This spring, Optiver welcomed a group of talented students to our Amsterdam office for an all-inclusive internship programme. Over eight weeks, the interns took part in educational sessions, hands-on training and meaningful project work, all designed kickstart a career in tech and trading.
We sat down with Chinmay, a third-year Computer Science student at IIT Delhi, as he shares his experience as a tech intern, from his interview to seeing the impact of his work.
Q: Why did you decide to intern at Optiver?
I learned about Optiver when they came to our campus at IIT Delhi. It caught my interest because it seemed different from traditional software engineering, which, in my opinion, doesn’t present such an interesting challenge. At Optiver, you have to focus on things like latency, you have to think about what to do if systems go down and all the other complications that come with writing code for trading systems.
I was also eager to gain experience writing code and building systems on a larger scale than what university courses offer.
Q: Did you have any experience in the finance industry?
Before the internship, I didn’t have any experience in the trading industry. Even though I don’t have a financial background, the complexity of the problems here and the opportunity to make a bigger impact still appealed to me. As a tech intern, you also get training on the trading aspect of the business, so joining with an open mind is important.
You also learn a lot of what you need to know as you go, and that’s where having a mentor was super helpful. We had daily check-ins where we discussed my plans, what I had accomplished the previous day and any questions I had. We were always encouraged to find a solution to a problem ourselves, but when I needed help, my mentor was always there to guide me.
Q: How was your interview experience?
The interview was quite different from others I’ve had for previous internships. I felt that Optiver’s selection process valued different aspects, not just your academic grades but also communication and your ability to write clean code. The questions were challenging and I had to think on my feet. It wasn’t just about practising questions beforehand; it was about how I could apply what I’d learned in university in a real-world environment.
Q: What kind of training or guidance did you receive during the internship?
We were initially scheduled for two weeks of training, one week focused on trading and another on tech. Due to university exams, I wasn’t able to attend the first week of training, but the trainers provided the resources to catch up on what I’d missed.
The tech onboarding introduced us to Optiver’s tech systems and terminologies. It gave us the basics on how to write clean code and familiarised us with the tech stack before we started our project work in the third week.
Q: Can you tell us a bit more about the project you worked on?
I was part of the options automation team, which meant that I worked on a project focused on streamlining options pricing, particularly automating the adjustment of interest rates. For my project, I built a GUI that offered traders various functionalities to make their lives easier and help them get better prices. I had to think about how to build for scale, how to deal with many users while also learning about Optiver’s systems.
And because I was part of the trading tech team, it wasn’t just about software, there was also a trading aspect involved. What would happen if a trader clicks this button? If your application goes down, how would it impact trading? I found this particularly interesting because it added complexity and challenged me to think beyond the code.
The output of my application was then fed into Optiver’s pricing engine, which meant I could actually see what I had built being used by traders.
Q: What has been your favourite part about the internship?
When I joined the internship, I had two goals: to understand how large systems are built and to work on something meaningful. I’m happy that both of these things were satisfied over the eight weeks. It wasn’t just learning and figuring out how things worked in theory; it was doing something that made a difference.
Apart from the work itself, I also really enjoyed being in Amsterdam. During the weekends, small groups of us travelled to Rotterdam, Paris and Belgium, which you can’t do as easily in other countries. I love travelling, so this was a great additional benefit.
Q: What kind of advice would you give future Optiver interns?
I would say that once you’re in the internship, don’t get too consumed with your project. Of course, that’s important, but it’s also a perfect opportunity to learn how trading works, how the company works, and to interact with people in the business. The internship is great for anyone looking to explore trading or software, so I advise people to use the time to learn about all aspects of the business.
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