What Is It like Being a Software Engineer at a Small Finance Firm?

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Octave Muhirwa

Tell me about your background.

Hello. My name is Octave Muhirwa and I graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Computer Engineering in the class of August 2017.

I’m currently a software engineer at a small finance firm called Income Research + Management (IR+M). I interned there when I was in school and I was hired there after I graduated from Wentworth.

What is your typical day like?

I just started there recently so I currently have one project. On a typical day, I’m developing features, fixing bugs, or meeting with stakeholders to clarify issues and requirements. I’m also part of a small team and throughout the day I’m collaborating with another senior engineer about my design choices and doing code reviews.

What is the most exciting part of your job?

I love learning new things and it’s the most exciting part of my job. I’m new to Javascript and C#, so I’m spending a lot of time understanding how these technologies work and discovering how fun Javascript really is. I’m also learning about the finance industry particularly how bonds work and are traded. It’s very interesting and keeps my brain spinning.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

I’m constantly faced with three challenges. The first is that most of the things that I’m building I’m doing for the first time, and I spend a lot of time learning. It’s fun to learn, but it’s also hard because you’re constrained by deadlines.

The second challenge is that in order to build useful tools, you have built an understanding of the industry that you’re working in. So I’m learning about finance, but it’s painstaking slow process as finance is very vast and complicated. I have to be patient and take it one step at a time.

The last challenge is that nowadays there are 10 tools to solve a problem. So I’m learning to analyze and come up with the best solution. I’m building my experience so I hope this will get better as I grow technically.

What advice would you give to people looking to get into your field?

Figure out what you like and what truly motivates you and start building projects that help you explore that area. For instance, I like frontend technologies so I’m constantly building projects that are in that area so that it helps me to hone my skills and build a portfolio, and it’s fun and rewarding.

Software engineering is like carpentry, the more you do it, the better you become at it.

Also, it’s very important to network. Join meetups, hackathons, any place where you can find people in the field you’re looking to get into or a technology you’re trying to learn. They will recommend jobs to you or you’ll learn from them about what they’re building, technologies they’re using, or simply how they got to where they’re.

Click here for Careers at Income Research + Management!

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