Employee Story – Matthew Whitehead
Trainee Software Developer
What does a typical day look like for you?
My day usually starts by watching the market open and talking to senior members of the team to gain insight into what is going on during the day of trading.
I’m quite inquisitive and like to know what’s going on, so I spend a good amount of time watching the person who is trading on the day and working with the traders and developers to try to figure out ways to help and improve our strategies. That usually means for 5mins its trading only and all we do is trade, then we discuss what’s happened, how a strategy is behaving and why – often that means asking probing questions to find out what’s going on in the trader’s heads.
The debrief and timing totally depend on the day – on a regular day, trading may be slower and the debrief short. On a busy day the entire team will take part. That’s when I’ve found myself in conversation with Chris our CEO, the head of trading and a senior trader in the company. It’s an open dialogue and because I’m closely connected to the code I can give different insight and figure out ways to apply the knowledge we gained.
A large amount of my day is usually taken up by research and development aimed to improve existing strategies, but I also mentor a couple of graduates and am responsible for many of the day to day operations of the team. Typically that includes communicating with Brokers, helping with production issues, such as bug fixes or outages and being a main contact for our colleagues in Europe. For example, once a week, we’ve got a call where we talk about problems or things that have gone well to make sure we’re all on the same page and share any knowledge that might be useful.
At lunch, I often play a game of ping pong and at about 3pm I go for a swim at the beach.
What do you enjoy most about working at Tibra?
I love the location of our office. For example, if I ever get stressed I take a break at the back of the office sitting right next to a creek with trees all around me and the mountains a couple of kilometers away or relax at the front of the office looking at the ocean through 5-6 pine trees.
I also love our team culture. I usually have 3-10 different things that I do at once and my work is extremely collaborative. Whether I’m researching or doing something else I often talk to traders, my team lead and other people in my team. No one goes into a vault, we always bounce our ideas of off each other and that applies to everyone. For example, as a graduate you’ll be assigned jobs and pieces of research and when you need help, there’s no difference between asking me or the head of market making – you just ask the person with the right experience and skillset, their position doesn’t matter.
What makes Tibra different?
The thing that makes Tibra different is the management style. I am regularly consulted by Heads of Departments for my opinion on things, even though I am a relatively junior member of the team. If I worked elsewhere, I would probably just be a number, it wouldn’t matter who I am but at Tibra you actually feel like if you weren’t there, the work wouldn’t get done and the task you are doing is important to the success of Tibra, you’re making a difference.
What do you like about your team?
We’re all extremely different, with varying degrees (engineers, mathematicians, sports scientists, people who did commerce) and from different walks of life and backgrounds, but our common denominator is that we’re all very focussed, very driven. We have similar base skills set but very different knowledge kit and working together we can develop pretty awesome stuff. Plus the atmosphere is completely relaxed while professional and fun.
Tell us your proudest moment at Tibra.
My proudest moment at Tibra is my first strategy roll out. It was the first task that wasn’t just like a training exercise. When you first start you do a lot of exercise tasks, things that are nice to have but not 100% required and they are great to learn from. About 6 months into working at Tibra I got my first strategy rollout project. My supervisor thought I showed skill in righting a particularly type of code and wanted to see what I can do with it. It took a few months of training and then about a month and a half to put it into practice. Throughout the process, when I had question’s I could ask people around me, but I still owned the process.
On the big day, I worked with another team to roll it out and Chris, our CEO was on the phone as my strategy went live on the markets. The roll out was also mentioned in stand ups and pretty well published. There were stressful moments when I came across hiccups but it was a hugely rewarding process.
Why did you join Tibra?
I joined Tibra because I wanted to challenge myself and do work that has an impact. At the Uni events you get a feel for what Tibra does, that it’s one of those companies where you know it has to be a hard job – otherwise you wouldn’t get all the benefits. Challenge and innovation in in Tibra’s DNA. At Tibra you can work on something that barely anyone else in the world has worked on, use state of the art technology, get to know stellar people and make a real difference for the business. Your work will make things easier for others, train people and improve the business performance. Everything you do has a very clear and direct measurement of how it effects the business and the people around you.
You have to work hard and build your skills, but you love it because it’s your own achievement – you owned it.