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Growing from Intern to Software Developer

May 3, 2021

Brenda is originally from Sydney, but moved to Canberra in order to study a double degree in Advanced Computing (R&D) (Hon) and Actuarial Studies at ANU in 2016. After a semester, she found her passion in computing and was certain that she wanted to do Computer Science so dropped out of Actuarial Studies. From there, she did a range of research projects and other work in a variety of interesting fields such as compilers, memory management, signal processing and computer vision. In 2020, she completed an internship at Optiver and loved it so returned as a Graduate Software Developer in 2021.

What made you choose a career as a software developer?

In high school, I loved mathematics – particularly the problem-solving aspect of mathematics. I tried out a programming class in university, and fell in love with all the interesting and challenging problems that could be solved. I also loved the creative aspect of developing solutions to problems as there is no single best method or solution for every problem out there.

How did the internship at Optiver help you in your current role as a graduate software developer?

The internship was a great way to learn about Optiver, especially the 2-week bootcamp at the start which taught me all about trading. The project was also a great way to familiarise myself with Optiver’s codebase as well as the expectations and responsibilities required of me.

What is a day in the life of a software developer like?

As a software developer, the day is very flexible. I come into work at around 9am and head up for brekkie, though many of my colleagues come in earlier. At 9:30, I have a standup with my team where we give an overview of what we did yesterday, any problems we encountered and what we plan to do today. Afterwards, I grab a coffee to start my day. From there, I’m busy with a combination of small meetings and discussions, coding, fixing bugs and testing throughout the day. During this time, I grab lunch at around 12:30 to 13:00 with the team or the rest of the grads. I try to wrap up my work around 18:00 and head back from work.

What advice would you give to applicants for software developer roles at Optiver?

Good technical knowledge is just one part of being a good programmer. Non-technical skills such as management and communication are equally vital. Spend time doing personal projects, working or even just leading teams or clubs rather than focusing purely on studies.

 What makes you good at your job?

I think curiosity plays a major part in what makes me good at my job. While I may not know everything about software development or Optiver, the curiosity to learn new ideas, approaches and take on different perspectives allows me to constantly grow and adapt to new situations and challenges.

What do you enjoy about working at Optiver?

I love that every day is a new challenge at Optiver. Problems are always evolving in this fast-paced trading environment and there is always plenty to learn and new projects to do. Furthermore, I also enjoy interacting with the incredibly talented and lovely individuals at Optiver as it drives me to learn new things, take on their different ideas and perspectives and constantly improve myself.