Life as a Placement Student at FD
By: Jordan Hendricks
HR & Operations Placement
The opportunity to work with a local company that has achieved unprecedented success on a global scale is one I am unlikely to ever forget. With the family ethos and professional nature of life at FD, I have made new friends and have a motivational mind-set going into my final year of University.
Being part of the HR & Operations team allowed me to carry out various tasks; from conducting first-round telephone interviews to preparing and overseeing the timesheets for our yearly Invest NI Audit. In addition to this, I had the chance to travel around the UK and Ireland to Careers fairs promoting the FD brand to new graduates and placement students. Day-to-day life within First Derivatives is both exciting and unpredictable, with each day providing a new challenging task and a new level of responsibility.
Software Engineer Placement
During my time at FD, I worked in a fast-paced environment on a number of different projects. I was given the opportunity to work with a range of programming languages and collaborate with highly skilled senior developers who ensured that I gained as much experience as possible.
I was placed on the MIS Team, which I feel was the perfect fit for me. It provided me with endless opportunities to learn more and improve upon both my technical and interpersonal skills.
Personally, I think my year in industry has been an integral part of my degree. It has given me the opportunity to experience what it’s like to work for a global company and to improve on my skills, which I am certain will greatly benefit me in my final year at university. I am delighted to be returning to FD on the company’s Options Programme after graduation.
First Derivatives has a forever expanding property portfolio, which has over 300 properties in over 30 locations, and is something that the team and myself monitored on a daily basis. I was responsible for sourcing and securing new rental properties around the globe, but specifically in the UK, Ireland and Europe. This involved interacting with people from numerous other countries which helped develop and enhance my communication and interpersonal skills.
What I enjoyed most about the placement was the wide variety of tasks and responsibilities. Throughout my placement I worked with various different departments including Human Resources, Marketing, Legal and Finance.
I can only describe my time at First Derivatives as an invaluable experience as I prepare for my final year of university. I hope to return to First Derivatives upon graduation.
The chance to work in the Finance department in a world-renowned company, which is still growing rapidly, has given me a fantastic opportunity. The international level of the business gave me the opportunity to work daily with clients in Singapore, Australia and USA to name a few. As an Accounting student, the level of exposure I received will help me in expanding my skill set and knowledge in preparing for my final year in university.
I performed a wide range of tasks including maintaining the purchases ledger, working with creditors, controlling the distribution of rental payments for the UK property portfolio and bank reconciliations, to name a few. The placement has been of great value and has equipped me well for the future. I am very grateful for the opportunity I was given to complete my year in industry and I would recommend FD to anyone looking to pursue a career in this field.
Financial Engineering Placement
During my placement year, I worked specifically as an IT Support Analyst for a Dublin-based Investment Bank. I was fortunate to gain experience on two support teams within the project – the Risk & Payments team and the Summit team.
The Summit team supported the trading platform used by the bank and dealt with any issues the business users had within Summit. I regularly performed calendar updates, security position recalculations and start- and end-of-day checks. On the Risk and Payments team, I was responsible for multiple applications that the bank and the business users used. Mostly my day consisted of performing morning checks, investigating issues users had, setting up and removing user accounts and generating several reports to distribute to the relevant groups/users.
On reflection, I can see how far I have come since I first started my placement with FD. I am very grateful for the opportunity afforded to me to be able to experience a placement role in a dynamic and thriving company.
Software Engineer Placement
For my placement year, I wanted to find a company that would expose me to live projects and tasks in a fast-paced working environment to get real-world experience in software engineering. For this reason, I chose First Derivatives, and I learned more in those twelve months than I ever thought possible.
From day one, every member of FD made me feel welcome. I received training in kdb+, the company’s proprietary database, and I was placed in the Centre of Excellence (COE) as part of the Hygiene Team. My role involved testing, debugging and re-writing kdb+ scripts to be used for data analytics by a global investment banking firm.
There are social events each month which gave me the opportunity to socialize with colleagues outside of the work environment. I believe the experience and knowledge that I’ve acquired will help me in final year of study and I’m looking forward to returning to FD as a graduate in the future.
Global Marketing Intern
Life at FD can certainly be described as ‘fast paced’. No two days in the marketing department are the same. Following the completion of my second year of BSc (Hons) Marketing at Ulster University in May, I almost immediately began my role as the global marketing intern in June. I was provided with world-class training in line with the ‘Explorers Graduate Program’ and soon became au fait with the technology marketing landscape, all things ‘Big Data’ and the unique attributes Kx possessed that gave it significant competitive advantage over its rivals.
Being given the autonomy to manage and orchestrate the overall social media strategy alongside the CMO, I have not only been able to apply my creativity to generate engaging and interesting social campaigns, but I have also been able to demonstrate my analytic prowess by drawing impactful insights from our social and digital marketing campaigns. This is a skill I believe I will not only be able to carry into my final year of university but one that will prove invaluable upon graduation when entering the increasingly competitive employability landscape.