FAQ

Trading

What is a Market Maker?

Optiver is a professional market-making firm. The role of a Market Maker has traditionally been to provide bids and offers to the options market. When a broker places an order to buy or sell an option, the majority of the time it will be a Market Maker on the other side providing the price.

Optiver introduces liquidity into the market, so it is actually the investor who makes the trading decisions and we provide a price for the options that are being traded.

How soon will I be trading?

Our training program is unique in how quickly we develop our new traders. First, we sponsor and require a FINRA registration exam for all traders. Then, after less than two months of classroom training and simulation trading, traders are placed on their own desks with their own accounts, tight risk limits and small capital where they are supervised and coached to accelerate their learning. Once demonstrating potential for profitability, they join one of our production trading teams where they work with larger capital and ever increasing responsibilities under the supervision and mentorship of other more experienced traders. We believe in a hands-on approach to learning.

Who are our clients?

Optiver is a proprietary trading firm. We trade company assets for company profit. We do not have any external clients.

What is in the 8-minute mathematical test?

Optiver uses an 8-minute multiple-choice numerical test as a part of our selection process. It is a simple math test that focuses on speed and accuracy, tools that are essential to a trader’s daily work.

Can I reapply if I fail the math test?

Optiver has very high hiring standards to maintain the quality of staff and the performance of our business. As such, we only allow applicants to attempt the test once.

IT development

Which programming languages do you use?

In Chicago we program in a variety of languages, with each team using a slightly different combination. We use everything from low-level C++ to the latest web standard technologies. As a general rule, though, anything speed intensive (our auto-trading programs or market connections) is programmed in C++ on Linux and anything to do with a heavy-weight UI is written in C# on Windows. Other languages we use or experiment with include Python, Javascript, HTML5, SQL, Lua, and Objective-C.

How soon will I be working on projects?

After a week of orientation, you will immediately be put on projects and have an opportunity to contribute to your team. Development teams in Chicago are tightly knit groups that work together closely on projects with a high-level of team interaction. You will initially be mentored through a small project to get your feet wet, and as you grow into your role, mature in your skills, and get more comfortable in our environment you will be expected to take on tasks of increasing complexity and be given more autonomy and responsibility. In addition, developers at Optiver take part in every part of the software development life cycle: design, unit testing, implementation, acceptance testing, release, regression testing, production support, and … more testing. We are careful and deliberate about how we program at Optiver US. We strongly believe there is a right way to develop enterprise-level code and, if you come work for us, you will learn that right way.

General Questions

What are the hours of work?

Optiver does not have a 9am to 5pm mentality. Flexibility is a strong element within our culture and this also relates to time flexibility. Typically, full time Optiver employees work around 40 hours per week, but this can fluctuate due to events or work circumstances.

What is the Dress Code?

Optiver has a very relaxed dress code. As we have no external clients, we believe the dress code enhances the relaxed culture and the creative environment we encourage at Optiver. Jeans are all more than acceptable attire; they are actually preferred by most employees.

How many people work for Optiver?

Optiver currently has more than 900 employees worldwide, including offices in Amsterdam, Chicago and Sydney.

Are there overseas work opportunities?

Optiver aims for all of its employees to fulfill their potential. Providing chances to work overseas, to experience different cultures and to pursue professional development opportunities is just one of the ways we achieve this objective. While transfer opportunities are not guaranteed, Optiver’s culture promotes the exchange of ideas and people between all of our offices.

Does Optiver employ international students?

Optiver US is unable to sponsor international candidates.

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