Zhihan

Software Engineer

Zhihan graduated with a Master of Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Hong Kong.

What I like most about my work are the short development cycles. My work goes into production as soon as I complete the implementation and I can thoroughly test it.

My company and my job

Citadel Securities is a leading global marker maker. We provide liquidity and drive price discovery to make markets more competitive, open and transparent. This helps people and institutions trade when they like to, and at a competitive price.

As a Software Engineer, I’m responsible for exchange market data related development. This includes providing a reliable market data feed to our traders and researchers, maintain and upgrade our connection with the exchange and implement market data for new exchanges, among others.

How I got my job

I had an on-campus interview as well as four rounds of onsite interviews. The trickiest part was when one interviewer asked me to implement a production-ready utility in C++ – memory management, flexibility and performance, just to name a few. I think I did a good job on that one!

The highs and lows

What I like most about my work are the short development cycles. My work goes into production as soon as I complete the implementation and I can thoroughly test it. Because of this, I can quickly see the impact of my changes during production, and the business impact is immediate.

On the other hand, the most challenging part for a new graduate like me could be communicating with cross-functional team members and knowing who to ask for a specific need.

My happiest moment at work

I’ve enjoyed my work so far – every patch I’ve made and every “thank you” I’ve received gives me a sense of satisfaction and achievement.

Training and support

Citadel Securities has plenty of internal documents and wikis available to support the onboarding process, which helped me better understand the company’s architecture and workflow.

Additionally, I have a mentor who sits next to me and is very knowledgeable and responsive. My mentor and manager both provide timely feedback and suggestions. My colleagues are also very experienced and are happy to share their advice and insights with me.

Work-life balance

Usually, I work from 8AM to 6PM, with an hour break for lunch. As a software engineer, I feel the culture here is enjoyable and collaborative. My team also likes to bond over dinner or coffee from time to time. Our conversations range from sharing progress on a project at work to playing on a new game console.

Some advice

As a software engineer, my advice is to always consider another alternative or better option to handling a situation. Don’t settle because these efforts will pay off later on!