Career Story: Software Engineer For A Financial Services Consulting Firm

Software Engineer For A Financial Services Consulting Firm

Job Title: Consulting Software Engineer

Type of Company: My company sells financial services software and consulting services to the insurance, mutual fund, and banking industries. We also provide business process outsourcing for these clients.

Education: BS, Information Systems, Kansas State University

Previous Experience: I started out as a programmer for a large financial services provider. I moved through a number of technical positions and was a Principal Analyst when I left for a small start-up company. I held a number of positions with the start-up (which was also in financial services) including Systems Manager and Director of Systems. Our software was sold to a mid-size financial services company and I joined that company in my current position.

Job Tasks: My primary responsibilities are to provide leadership and consulting help to junior software engineers and business analysts on a wide variety of projects. These projects can be as simple as minor software bug fixes or as complex as major software development projects covering a year or longer.

Much of my job focuses on back-end or database processing, including:

- data modeling and data architecture - database set-up and maintenance - data conversions from legacy systems to our systems - web services that import or export data between multiple systems - bug fixes to nightly batch processing and external interfaces - performance tuning on any of our applications

I also spend time mentoring new and junior associates, providing technical sales support and managing relationships with new and existing clients.

When needed, I provide leadership and guidance to an offshore consulting team who help us code some of our projects and help us meet deadlines.

I travel to our client sites 4 to 6 times per year and usually stay 3-5 days for each trip. I entertain clients visiting our location.

I report to one of our executive vice presidents and provide him weekly updates on items such as associate capacity (are we keeping everyone busy?), client billing, and project plans.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is that I've been working on this software from its inception and know it inside and out. I also enjoy that fact that I perform a wide variety of work that touches all aspects of our business and the software life cycle. My responsibilities are varied.

The worst part of my job is sometimes having to perform simple and mundane tasks.

Job Tips: If you are self-motivated and can quickly pick things up on your own, I recommend trying to start with a small- to medium-sized company. You will have more opportunity to try things. If you learn better through instruction or prefer precise direction and mentoring, I would recommend starting with a larger company which provides a more structured environment with a variety of training and leadership.

Additional Thoughts: One of the things that I try to drive home in every interview is our need for people who are willing to take ownership of pieces of our system. We look for people who have a lot of ambition and are always looking to improve themselves and grow. We tend to pass on people who are looking to be told everything, who will not think outside of the box, or who aren't interested in improving their skillset.

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