by Dana Ma
18 January, 2017 - 4 minute read

Winton’s Technology Analyst Rotation Program is designed for technologists early in their careers and involves three six-month placements across various teams within the firm. From day one I was thrown in the deep end, but I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I was made to feel like part of the team and given technical puzzles to work on for the business.

It’s a bit daunting to know that I’ll be settling into a whole new team and learning a different set of systems every six months, moving on just as I’ve started getting comfortable and building my reputation within the team. But the flip side of that is the exciting breadth of exposure I will get from working in different teams within the business, from constantly learning, and from always being challenged.

At Winton, everyone’s ideas are valued, regardless of how junior you might be, and as an analyst you’re given the same freedom as any other developer. You’re welcome to experiment with open source libraries or tools you’re keen on that are right for the job, and there’s never a shortage of brilliant developers around to share ideas and discuss potential software designs.

The rotation program does a great job of bringing together a cohort of analysts across the business, not just in Technology but also from the Research and Corporate streams. It’s always reassuring to be amongst peers in a similar position, and it’s a fantastic way to forge new friendships with others in the same intake as well as former trainees. Not only have I made some new friends with whom I can discuss what a rotation into another team might be like, but I’ve also found a bunch of weekend brunch buddies, people to go hiking with, and more generally mates who are always up for exploring London!

One of the biggest drivers for me joining Winton was the prevalence of learning within the culture, and there’s no shortage of opportunities to do so. The rotation program in particular offers a range of lectures which we all attend together, covering a diverse range of topics from statistics to the fundamentals of alternative investments. Frequently we’re fortunate enough to have world-class speakers come and talk to us on a range of topics, from maintaining presence in a conversation or meeting, to the story of Team GB at the Rio Olympics, to experiments on gravitational waves leading to the discovery of black hole collisions. My personal favourite was when Dr Aldo Faisal came to discuss advancements in robotics technology, applying data science and correlations between eye focus patterns and movements to the creation of robotic limbs.

On the purely technical side, we have a KDB workshop coming up, and free access to a fantastic library filled with a plethora of fascinating material, although nothing can eclipse the amount that I’ve picked up just by working alongside such motivated intellectuals. And in case that wasn’t enough, there’s also an arbitrarily large learning budget for any training or courses you might be interested in which are related to the job.

There’s loads of appropriately geeky events to participate in after work, such as our TechTalks evenings, in which a handful of technologists give 15 minute lightning talks on various techie topics of their choice. Last time we had presentations ranging from techniques to achieve only-once processing, to AWS and using Python to succeed at Fantasy Football. Naturally, these talks were followed by the obligatory beer, pizza and hanging out to perpetuate the buzz. Outside of Winton, many of us are keen Tech Meetup attendees, and so whether it’s the SMACK stack for fast data or natural language processing using Python, it’s easy to find a companion for talks or hackathons which I’m interested in attending.

The perks at Winton really facilitate the development of close relationships with colleagues, often through ways you might not expect. I’ve built new bonds not only through drinks at the pub after our rotation program lectures, but also through attempting to improve my lacklustre table tennis skills, or while discovering aching muscles I didn’t know I had in the weekly cross training classes, or even just by enjoying the stimulating, engaging (and occasionally hilarious) lunchtime conversations that are inevitable in an environment brimming with clever, enthusiastic and versatile people.

It’s only been six months since I joined the Technology Rotation Program, but I’ve already learned so much across so many areas and met so many talented and inspirational people. I think the program is pretty much the perfect opportunity for anyone who’s a bit of a geek with an interest in working in a fast-paced, intensely challenging yet rewarding environment, and who wants to learn more about what it’s like to work at Winton.