I can regarding the technologies that we use, and enhancing my coding skills to one day be considered a subject matter expert.

The extensive range of roles available and encouragement of internal mobility at Barclays mean that there are options to direct my career in different ways that will continue to provide new challenges and opportunities to learn. From a technology perspective, for example, you could look to aim for a role in management, or continue to expand your programming skills and pursue a purely technical career path – there are a lot of options to help you shape and progress your career.

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