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Businesses Programming The Almighty Buck

Ask Slashdot: Jobs For Geeks In the Business/Financial World? 181

Posted by timothy
from the do-your-best-gordon-gecko-impression dept.
First time accepted submitter menphix writes "Hi there! I'm a software engineer in the bay area. I will be moving to Hong Kong where my wife works shortly. I understand that there will be a lot less opportunities to work for software companies there than in the bay area, but they do have a lot of business/financial companies in HK: investment banking, private equity, hedge funds, you name it! So I'm thinking maybe it'll be easier if I transition to work for those companies. Since I got my B.S. and M.S. both in computer science, I have no idea what those 'Wall Street jobs' are like, so I'm just wondering what you guys know about jobs in the business/financial world for geeks? Has anybody made the jump before?"
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Ask Slashdot: Jobs For Geeks In the Business/Financial World?

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  • by catmistake (814204) on Monday June 25, 2012 @05:07AM (#40436411) Journal

    From an IT-persons....

    Why is it that IT specialists think that they are computer scientists?

    Information Technology (IT) [wikipedia.org] is the branch of engineering that deals with the use of computers to store, retrieve and transmit information.

    Computer Science [wikipedia.org] is the scientific and mathematical approach to computation, and specifically to the design of computing machines and processes. A computer scientist is a scientist who specialises in the theory of computation and the design of computers.

    These are entirely different disciplines.

  • Re:Sadly... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gutnor (872759) on Monday June 25, 2012 @05:13AM (#40436431)

    What are you talking about ? The very vast majority of IT in the Finance world is just your vanilla application. CRUD stuff, Integration, and all sorts of data mangling back and forth between systems. As in any industry you will need some business knowledge to complement you tech knowledge. You do not need a PhD in "Math with Applied Bullshit" to enter finance.

    There is literally an army of development jobs in the financial sector. Lots of interesting stuff lost in a sea of boring assignments in team stuck in management and technical paralysis. i.e. like working for any large company.

    The vast minority of people that work in finance are psychopathic moron that make millions in bonus each year. There are quite a lot of 20 something that are psychopathic moron but make nothing at all, but the majority of people that fill those huge skyscrappers are just normal Joe doing normal office job.

  • Alcohol (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kagetsuki (1620613) on Monday June 25, 2012 @05:38AM (#40436519)

    Learn to drink. Don't turn down a drink. Take people you want to deal with out to drink. Read the air, act appropriately.

    Other than that I don't think you need any particular business knowledge. From what I've gathered is that CN/HK/TW business revolves completely about being an awesome drunk.

  • Re:easy: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Monday June 25, 2012 @06:08AM (#40436637)

    Not -1 too political. -1 stereotypical over generalization due to public opinion.
    In every sector you have the good guys, a slew of neural folks, and the bad guys.

    In terms of media coverage, the good guys may make a 10 minute clip on the news once. The neutral people never really make the news, and the bad guys get a lot of coverage that makes them infamous.

    We don't hear about the finance people who help find small businesses and give them capital to grow. We hear about the bad guys who trick people in bad investments because the can get away with it.

  • by catmistake (814204) on Monday June 25, 2012 @08:12AM (#40437253) Journal

    Sorry, I thought he's a software ENGINEER.

    In the sense that an engineer is actually someone that designs, builds or maintains engines, machines, or public works, i.e. works with physical things, software engineering is, I believe, a dubious term invented to inflate the already important job of and boost the esteem of programmers, the way the term desktop engineer boosts the importance of the job of and the esteem of IT support technicians, or the way the term sales engineer boosts importance of the job done by and the esteem of salesmen or salespersons. While computer science certainly includes the discipline of programming, a programmer isn't necessarily ever doing any computer science, and I have never understood exactly what they allegedly are engineering (magnetic fluctuations on spinning disks? electron gauntlets?). Should we also refer to our barbers as hair engineers? Are journalists really news engineers? What I think happened is at some point in the mid-1990's computer science enrollment was down, and engineering was as popular as ever, and the computer science departments used a bit of clever marketing to increase enrollment for their programming tracts.

  • by ranton (36917) on Monday June 25, 2012 @09:35AM (#40437911)

    In the sense that an engineer is actually someone that designs, builds or maintains engines, machines, or public works, i.e. works with physical things, software engineering is, I believe, a dubious term

    So you are taking a term that originated before the advent of the digital world, and arbitrarily restricting it to apply only to "physical things"? If such a wide range of fields such as chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering can bear the same term, I see no reason why software is any different. The word engineering has evolved so much over the past few hundred years that even a drastic change would not be unprecedented. An engineer started out simply as an operator of machines, but more recently replaced the phrase "mechanic arts" in last hundred years or so to obtain its more common modern meaning (some colleges still have "Engineering and Mechanic Arts" departments). Perhaps you also disagree with calling simple mechanics engineers? (aka mechanical engineers)

    I believe that it is very important to distinguish between computer scientists, software engineers, and programmers. Just like it is important to distinguish between physicists, mechanical engineers, and CAD operators. Whether we use the word engineer or not is fairly arbitrary, but I think it fits quite well. Software engineering is a young field, and best practices are far less mature than other fields, but that will improve over time.

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@worfMOSCOW.net minus city> on Monday June 25, 2012 @12:30PM (#40440057)

    I used the analogy of mech. engineer vs CAD operator because I think it is basically the same as the distinction between software engineer and programmer. The software field is far less mature than any engineering fields, so the difference is far less clear. A coworker of mine once said, "If you can't easily tell the difference between a software engineer and programmer, you are a programmer [or not in the field]."

    Or it can be the difference between a technician and a professional.

    Programming is a trade job - you can go to a trade school, learn to do your Java or C++ or whatever and graduate and go on coding it up. Someone else would've drawn up your tasks and you basically execute on it. (Simllar to most other trades like construction, plumbing, electrician, etc).

    Ditto technicians - they know how to operate the equipment to do what's requested (be it say an X-Ray or other medical device, or CAD operator or machinery). However they are working under someone else's orders - a doctor, a draftsperson/architect, etc.

    A professional is the one who coordinates it all and tries to come up with solutions - they ask an X-Ray tech to do an X-ray and that's it. It's up to the doctor to go an interpret the X-Ray. It's up to the architect to ensure the CAD operator has drawn what was designed. It's up to the software engineer to verify that the coded item performs to specifications and operates as designed.

    The confusion comes in because to be a good professional, one should've done what they are asking others to do - if nothing more to understand the capabilities and limitations. Plus, they too are often required to do the work at times (an architect will often do their own CAD drawings, especially on more complex tasks that would otherwise require a lot of work to explain, or to simply see if something will work). The real problems come in when someone who hasn't done the job starts asking for pie-in-the-sky demands.

Computers will not be perfected until they can compute how much more than the estimate the job will cost.

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