Developer Work at Investment Banks Has a Downside

If you’re entertaining the idea of becoming a developer at an investment bank instead of a technology company, you’re probably already familiar with the notion that the tools and platforms might not be as advanced (or the releases as frequent) as at a Facebook or Google. But have you also considered that you might not get to work on the laptop of your choice (or a laptop at all), and will have to spend a lot more time working in the office? 

Speaking recently at Goldman Sach’s Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco, co-CIO George Lee said employees the firm hires from technology companies can find it difficult to shed the notion that they should be able to work on laptops and communicate with co-workers from a Starbucks or train station. This isn’t always possible at Goldman because of the regulations surrounding the way the firm operates.

Lee’s admission follows a Wall Street Journal article in September that said developers working on Goldman’s Marcus retail banking platform were upset when their requests for MacBooks were turned down. It was possibly to help palliate this cruel twist that Goldman allowed a developer to travel around the office on a hoverboard… until another colleague borrowed it and crashed. 

Goldman is unlikely to be the only bank coming up against regulatory constraints as it hires developers from outside of banking. JP Morgan has deliberately set out to raid Google and Facebook for its new AI team in California. 

One Goldman engineer said the downsides of banking are more than compensated by the upsides; plus, the culture on Goldman’s London coding team is less aggressive than in big tech firms. Jo Hannaford, the head of Goldman’s EMEA technology team, said last year that developers at Goldman Sachs work moderate hours and are not expected to work evenings. However, some suggest this is not always the case.

A modified version of this article originally appeared at eFinancialCareers.

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