Look Beyond Traditional Tech for Your Next Career Move

An evolution in investment management has spawned a new era of innovation in finance, creating high-impact jobs for tech talent.

John Talarico, Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Millennium Management

June 25, 2024

4 Min Read
telescope aimed at sky

The hiring landscape is growing in complexity, especially in the technology sector where job uncertainty is at a high. Having worked as a technology-focused recruiter for the last 25 years, I am keenly aware of the ups and downs of the hiring market, and I’m seeing firsthand a change in the traditional career path for seasoned technologists and recent tech graduates.  

My advice to tech employees looking for their next role or those aspiring for a career in tech: Take a wider view of the tech market and seek out bright spots where tech talent is in high demand. According to the US Department of Education, the number of students in the US majoring in computer and information science jumped 40% in the five years ending of 2023. However, the number of full-time jobs posted by tech companies is down 30% year-over-year, according to Handshake. Those looking for a career move may want to consider the intersection of finance and technology, where tech employees can apply their skill sets to new challenges in rapidly evolving financial markets.  

Three trends are transforming the tech talent landscape as technologists consider their next career move. 

1. A Meeting of the Minds  

Over the last decade, we have seen an evolution in investment management where technology has become an increasingly important part of the investment process. Technology is not just an enabler for investment managers; it can help open new markets and new opportunities. As a result, firms are committed to hiring not only sophisticated portfolio managers, but also software engineers who are experts in their field.  

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At our company, for example, applicants from big tech to the firm increased 300% between 2022 and 2023. More than 1,400 of our 5,600-plus global employees are technologists working on projects that leverage tools like advanced data analytics, low latency computing, sophisticated information security technology, cloud computing and machine learning. 

In my view, it is often the partnership between portfolio managers and technologists -- a meeting of the minds -- that drives innovation in investment management. Portfolio managers often know how to code and are classically trained developers and engineers. As a result, portfolio managers and technologists can collaborate as peers on high-value challenges at the heart of the investment industry. This includes building tools and applications that help portfolio managers view financial markets in new and innovative ways or developing the technology platform and infrastructure that allows firms to scale across diverse global markets. 

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2. Complex Markets Require High Tech Solutions 

As firms in our industry have evolved into more complex global businesses -- such as systematic investing, derivative volatility trading and latency critical trading -- the tools required to participate in those markets have also evolved.  

You can think about these tools as providing the ability to look at the market in different ways. Our technologists build tools that operate like a microscope, allowing a portfolio manager to zoom into market microstructures. We also build tools that operate like a telescope, enabling a portfolio manager to view the market and unveil relationships they couldn’t see before.  

This is supercharged by the fact that powerful technologies, once the domain of consumer tech, are being applied in transformational ways in investment management. Take artificial intelligence and cloud computing, where I believe some of the most promising practical applications are within investment management. These are being used today to enable greater scale, speed, and resiliency across markets and to power research across large data sets. 

3. Opportunities at the Intersection of Technology and Finance   

Related:The Soft Side of IT: How Non-Technical Skills Shape Career Success

As a recruiter, I know very well the concerns that people raise when considering a career in finance. While some of those concerns have merit in pockets of finance, it’s important to dispel preconceived notions of what a career in finance can look like.      

One of the criticisms I hear of financial services organizations is that they are hierarchical. Indeed, many firms are. But again, this is taking a narrow view. Other firms, including my company, have sought to build their organizations to be nimble and flat, enabling individuals at all levels and locations to make an impact from the moment they join. Teams are created based on an individual’s skills and strengths rather than just seniority or level. Removing barriers, cutting red tape, and reducing bureaucracy allows for greater innovation and efficiency.  

Technologists at tech-forward investment managers experience the results of their efforts firsthand. They often have direct relationships with their end users -- portfolio managers -- who provide a constant feedback loop, expediting the time it takes to see the impact of their work. The solutions are practical and built from the bottom up, enabling their rapid deployment, and have an outsized impact on business outcomes.   

Tech-forward financial services companies can offer some security during an unpredictable time. But what's more, it can add dimension to the work of tech talent looking to learn and expand their horizons.  

About the Author(s)

John Talarico

Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Millennium Management

John Talarico is Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Millennium Management, a global investment management firm with 5,600+ employees and $67bn AUM as of June 1, 2024. He is responsible for overseeing Millennium’s global talent acquisition for all non-trading roles, including technology and core infrastructure roles. 

Prior to joining Millennium in 2022, he was Global Head of Talent Acquisition at DRW. Before DRW, he spent time in various recruitment roles at Citadel LLC, most recently as a Director and at Goldman Sachs as a Vice President. John began his career as a Technical Recruiter and has over 25 years of experience in building large-scale global teams focused on the support of best-in-class trading platforms. 

John received a BS in Management Information Systems from the University of Vermont. 

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