I graduated in 2018 from Queen's University in Ontario, with a Bachelors of Commerce.
After graduation, I started my career in finance, working at what was (at the time) the largest cryptocurrency derivatives exchange in the world, BitMEX. Working out of their Hong Kong office, I spent just under two years in their graduate rotational program, rotating across their research, venture capital, structured products, and business development divisions.
That's where my passion for software engineering developed.
During my time at BitMEX, I gained a tremendous appreciation for their trading operations powered by a relatively unknown programming language called q/kdb+. Unlike Python, C++, C#, or any other well-known programming language, q is a proprietary programming language. This means you need to purchase a license (for a very hefty price) to utilize the commercial 64-bit version.
Over the course of my just-under two years at BitMEX, I progressively became more enamored with q/kdb+, frequently utilizing it to both complete tasks (that would have taken ten times longer using other tools like Excel) and collaborating with senior q/kdb+ engineers on largescale open-source projects (see qExplorer on GitHub).
At the end of those two years, I was given an ultimatum.
As the rotational program at BitMEX came to a close, I was given a promotion to join their structure products team. At the time I was extremely conflicted. I knew I had a knack for software engineering, as I was able to learn what seemed like a difficult programming language to most in an extremely short time. At the same time, I was given a generous offer to join a core team with a six-figure base salary. I was totally conflicted - I was unsure whether I should leave BitMEX and pursue software engineering full-time, or accept their promotion and become a full-time structured products analyst.
And needless to say, I have never regretted my decision.
After leaving BitMEX, I flew back to my parents' place in Toronto, Ontario, staking out 10 hour days for three months straight, in order to refine my programming skills and become a marketable software engineering candidate. During my three months working out of a spare bedroom, I was able to pickup both C++ and C# to a level of proficiency that outpaced most computer science graduates. Leveraging both the non-technical skills I gained while in school and my studied technical knowledge, I landed several offers at a variety of both quantitative trading firms (Citadel) and traditional technology companies (Soundhound).
Today, I'm a quantitative developer based in Chicago, working on proprietary trading systems in a workplace I'm genuinely excited to be in, with colleagues I love talking to, working on engaging and difficult projects.