A Day in the Life of Matti Astrand, Quant Developer at Smarkets

By November 5, 2018Day in the Life

What do you do and how did you get there?

I studied maths in Finland, where I’m from, then in the US. I have been doing programming on the side since high school, but I never studied it officially. I worked for two years at a bank before joining Smarkets. I didn’t enjoy some parts of that job because I felt the technology was quite old and the hours were long. Smarkets is a good fit for me as I really enjoy the work and how it’s organised. As well as that the people are nice and we have an open and friendly culture.

How do you spend your day?

Whenever I’m not eating (we’re well fed at Smarkets!), I am working on a project. My role involves hands-on coding for most of the day. I get to write code most of the time, which I love. We are making systems that are providing liquidity to the Smarkets Exchange, this involves managing risk and analysing performance.

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What’s the best part of your role?

I like the culture of a flexible hierarchy. We change projects regularly in my team, so that gives me variety. If I want to change something, people just say go ahead, whereas in my previous role, I found it harder to make changes. I get to be both a quant and an engineer, which is very unusual. There’s less of a difference between quants and engineers at Smarkets. I want to do a bit of both, so getting to do that really motivates me. As you implement your ideas, you get to see their impact which is another motivator.

What’s the biggest challenge?

The fact that we have so much freedom does mean that you really have to take responsibility for your work. It means that you are accountable for being on the right track. You need to be focused and you can’t rely on someone else telling you what to do. We have teams overseas, so working out how you communicate with each other effectively can be a challenge.

What qualities are needed to excel in your role?

Good coding skills are necessary, as is an openness to doing things in different ways. A combination of mathematical experience and technical skills is ideal. You need to be proactive in how you communicate with each of the teams within Smarkets to ensure that teams don’t change things that affect others.

Want to join the team at Smarkets? Check out their live roles now.

Any advice for someone applying for a role like yours?

We test coding heavily for quant development and software engineering positions in general. We are very interested in the quality of your work, so we like to see a methodical approach. I’d make sure that in interviews you explain your thought process and approach the problem in a structured way.

Why should someone be excited about working in your role or company?

There’s very little hierarchy and that means that you can have a lot of impact. The fact that we have this flexible and modern structure means that you will succeed in this environment if you are proactive and interested in solving problems. It’s a very exciting time to join the company.

What’s your ultimate career goal?

I like teaching a lot and I’m passionate about education and technology. In some distant future I hope I could combine the two.

What’s the one thing you wish people knew about your job?

The company is really open to new technologies and we don’t have to stick with something if we don’t think it is right for the future. For example we recently introduced Kubernetes, C++ and React-Native to Smarkets.

Interested in joining the ever growing team at Smarkets? Check out their live roles now.


Author Aoife Geary

Aoife Geary is the Content Editor at Jobbio specialising in the areas of Workplace Culture, Diversity, Startups and Digital Trends. She's partial to a burrito, a bad pun and living way beyond her means.

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