If you’re a talented technologist, you might want to get yourself to Goldman Sachs. The firm, which employs over 9,000 people in engineering jobs, says its appeal to the best developers in the market is intensifying. Goldman is increasingly attracting, “top-notch engineering talent,” said CEO David Solomon in yesterday’s call with investors, citing recent hires without naming any names.
Solomon was almost certainly referring to Marco Argenti and Atte Lahtiranta, who joined last month as chief information officer and chief technology officer, respectively. Both have non-finance pedigrees: Argenti comes from Amazon Web Services (AWS), where he ran cloud services; Lahtiranta (who describes himself as a “miracle monger”) comes from Nokia, where he ran the “developer experience marketplace.” Both joined as partners: you clearly don’t need a finance technology background to work in engineering at Goldman Sachs.
Like most banks, Goldman is a big spender when it comes to technology, and that expenditure is only increasing. In the first nine months of 2019, the firm spent $859 million on technology and communications, up 13 percent from last year.
Solomon is due to unveil a new strategy in January 2020, the contents of which have already been heavily flagged: Goldman Sachs is going to be all about ‘platforms’ of the kind that generate recurring revenues with minimal additional cost. Someone needs to build those platforms, and this is where the “top notch engineering talent” comes in.
Goldman Sachs: Improving Image for Technologists
Goldman’s appeal to technologists certainly seems to have improved. Two years ago, Glassdoor was full of gripes from current and former Goldman technologists complaining of bureaucracy and overwork. Today, technologists at Goldman Sachs give the firm four out of five stars in Glassdoor reviews and praise its “smart people,” “innovative environment,” and use of new technologies.
Even so, some at Goldman Sachs may have taken issue with Solomon’s use of the Apple Card and Marcus as exemplars of the firm’s new technological excellence. The Apple Card (‘Project Cookie’) had a painful birth, with thousands of engineers reassigned from other areas of the firm to work on the launch after a security vulnerability was revealed. Developers complained of overwork.
Even so, Goldman does have some exciting platforms for its engineers. Key among them is Marquee, the platform that makes Goldman’s SecDB pricing and risk database available to clients. Back in February, Goldman CFO Stephen Scherr said Marquee had 14,000 unique users a month, and 10 million direct client data requests over the same period. By October, Scherr said, Marquee had over 50,000 monthly active users and over 1 million API data requests every day.
Other businesses in Goldman Sachs may be shrinking, but Marquee definitely is not. Accordingly, Goldman is currently advertising over 30 Marquee jobs globally, including for a cloud engineer to help migrate the product to AWS… something Argenti should be able to help with.
As products such as Marquee grow in importance, the other perennial complaint of Goldman’s technologists, that they’re treated as ‘second class citizens’ compared to front office salespeople and traders, is likely to fall away.
Solomon’s Goldman Sachs is all about the preeminence of platforms and the technologists who build those platforms. Equity salestrading jobs at Goldman have already been obliterated by machines; some fixed-income jobs might be coming next; Scherr said that the firm is “making considerable progress” pricing and executing investment grade credit trades systematically.
Investment-grade credit traders’ days are numbered. Developers who can code trading systems are the future, and the more Goldman relies on platforms, the more important the platform-builders will become.