Ask the Engineer: Rich
Rich, a vice president on the Marquee team within the Technology Division, shares how studying computing led him to a career in finance and describes his current role working on Marquee.
Q: How did you become interested in engineering?
As far back as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by technology, computers and, in general, how things work. We got our first home computer when I was around 10 years old, and I would spend most of my time outside school playing with it and finding out what would happen if I pressed a certain button here or made a change there. As I got older, I chose related studies as they became available and my knowledge grew. By the time I was going to university, it felt like a no-op to study Computing at Imperial College London.
Q: What led you to a career at Goldman Sachs?
If you had asked me at the beginning of my time at Imperial what an investment bank was, I would have stared back at you with a blank face. During my time at university, however, I researched different industries that were offering internships that required the skills I had been developing. I was looking for problems that were difficult to solve, and I wanted to try something that wasn’t immediately obvious… it was an internship, after all! Finance stuck out to me, and I had instant rapport with the team that interviewed me at the firm.
Q: How would you describe your career so far, and what are you currently working on?
For the last three years, I have been working on our Marquee platform. Originally, I started in Compliance Engineering where I worked on an app that allowed users to discover connections across massive data sets. That was where I developed a passion for data visualization, and the importance of well-designed user interfaces. After a couple years in Compliance and relocating to New York, I was looking for a new challenge in a client-facing space, and that is when I found Marquee.
Marquee is the digital platform we are building to externalize our content, data, analytics and execution capabilities to our clients via application program interfaces (APIs) and web apps. Within Marquee, I work with a team of engineers focused on building features and APIs that involve analytics. We’ve been able to experiment with technologies and use a wide variety of open source software to stay on the cutting edge. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on many Marquee features where we got to start with a blank canvas and use our creativity to engineer the solution. Goldman Sachs is known for SecDB and its expertise in risk analytics - my team gets to extend these analytical capabilities from SecDB to clients through APIs and sophisticated user interfaces.
One of the best things about my job is the work environment, which might be considered atypical for a financial services firm. My team sits in an area on the trading floor where the walls are whiteboards where we design our architectures and sketch user flows/designs and we play music late in the afternoon as we wind down for the day. Everyone in the area contributes to Marquee in some way, whether it be engineering, product management, or sales, everyone shares a common sense of ambition and vision – one of my favourite parts of working on Marquee.
Q: How do you see Marquee involved in the future of Goldman Sachs?
Gone are the days where all business is conducted over the phone. Increasingly, our clients want to interact with us using technology such as APIs and apps; they also have a baseline expectation for the quality of that interaction based upon their experiences from consumer technology. Marquee is the platform that will deliver this digital offering and allow us to create new ways of providing value to our clients.
Q: What advice do you have for engineers considering a career in financial services?
There are not many industries that provide an environment with both complex and interesting problems to solve. Even fewer provide a way for engineers to make a significant and tangible commercial impact. Financial services continues to embrace technology, and there are a lot of opportunities for innovation in the industry, like what we are doing with Marquee.