Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters

The coding language to learn for $700k jobs in finance

Technology jobs in hedge funds may be grueling. They may involve legacy technology and require tolerance of working with demanding traders, but they can also be well paid. Exceptionally so.

The best paid technology jobs in hedge funds are for programmers who are competent in C++, the complex coding language used for the construction of high-speed trading systems. One recruiter says hedge funds' demand for strong C++ coders is "unending."

"We see massive demand for C++ from our hedge funds clients," says Peter Wagner, managing director of New York Search firm Affinity North and a former VP in credit derivatives IT at Morgan Stanley. "Currently, the biggest language premium has to be for great C++ developers. Maybe I should have stuck w/ C++, which I learned 30 years ago!"

The appetite for C++ engineers is visible in major funds' job adverts. Citadel, for example, is in pursuit of C++ coders in Chicago, New York, London, Zurich, Sydney, and Hong Kong. Milennium has vacancies in London, New York, Hong Kong, Chicago and Miami. 

Olly Thompson, a London based trading technology headhunter, says C++ coding in a hedge fund is the highest paying technology job available in the financial services industry. For C++ engineers in London, earning £500k ($687k) in the form of a £200k basic plus a £250k-£300k bonus is "100% achievable," he says. 

Another London headhunter, speaking off the record, says demand for C++ coders is consistently high in hedge funds. "Everyone puts every single coding language on their CVs, but funds are always after strong, proper, hardcore coders. Nothing much has changed there."

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share?Contact: in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available (Telegram: @SarahButcher)

Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Pe
    Peter Wagner
    28 October 2021

    Since I’m quoted in this post, let me comment on a few things:
    - Yes, there are $700k C++ jobs out there (not just Citadel) but talking about a particular pay package in a very nuanced talent landscape is just headline fodder. Is there a premium for C++ skills? Yes, it’s a complex language, difficult to use properly, and the firms that choose this technology often are top payers that are building revenue generating systems.
    - The recruiter behavior described in the comments is accurate – get permission/send resume/hope/no follow-up – true for most recruiters.
    - Your job as a candidate is to find a recruiter who will add value to the process: understand you, your background, what’s a fit, what’s interesting to you.
    - Re applying directly, you absolutely can, but:
    o If your resume is not nearly perfect (top school, job history at top firms, little or no job movement), you won’t be considered by the top firms. Each job posting at a good firm attracts a ton of submissions, and only the best resumes stand out.
    o You have 0 visibility into the process. Was my resume reviewed? What’s the status? Should I be considered for a different job at that firm? If you are lucky enough to get an interview, what’s the status/feedback? What happens next?
    o By submitting directly, you blocked recruiters from helping you.
    - Your best chance to be considered at a top firm is to work with someone who is proactive and knowledgeable, who understands the right fit and can get you in front of the right people, and who won’t relinquish an opportunity until the right people have seen and discussed your profile.
    o A good recruiter knows which candidates are viable despite resume/job history flaws.
    o A good recruiter can get an interview booked based on their recommendation.
    o A good recruiter pushes the process to completion.

  • Mo
    22 October 2021

    As a graduate or junior developer starting out, what kinds of projects or work do recruiters /employers need to see for them to take you on?

  • sk
    18 October 2021

    Why hedging is better than lottery? What is the secret? Coding language?

  • Ni
    Nicolas Bourbaki
    18 October 2021

    Right now, only Citadel Securities is known to offer up to £500k for C++ programmers in the UK.

    Most recruiting agencies will put this £500k number on jobs adverts to get your CV in their database, then, they will immediately tell you about other jobs being a great fit and they could send you CV to their best mate in "Big Trading Corp".

    For recruiting agencies, the equation is simple: whoever you are, whatever firm you are applying to, there is x % probability for you to be hired, hence they need to send lots of CV to collect some fees (20-30% of total year 1 compensation including guaranteed bonus). Once your CV is sent under their firm's name, it is locked in for at least 6 months with the targeted firms: recruiters have nothing to lose sending your CV anywhere.

    It is worth noting you can apply directly to Citadel Securities, XTX, Optiver, Maven, Wintermute, (...) and the likeliness of being picked up is at least as high as going through a recruiter and their "best mate" in these firms.

  • Lo
    Lord Cinderbottom
    17 October 2021

    The real language to make $700k+ in Finance is the language of sales. If you are a capable financier but great at sales/deal-making, you will make far more in the long run than the opposite. And I mean real long term client focused selling, not pushy short-term sales.

    Being able to identify a client's needs/problems and provide or create a solution for them is one of the most valuable things you can do in this business. The best are more handsomely rewarded than even these salaried coding jobs, and tend to rise to the top because they know how to sell themselves better too.

Sign up to Morning Coffee!

Coffee mug

The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Recommended Articles
Recommended Jobs

Sign up to Morning Coffee!

Coffee mug

The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.