As many in this field I consider myself a self-learner, admitely i started university back in Italy. I wasn’t sure what to do, and my options were either Philosophy or Computer science. What happened is I didn’t pick any of those and i moved straight to London. It was a nice experience and being immersed in such a fast paced environment and surrounded by opportunities, I decided to move back to Italy ( UK Universities are expensive ) and continue my studies. I went for Computer Science and started working as a Mainframe Developer at the same time, by the time of the first exam I already dropped out and moved into a Junior .NET position.
Why did you Seek a career in financial software development?
I’ve been into computers and tech since I was a kid, i had my first console at the age of three, and my whole childhood is full of memories of afternoons spent in internet cafes and counter-strike tournaments. Growing up I had access to an internet connection, and that was the breakthrough into learning. I started tinkering and playing around with whatever was free and accessible on the internet, and it got me hooked into a mindset of challenge and problem – solving.
Further down the line, I got involved into more specific fields as security, innovations, and automation.
How was your first Software Developer job or nuggets from jobs you had that helped you to get to where you are today?
As I stated previously, my first position was a Junior Mainframe ( COBOL / JCL ) Software Developer Job, after a couple of weeks of training I was part of a small team, writing and maintaining code for systems way older than me. Unfortunately, this wasn’t much of a challenge and after learning the syntax and the environment the tasks were pretty much the same over and over.
This gave me the opportunity to rethink my idea of development and look forward of what I was actually looking for as a career path, that’s where i realized that the only thing that matters it’s your own desire to achieve whatever you want, and stick to it until you get there.
How did you prepare for a financial software developer interview?
Interviews has never been much of a problem, at least after the first one. I had this idea, as many of my age at the time, that an interview is an interrogatory of your experiences and technical skills, but how I learned straight away, and confirmed by many colleagues and superiors in the following years, what counts the most is the person behind all of this.
I’ve never payed to much attention to interview preps, and if you have to prepare for an interview probably you’re the position is not comfortable for you, in regards of the technical parts.
Books that helped you to become financial software developer?
As stated before, i didn’t use much preparation even tho, a few times has backfired. As a financial software developer, there is such a limited array of techincal information that is mandatory, and it’s basic principles based on the position (eg. SOLID principles for OOP, or CI/CD for Full stack) but those are listed everywhere around the internet and the interview prep literature, so my advice is pick one that suits you better and stick with it. In the end what matters the most is your attitude.
Things are changing very fast in the industry, how do you keep yourself updated. Please list techniques or newsletter, podcasts, events etc
This is a really good point and fundamental for anyone in the industry, I feel very lucky to be able to do something that I love as a job, at the end it doesn’t feel like it at all, but that’s because my whole life revolves around what I do too. I attend meetups and events regularly, both locals and internationals (this is a really good opportunity for networking), Hackathons and CTFs are really fun activites and gives you the ability to mesure your skillset. I follow official blogs and read books about frameworks and technology I use or I would like to. I contribute to open projects and share my own code on github.com. I discuss with fellow colleagues and try to be active in the community both on social media and IRL. I think keeping up with the tech evolution and try all the new things is one of the best parts of this whole lifestyle and it’s the main reason why things don’t get stale even after a while.
What can you recommend on CV?
I would say keep it as simple as you can. Put only the things that you can’t talk about yourself, being able to present yourself and your mind set in a short amount of time is a valuable skill.
Advice for someone looking for financial software developer job?
Networking is everything in this industry and it’s the best place to start and be. Also know what you want, and pursue it.
why do you think you were selected among other candidates?
I still have the impostor syndrome hitting me some days, as when I look at my colleagues, they’re all very talented people. I do think that a combination of will and perseverance is what put me in this place, and all the ones before.
Theodor Chichirita is Financial Software Developer based in London, working in the Financial Industry driving change and digital revolution.Moving towards DevOps and Security, with an eye for what’s bleeding edge in the tech panorama.