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Traders don't care. Traders are the profit-generating people. They are the rockstars in banks. Programmers are tools to help them achieve their goals. When traders want something that helps them make money, they want it now. Try explaining code maintainability to them. If they don't like you, you're gone and another keen programmer with an interest in finance will take your place.

I find that most people that program excel are most likely quants that just want to get the job done, do something to allow the bank to generate bigger profits.

Disclaimer: I work in one of these banks.




This completely makes sense and probably applies to any industry (aside from companies whose main purpose is to program, of course)...but do you think there is any possibility that someone with a well-developed, bespoke software package that can be tweaked, tested, hypothesized-with in a much more flexible manner would have a significant advantage than someone armed with an Excel spreadsheet?

And if so, is the reason why no one has gone for the more bespoke route is because no one who programs is in charge of these companies, and thus does not even know that they could benefit from such an approach?

The only parallel I have some experience is in the publishing industry. No one thinks that the technical details of the CMS is important, as long as stories are visible on the Internet. But if a clunky CMS requires you to hire 10 to 20 people just to move pieces around on the frontpage (this is on top of the backend that automatically adds stories to the system and to their proper categories), then that is not a trivial cost.

And I'm sure The Verge, with its custom CMS (in Rails, it seems) has some clunkiness to deal with, but they've been able to produce varied and interesting formats for their stories on a much more everyday basis than even the New York Times (I'm not counting interactive graphics/multimedia, I mean the general story form).


Joshua Topolsky mentioned that one of the reasons for partnering with Vox Media was the quality of their CMS.


> If they don't like you, you're gone and another keen programmer with an interest in finance will take your place.

Where are they getting all this talent from? I assume they need atleast a certain degree of expertise which is incredibly difficult to get out of people right now...


Have you heard a bunch of people recite the phrase "Good programmers don't care about money" ?

Turns out, it isn't a perfect description of reality.


Graduates from universities. They apply in droves. (guilty as charged). I suspect this applies to US and UK, although I'm based in the UK myself.


The fact is that they called the trade 'financial engineering' but as a matter of fact, it is a lot of finance but very very little engineering....


The "engineering" in financial engineering does not refer to engineering as a technical profession. Rather, it refers to engineering in the sense of "engineered lumber."

Engineered lumber is when you glue a bunch of different woods together. The resulting product has different properties from any of the original woods. It is more profitable for the lumber company because it can be sold at a price premium.

Similarly, financial engineering involves packaging up multiple financial products into a more complicated product. The product can then be sold at a higher price to gullible fools, aka "customers."


I think I will never forget the time when I used to fix their Excel spreadsheets of all kinds of inane problems.




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