In today's blogpost, we speak to Sunny Ratilal, one of Aspect's Developers.
You work within Aspect’s Development team. Please could you tell us about you and your career path so far
I’ve been fascinated with computers and programming for as long as I can remember so I always knew I’d end up working with computers in some capacity. I initially worked in web development for six years; I did this alongside my studies. I studied Computer Science at university and, after I graduated, I left my web development job and joined an investment bank as a Software Engineer where I was working on the Risk systems. We were embarking on a cloud migration and I got to build out entirely new cloud-native platforms.
Did you always want to code and make a career out of it? When did you start?
I had this fascination with computers from such a young age, I remember teaching myself how to write code at the age of 11. The excitement of writing my first program is something that catalysed my journey into programming. I delved into all aspects of coding but grew very fond of web development just because you see a user interface at the end of it.
In your opinion, what makes a good developer?
There are lots of amazing developers out there who can build incredible software but I think a lot of being a good developer boils down to the softer skills. I feel like everyone can gain and master the technical skills. What makes a good developer is humility and a willingness to learn from mistakes. As developers, we will always make mistakes; it is how we learn and how we become better developers. Technology is rapidly changing at a pace that is very hard to keep up – a good developer will definitely try and keep up with the changing technology landscape and always be learning.
Could you tell us about you and your team’s role?
I am a Software Developer working in the Business Automation Team: we look after all the middle and back office systems and support all areas of the business with their technology needs. Our remit spans from the point a trade is executed, through to being settled and eventually making its way to our fund accounting system. We work closely with Market Risk, Operations, Fund Accounting, Legal, Investor Relations, and Compliance. We have our toes dipped in a lot of places across Aspect!
What is your favourite part of the role?
Being able to fully understand why we’re doing a particular task. Oftentimes working in Technology within Finance, you have a Business Analyst who has the financial domain knowledge and has the job of translating the business’ requirements into something that developers can understand. At this stage is where a lot of the domain knowledge doesn’t always get translated. As there are no Business Analysts at Aspect, it allows us, as developers, to really and truly understand how the business operates, the various strategies that we have, the asset classes we trade and how we trade them. We really get to dive in and understand the full trade lifecycle which in turns allows us to build better software.
There are a lot of other industries looking for developers. Why did you choose the financial industry?
I got into investing from a young age and I’ve had an interest in finance since then. I’ve had a keen interest in the stock market and how it operates so I wanted to find a role that encompasses both of my interests.
What exciting developments in your space are you following closely? Any new techniques you are exploring?
Right now, within technology, there is a big focus on cloud and serverless architecture both of which pique my interest. Being able to spin up and tear down full cloud-based environments within minutes is still pretty mind-blowing. Leveraging the cloud to quickly and easily transform your technical stack is very powerful. It is exciting to see it grow further with all sorts of managed services from the big cloud providers being announced every few months. Cloud managed services are really powerful because it lets you focus on building a product rather than dealing with the infrastructure setup and it’s being made more and more effortless.
Are there any blogs or podcasts you follow that you would recommend to someone interested in the industry?
I regularly keep up with InfoQ and read a lot of the blog posts on there. Big tech firms have really good blogs too which I highly recommend, for example Airbnb, Netflix, and Uber’s Engineering blogs are really good reads. You get to see how these big tech companies build services that effectively power the planet. Their YouTube channels are also really great.