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  • #1 in Trading
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Dom Palanca

I really enjoy the level of collaboration and teamwork that I have in my role – since working here I’ve done projects with almost every team.

What first attracted you to Optiver?

I was initially drawn in by the friendliness of the employees I met during the interview process, and I really liked the prospect of being able to use my mathematical skills to write algorithms that compete against others in the market. Everyone seemed to love the problems they were working on, and since working here I would say that’s definitely the case.

What does your role entail?

I mainly work on improving our existing trading algorithms and making new ones. This can entail all kinds of things – from optimising our machine learning to figuring out how to best execute our trades in the market. There is really a huge variety.

What key skills are required?

Having a decent mathematical and coding background definitely helps, but the most important skills are having an analytical and critical mindset and being able to pick things up quickly. I had pretty minimal programming experience before joining and very little finance knowledge, but I was able to learn them on the job. The grad program also teaches you all the fundamentals of trading.

How were you supported to learn during your graduate program?

There were 12 weeks of formal training to begin with, which consisted of lectures, trading games, hands-on exercises and projects. My favourite was a project where we spent two weeks in teams, writing trading algorithms to compete against each other. After that, I spent a few more weeks with my team, where my team members taught me how to operate and contribute to the spot. Throughout all of this, I also received support with a mentor from another spot.

What are some of the projects you are working on?

I’m currently integrating some work done by other teams into our trading algorithms, which will improve our models’ ability to predict trends in the market.

How do you start your day at Optiver?

I’ll start by checking how our algorithms performed overnight and look into any particularly interesting events for clues about potential improvements. I’ll read some company analysis on global events and discuss any upcoming project work with my team.

What do you love about your work?

I love the end-to-end oversight of the trading pipeline that I have in my role. It’s a great deal of responsibility, but you’re able to understand exactly where the money comes from and find all sorts of places to optimise things. I also really enjoy the level of collaboration and teamwork that I have in my role – since working here I’ve done projects with almost every team.

What keeps you motivated?

The prospect of undiscovered mathematics, algorithms and technology that can better explain what’s happening in the market. We’re at the cutting edge of technology and it’s exciting to come into work at Optiver and keep pushing the boundaries.

Do you have interests outside of work that help you in your role?

I enjoy messing around a bit with machine learning outside of work, but mainly in my off time I like exercising, seeing live music and watching TV.

What’s your advice to potential applicants?

Don’t worry about whether you have the right qualifications, if the work sounds interesting to you then just apply! It also helps to just be yourself in the interview, that will give the interviewers the best idea about whether you’ll actually enjoy working here or not.