Software Developer Intern, Optiver
Bachelor of Science, majoring in Computing & Software Systems, University of Melbourne

 

I first encountered Optiver at my university careers fair in mid-2014. I spoke to a friendly developer who told me about their internship program, and I had the chance to take their developer quiz on campus the next day. I passed this test, completed a phone interview and they flew me up to Sydney for the interview. I was quite impressed by the work environment, so when they made me an offer I eagerly accepted it, and joined Optiver over the summer break. My experience interning there did not disappoint. I was impressed by how flat the organisational structure was and how much freedom I was given in the projects I undertook. To top it off I was even offered a graduate role in my last week which I could take up as soon as I graduated.

My Experience at Optiver

In terms of skills required for the role, I believe a love of programming and of learning new things and solving challenges is vital, along with the ability to take the initiative and work well with minimal supervision. Of the five languages I had to use during my internship (C++, Go, C#, Javascript and Python), two of them I had only minimal experience with, C# and Javascript, and had to teach myself as I went. It was also necessary to learn a variety of internal APIs and libraries, and understand the hundreds of thousands of lines of code with which I interacted; the rate at which I was required to absorb new information was much higher than at university.

What I enjoyed most about the role was the opportunity to build something interesting from scratch, following the project through from start to finish.

 

My best advice for you

The most important thing I learned during my internship was the value of unit testing. Working on a large project like the Go server rewrite, unit tests proved incredibly useful when changing and refactoring the code, allowing me to quickly identify and address any regressions or issues that arose, and to be confident that the server worked as intended. A close second is the information I picked up on performance and optimisation from discussion with other developers at Optiver; while the program I was working on wasn’t performance critical, some of the software at Optiver is extremely so, and every microsecond counts. It was fascinating learning about the techniques used to reach speeds faster than would even be considered possible in many other contexts.

 

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