The Coding Language You Can Learn In Months For The Best Finance Jobs
According to some, Q might be one of the best coding languages to learn if you want to be sure of a tech job in financial services. Developers who are proficient in both Q and kdb +, the accompanying database system, tend to be both hard to find and in constant demand globally. Gary Davies should know – he spent nine years working for Citi’s equity platform as a kdb + specialist.
“Kdb started in the world of finance, ”says Davies. “It’s the fastest time series database out there, and it lends itself very well to the kind of time series data you get in finance.
Davies left Citi in September 2019. Today, he is responsible for kdb + engineering at AquaQ Analytics, a Belfast-based provider of data-related products and services for capital markets and other clients. People who specialize in Kdb usually work in its Q query language. Each year, AquaQ hires about sixty graduates that it trains in the two elements of the system.
“WWe hire graduates who we believe have the ability to learn and manage with kdb +, and put them through a training program that lasts 3-6 months, ”Davies explains. These graduate recruits – most of whom come from IT and STEM backgrounds – are selected based on their responses to what Davies describes as “challenges” during the interview process. Although kdb + is considered a mathematically oriented system, Davies says you don’t have to be a mathematician to work with it. -solve, ”he said; math helps, but the ability to solve logic problems is key.
The popularity of Kdb + in finance stems from the fact that the system was designed by Arthur whitney, the brilliant but lonely computer scientist who previously worked for Morgan Stanley. If you want to deepen the system, you will also learn K – K being the low level language that encodes the Kdb database. However, outside of Kx Systems, the company founded by Whitney and now owned by First Derivatives (also in Belfast), K programming tends to be unnecessary. “Most people just use Q,” Davies explains. “K is under the hood.”
Is it difficult to learn Q and kdb? “Kdb can be difficult, but if you have a background in math and problem-solving, it’s very easy to get into the mindset to work with,” says Davies. “Once you realize how it works, it can all fall into place pretty quickly.” One problem may be that Q is a functional language, he adds: if you’re used to an object-oriented language like Java, it may take longer to get used to.
AquaQ-trained students work on high-speed bank database consultancy projects all over Belfast to London, New York or Hong Kong. Davies says the salary is competitive and varies by market and seniority. AquaQ salaries on Glassdoor indicate that its juniors start around £ 25,000, its mid-tier developers make up to £ 35,000 and more senior consultants weigh around £ 46,000. They also receive a package of benefits and allowances for food and accommodation when working at client sites. When some graduate developers at banks in London are over £ 100,000, that may not sound like a lot – and doesn’t seem to justify kdb’s reputation for high salaries – but you can get a lot more if you work in-house for a bank, and if you work for AquaQ, there are significant benefits in that your living expenses are covered by expenses.
Learning Q and kdb should be very helpful to you. – The kdb database remains widely used in finance, and there are comparatively few people familiar with it. It also extends to other areas, such as healthcare and manufacturing. AquaQ itself is also diversifying. “We have expanded beyond kdb into other areas of data science,” says Davies. “- We now offer services in Java, React, BigQuery, Kubernetes, Python and potentially also in C ++.”
Whereas once graduates have specialized only in kdb +, it is therefore more common to combine it with our languages and systems. “A lot of our engineers are in cross-silos,” says Davies.
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