In terms of niche positions for developers in the financial services industry, it is difficult to get more niche positions than engineering positions who work on ultra-low latency systems in systematic hedge funds and corporations. high-speed market making. They don’t come back often, and when they do, they need a special talent: the ability to program. Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA).
Quantitative hedge funds and high-speed market-making firms hire FPGA engineers. In finance, they can be found everywhere from Citadel Securities, to DE Shaw, Susquehanna International, Maven Securities and Jump Trading. Few come from the financial services community: most come from chip design and hardware engineering companies. Ben Hodzic, executive director specializing in quantitative analysis at recruiting firm Selby Jennings in New York City, says they can be hard to find – there just aren’t many FPGA programmers. “Most commercial companies will consider FPGA talent outside the industry, given the difficulty in finding it and the niche of a skill set.. “
The appeal of a good FPGA programmer is speed. FPGAs are literally “programming metal,” creating the circuit that will execute the trading signal. “Companies that focus strictly on low latency are always looking for ways to beat the others,” says a London consultant specializing in high-speed applications. “It’s about using C / C ++ and FPGA and other specialized techniques to reduce the delay by one nanosecond. Java, C ++ and FPGA can be used in parallel.
How much can you make as an FPGA programmer in a quantitative hedge fund or high speed market making firm? It is possible to be fairly specific, at least in the US market. Citadel Securities hired two FPGA programmers in America with H1B visas this year, and both salaries were disclosed in the H1B visa database: an FPGA programmer at Citadel Securities in Chicago has a salary of $ 180,000; another in Palm Beach costs $ 200,000; bonuses will be added to it.
One of the best known FPGA specialists in finance is located outside the northern hemisphere. David Snowdon, Director of Engineering at Arista Networks, is based in Sydney, Australia. Snowdon co-founded Metamako, a specialist supplier of low-latency, Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) compatible networking products to the financial services industry in 2013. Arista has acquired Metamako in 2013. Arista is also hiring FPGA designers and engineers for its offices around the world.
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