The Financial Times says hedge funds and investment banks are no longer interested in simple traders: they want ‘computer scientists’ instead. People who can code algorithms are suddenly more precious than people who’ve studied market trends.
Coding skills will do more than get you a job in trading, however. They might also make your life easier. Traders on Twitter are circulating a series of ‘life hacks’ allegedly uncovered at a Russian technology firm after a top programmer was poached by a rival.
The programmer in question had allegedly set up a series of scripts to reduce his workload. “If anything took more than one and a half minutes, he wrote a script for it,” says the colleague who discovered the scripts after he’d moved on.
- A script for dealing with his wife – If his wife emailed him after 9pm, his system automatically emailed her to say, “I will be late at work hon,” followed by an excuse randomly selected from a hardcoded list.
- A script for dealing with an irritating and needy colleague – A needy colleague from an outsourcing company kept emailing the programmer with irritating queries. He therefore set up a script which searched for emails containing words like ‘help’ and ‘sorry’ from that colleague, and responded with ‘No problem bro’. Be careful next time. – Happy to help.’
- A script for dealing with a hangover – On days when he was incapacitated with a hangover and unable to login before 8.45am (this being Russia, after all), an email would automatically go out saying, ‘Not feeling great today, will work from home.’
- A script for making coffee – The coder’s colleagues were most surprised by a hack which involved the company coffee machine, which they hadn’t even realized was networked. The employee had seemingly found a way of starting the process of making a cup of coffee so it was ready to be poured into a cup ‘right around the time a casual walk from his office would mean he reached the coffee machine.’