What is your background and how did you come about joining AquaQ?
I have an academic and industrial background in Chemical Engineering and the Pharmaceutical Industry. During my graduate programme I started to take an interest in programming and through researching this career change I came across AquaQ Analytics’ Graduate Financial Software Developer role. It was initially appealing to me as AquaQ were accepting candidates with a STEM background, offering the opportunity to complete a comprehensive kdb+ training program with the end goal to work as a kdb+ software developer.
Tell me about the interview process
After sending in your application for the Financial Software Developer role along with your CV, the interview process involves 3 main steps. Firstly, HR organise a phone interview to get to know a bit more about the candidate. If successful at this stage the candidate is given a test to work on over the period of a week to test out their ability to learn the basics of the kdb+ language. If this goes well, the final stage is a 3 stage interview, including an interview with a senior developer, a review of the test with a senior developer and a logic test. I found the interview experience challenging but also beneficial as it tested my ability to learn a new language I had never worked with before and instilled the confidence I needed to make this career change. I also got a great impression of the company from all the employees I met during this process.
Where has the role taken you since joining AquaQ and where do you aspire to be?
Since my start date I have completed AquaQ’s kdb+ training bootcamp along with classroom sessions in Finance, Market Data, Linux and kdb. I then worked alongside my cohort on support and enhancement issues in relation to AquaQ’s framework TorQ in a simulated client environment as part of the kdb training program. Alongside this training there were kdb+ tests, spot quizzes and AquaQ challenges. As new starts we were encouraged to answer any kdb+ related questions on SO or GoogleGroups, which enhanced my learning and problem solving abilities. On completion of the training I have moved on to work on one of AquaQ’s internal projects and hope to move onto a client project in the future.
Outside of work responsibilities, AquaQ have always got some sort of challenge or extracurricular activity planned for the entire company to get involved in if they please. I’ve been part of the Hong-Kong to NYC challenge which focused on getting everyone outside and exercising during lockdown boosting morale across the company. Other examples include First Friday Free Food, AquaQ’s food challenge where ‘make your own’ food kits were sent out (free lunch!) or random competitions all of which involve very humorous outcomes.
What advice would you offer to any graduate / experienced developer seeking a role in this area?
I would say go for it!
The training is very detailed and the more experienced “q-bies” in the company are very supportive and understanding when it comes to kdb+ trainees, making the learning process much more enjoyable and less stressful.
There are plenty of exciting opportunities within the company and it’s likely employees will get to work on a wide range of projects/clients allowing them to get a lot of exposure and gain experience in many different areas.
AquaQ as a whole are a very welcoming, motivated and fun company to work for and I would recommend anyone considering a career change or looking to expand upon their programming knowledge to apply.