Blog entry by Software Developer, Jakob Friis
Having an edge on financial markets can come in many forms as e.g. market knowledge, data, or an agile infrastructure. Several of these require a large degree of automation, which will require some kind of knowledge within technology. Lind Capital is no exception. We experience an increased need for professional skills within this area, and this blog entry describes how it feels to play a central role in this – the role as Software Developer at Lind Capital.
Out of +40 employees 11 of us are part of Lind Capital’s Technology team. At Lind Capital we do not have any external customers, meaning that our colleagues are our end-users. Enquiries from colleagues in other teams can be many and varied, and we supply everything from quick access to key data, and big systems assisting with cumbersome reporting and risk management tasks. Furthermore we develop systems providing intelligent trading decisions. By bringing knowledge to the traders we empower them to choose the best possible trades. To facilitate trading on this knowledge, we build systems that bring them close to the markets, allowing them to place and update hundreds of orders in a matter of seconds. As a consequence, we must have a quick, light weighted, and efficient way of producing software. Here is how we do it:
Agile development – A popular term within software development. We use it to quickly push out releases and receive immediate feedback from our end-users/colleagues, which we incorporate before the next release. With the end-users being only meters away, we have an advantage in order to customise projects as much as possible to their needs.
You quickly get answers to questions related to the projects, which is a big help since our colleagues’ business knowledge is essential in order to develop the best systems. However, having our end-users so close also means that we constantly have to balance things we produce to support the company, and infrastructure projects, which lift our coding effort, and lift quality of already existing code.
Quality Assurance – At Lind Capital quality assurance is a value we aim to pursue when developing software. We have a strong culture of feedback. Almost all code is reviewed by at least two separate developers, and their feedback is incorporated before release. We use concepts from Scrum and Kanban to keep our work agile, and to keep our focus on the entire process until release.
We rarely put deadlines on our development work. Why? Because it prevents us from cutting processes short. Instead we complete projects with focus on quality before quantity. As a developer this means I can complete a project in high standards, which I am comfortable with, and proud of.
Continuous Deployment – Is about ensuring that software is deployed safely and released often. At Lind Capital we try to keep our software stable, and therefore we have a build server that is constantly building, testing, and monitoring code we produce. We also have a very short release cycle, leading us to release a new version of code within a couple of minutes, speeding up things as e.g. debug cycles in production.
Being a Software Developer at Lind Capital does not mean we let go of software when it is released. Instead, in the spirit of the DevOps culture, we have the primary responsibility for deployed software. We have a rotating support role in the team where we ensure that systems are running, and where we help the rest of the company with any issues related to our software.
Further development of professional competencies – The software industry is rapidly changing, and it is important to stay updated, and continue to develop your proficiency within the field. At Lind Capital we do this by having study groups where we look at interesting technologies, share our internal knowledge on projects and thereby leverage each other’s skills. In addition, we are encouraged to spend time on collecting new knowledge. I spend an average of 1-2 hours each week looking up interesting articles or videos, striving to improve my knowledge.
As a software developer team we also have our challenges. Remember how I mentioned that we almost never have any deadlines? At the beginning of this year, a bunch of new legislations was implemented in EU. This meant that we had to produce several software systems within a short period of time, which caused some issues because we did not have time to fully test the systems before release. Therefore, the last couple of months were spent polishing these new systems and removing bugs.
However, the job as Software Developer at Lind Capital is more than just coding. We have a unique culture and a great social environment at the office. We celebrate our successes and we challenge each other in different competitions, and spend time playing table soccer or PlayStation as well.
Last year, we arranged an internal Counter Strike tournament. Six teams were formed and the Technology team won after some dramatic preliminary matches. After this, the winning team joined a national CS tournament for companies, but unfortunately our skills here were insufficient – luckily these are not the skills Lind Capital is dependent on today and tomorrow.