When I applied, I had an interest in finance (though wasn't especially well-versed), and I knew that I wanted to work in a dynamic, fast-paced and global environment. In the end I chose Barclays due to its status as a top tier investment bank, and its attractive year-long graduate programme. I was in Japan at the time I applied and had to fly all the way back for my interviews - luckily it wasn't a wasted trip.
At Barclays, developers are given chances to work on projects built from a wide range of technologies. My team is currently working on an application and its associated NoSQL "big data" database, being built from the ground up with C# and WPF. The application is designed to handle an enormous amount of data, which presents some interesting challenges related to performance and scalability. Additionally, due to the fact that it's going to be processing data representing trades worth hundreds of millions of pounds (dollars, euros, yen and everything else), a robust approach to its engineering is paramount.
The project is so cutting-edge that some of the development of the open source database we're using is being driven in response to Barclays' requirements. We prototyped in Python and designed the UI in Balsamiq to demo to our users. Even as a graduate developer I've been involved in the full software development process, working in constant communication with my team of highly-qualified developers, which has been amazing.
Given the global nature of the bank, we work in tandem with colleagues in New York, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kiev and many more locations around the world. I did three brief stints in the Tokyo office in my first year.
The "Go-To" employer
Being the “Go-To” bank isn’t just about being where clients want to put their money. It’s also about being a “Go-To” employer for talented engineers. On our initial training programme last September, we divided into teams and competed in a multi-day resource gathering and trading game (great fun!), simulated an open-outcry trading floor, and also planted thousands of bulbs in a local residential community’s garden. Team building is very important.
My first year at Barclays Investment Bank has been dynamic, demanding, and rewarding and I'm looking forward to sharing my experiences with you this year.