A day in the life of an...

Application Engineer

The role of Application Engineer is crucial to Trading. We checked with Chiel from Optiver's Amsterdam office to find out what a typical day is like for an Application Engineer on the early morning shift. Read the full article below.
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  • A day in the life of an Application Engineer

    The role of Application Engineer is crucial to Trading. Our AE’s are close to the action. They are sitting right next to the Traders and maintain, monitor and improve the reliability, scalability and performance of our trading software. 

    We checked with Chiel from our Amsterdam office to find out what a typical day is like for an Application Engineer on the early morning shift. 

    08:00
    Being one of the first on the floor, my first priority is to ensure that the trading systems are up and running before European markets open. Our monitoring dashboards will show any abnormalities in the system that require attention. In general, no manual intervention is needed, but in case of serious technical issues, I must be ready to take immediate action. It's quite satisfying to be able to resolve these issues before the opening bell! 


    08:30
    It's time to meet with trading. In our daily morning meeting, I share any outstanding technical problems and high impact changes in our systems with the team. The traders share their opinions on overnight news and discuss upcoming events for the day. In case we expect a lot of movement in the market (volatility), I might decide to focus my day on monitoring the trading system's performance and keeping changes to the system to a minimum. If there are no outstanding issues, this would be a good moment to head to the plaza for some breakfast.


    09:00
    Most of the European exchanges open around this time; the system will get a burst of activity. This is a crucial time to be on the trading floor and keep a close eye on the monitoring dashboards, in case any production issues pop up. My role is to troubleshoot and mitigate the impact of an outage. 


    09:45 
    The AEs who support the late shift arrive in the office and we all join for a stand-up with representatives from our various technology teams. For any outstanding issues, this is the moment to make sure that relevant people are aware of any issues and working towards a solution. I also discuss the projects that I’m working on; all AEs are around in case there is a need for input.



    10:00 - 15:30
    During the middle of the day, I have time to work on specific projects. No two days are the same, but this could be anything from improving our monitoring systems, writing scripts to automate day-to-day operations, or working closely with development to resolve technical problems. 


    Later, I will discuss new ideas and technologies with Trading and Development. As the resident expert of the production trading system and its current performance, you can have significant impact on the design of our trading software and architecture. 
     
    Around noon, I head to the plaza to get some lunch with my colleagues. 

    15:30
    The US markets open, which increases the load on our systems as the majority of global trading happens on US exchanges. At least one Engineer is around to check the system performance and assist if tweaking to the system is required.

    16:00
    Towards the end of the day, I have a final stand-up meeting with all the AEs where we discuss all the changes we will apply overnight. Since we have multiple people working on the same system, this provides an opportunity to ensure everyone is on the same page and changes are not conflicting. Also, any enhancements that require additional attention from the morning AEs will be discussed during this time too. Most of the upgrades to our trading system are automatically staged for us, however, it’s crucial to run through some final checks before applying these changes to production. 


    16:30 
    Time to head home. Similar to the open, a few colleagues will be the last on the floor to support trading until the close of the exchanges. 

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Created to give you a closer look at the people that drive our business. We bring together a multidisciplinary group of talented people from all over the world. Traders, Developers and Researchers who love constant intellectual stimulation - they thrive on challenges and they’re driven by the prospect of venturing into unexplored territory, advancing their own abilities in the process. With this initiative we share their stories with you.

About Optiver

Optiver is a leading trading firm driven by technology with over 1000 employees world-wide. We pioneer our own trading strategies and systems using clean code and sophisticated technology, running a global network with thousands of high-performance low-latency applications. 

Our engineers take ownership for the full stack of applications and the entire development life cycle. Working in collaboration with our Traders and Researchers, they develop proprietary software that is often deployed into production the same day, with immediate results and a direct impact.

If you enjoy working in a fast-paced environment with a short feedback loop and are interested in joining our technology team of over 150 people from 40 countries, check-out our career opportunities page below.

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