Alumni Stories - Victoria Jossel
Name: Victoria Jossel
Qualifications: Computer Science and Software Engineering Degree
University: University of Birmingham
Employer: Goldman Sachs
Job Title: Analyst Developer, Credit Derivatives Technology
I studied computer science and software engineering at Birmingham University. I really enjoyed my three years at University. The School of Computer Science is based in an amazing building, with great lecturers.
I didn't know that I necessarily wanted to work in technology when I finished studying. At the end of my second year, I signed up for a 'women in technology' weekend advertised in the Computer Science common room and my group was shown around a number of banks including Goldman Sachs. This experience introduced me to the concept of technology in an investment bank and I decided I would participate in the internship programme to determine if this was really the career for me.
Following the internship, I accepted a job offer at Goldman Sachs and trained for seven weeks in New York. We met up with all the other new graduates joining Goldman Sachs, from around the world and received training to ensure we were up to speed with the technologies used by the firm, as well as the businesses we were supporting.
Goldman Sachs has numerous business divisions and each one has a technology team that works alongside it. I currently work within the CBM group in credit derivatives technology. This means that I am responsible for ensuring all trades feed downstream successfully. So when a trader books a trade, it is sent to our system (CBM) and we send it down to payments and books and records. This involves both development and support work. Although no day looks the same an average day is something like this:
- I arrive at work and read through all my e-mails- we get a lot of e-mails a day and it's important to be organised! I formulate my to-do list for the day and deal with any urgent requests. It's important to prioritise any incoming e-mails and calls, which is something I have learnt to do during my time at Goldman Sachs. Any problem that prevents users from performing their daily tasks is a high priority and development work has to wait for these issues to be addressed. Most of the issues that have arisen overnight will be looked at by my Tokyo and New York counterparts, so it's rare that I'll arrive at my desk and be bombarded with requests for support.
- I take a coffee break and meet with work colleagues to discuss any ongoing or urgent issues that require our attention. Working in a team environment means that if I have any questions or anything is unclear I always have people around to help. The senior members of my team have a high level of business and technical expertise and are always approachable and willing to share their knowledge. I meet with my manager once a week at this time to notify him of any outstanding issues and tell him whether my projects are still on track for their original completion dates. We also use this time to discuss my career and personal development plan.
- Support is a priority in my day because if trades are held up, it can often mean a client is waiting for a document to be generated or a payment might be late. I spend time looking at any exceptions, ensuring the integrity of the nightly data runs, and checking that all our error reports don't highlight any issues. Very occasionally a bug in an existing project is discovered and I spend this time coding and testing the change.
- I try to take an hour for my lunch but often find myself eating at my desk. I will occasionally meet friends from my graduate group or my team will go out for lunch, but everyone is always really busy - so it's rare!
- I try to do some development work during the day and we use primarily Java and SQL in the CBM team. The projects we work on are driven by the needs of the business and vary enormously. They can be really small, such as enhancing the reconciliation process or really large, such as adding new business products to the system (like recently added asset swaps). I am also responsible for a system called Aladdin, which is built in JSP. This often requires new features to be added or maintenance work to be done. When it comes to development work, both planning and testing are really important as we can't afford to have bugs in the code. We use J Unit test for all code written in CBM and I always ensure my code is working according to the specifications given to me by the project manager.
- I normally have a meeting in the afternoon. This can be with my local team for a quick status update or with the Global team (New York and London) for a more detailed update and project plan. It is also used as time that I spend with clients so that they can describe any functionality they would like to see added or improved.
- During the last hour of the day, I try to update what I have achieved and determine what I'll be working on the next day. Finally I'll check my e-mail one more time before I leave to make sure there is nothing serious that needs to be addressed before I go home.
Working in a banking environment means tensions are high and new challenges arise throughout the day. I enjoy working with the variety of people at Goldman Sachs. On a daily basis I have the opportunity to interact with traders, sales people, operations, investment bankers and legal.
The systematic analysis of problems is an essential factor in my daily work and the mathematical basis of computer science has given me the opportunity to develop my capacity to think logically and quantitatively . In addition to gaining a great deal of technical skills, I am able to add an innovative edge to my work having studied creative disciplines such as computer graphics and human computer interaction. I would not hesitate to recommend the University to anyone interested in a career in IT. Good Luck!