Recently we spoke to Ahmed, he joined mthree in June 2021 as a Software Developer Alumni and is now an Integration Engineer at a top investment bank.
He tells us about his journey from learning software development in his spare time to becoming an Algorithm Trading Expert. Find out what it means to be an Integration Engineer, the advice he has for graduates looking to enter the industry and why Montreal is the perfect city for young people to relocate to.
I did my degree in Electrical Engineering, but once I graduated I found there weren’t many jobs in that field and career growth was limited. I knew that software development was a growing and exciting field with infinite opportunities and I always had an interest in it so I decided to pursue it as a career and learnt a few languages including Python and SQL.
It was really helpful, especially as we were learning from people who had 30 years of experience working in the industry.
I learned about Linux and DevOps which I wouldn’t have known about without mthree. Linux is an operating system, like Windows or Apple, and it's used a lot within the banking industry. During the mthree training, I learned how to use it and to this day I still use the notes from that lecture.
The DevOps part of the training taught us how to automate parts of our job by creating code that automates repetitive tasks to save you time. DevOps is a mentality and the mthree training taught us that mindset.
Another area the mthree training helped me with was learning FIX Protocol, which is like a language that banks use to communicate with each other. Because mthree did a lecture on it, I had an idea of what it was before joining my company.
I definitely felt more prepared on the first day of my job because of the training.
On my LinkedIn, I’ve been posting about my journey with mthree and so people message me asking for help and advice. I always say go for it and have an open mind. All of mthree’s jobs are full of potential so whatever one you go for it’ll have lots of growth opportunities.
I also tell them that they need to work on themselves. Do online courses, complete certifications and always work on your LinkedIn. There are loads of free courses on Udemy, and even the ones that cost you are usually only around $10 - the same price as a cup of coffee and a bagel! You also need to build on your soft skills so take leadership and communication courses as they’ll be useful for you in the professional industry.
It's about self-motivation and having discipline. You’ve got to want to learn especially if you’re like me and wanting to get into the industry without any experience or a related degree. I think mthree picked me because I'm always learning and developing my skill set.
My job is pretty cool. My team make software products that help clients buy and sell stocks. For example, if you wanted to buy a stock yourself, we make sure you make the best money out of it and that you don't lose any money. This actually saves billions of dollars.
My team bridge the gap between the development and support teams to ensure the successful delivery of projects.
We do lots of things like configuring testing, deploying strategies, developing tactical solutions and trading strategies and monitoring performance. We’re involved in all parts of the software development lifecycle, from development to QA testing to integration to production support. We do all of these in just one job so it never gets boring!
You have to see the small details because one little mistake can cost the clients millions of dollars – so you have to be careful.
As I started in July I’m still learning, my colleagues tell me it’ll take me up to 3 years to really master it. What I mainly do now is developing, improving and fixing codes. I’m an Integration Engineer which is the person that takes care of everything, so I need to know how each part of the system works.
We have to understand development’s job and support’s job because sometimes the integration engineer becomes the developer or the QA tester or the production support engineer. We’re like the emergency team, whenever something happens we have to take care of it.
I came from Kuwait which is a hot country so I had to adjust! But Montreal is a beautiful, open-minded city. People like to help each other here and it's a very pleasant place, especially for young people.
The best thing about Montreal is it’s full of opportunities; jobs are everywhere. The city is a major tech hub and there are lots of software companies and start-ups here. It’s a growing city and much more affordable than cities like Toronto. In the summer it’s very beautiful and there are lots of events happening from a variety of cultures. It is also a chance for you to learn a new language, French.
The people are the best part. I’ve met so many good people here and everyone is very helpful. There’s so much to explore - I've been here for three years and I still don't know everything here!
Go for it, it’s a lovely place. There are so many opportunities in Montreal and you can do anything you want. It’s all about the person though, make sure you're always learning, working on yourself and always excited to discover more.
We currently have tech and banking opportunities in Montreal, view our jobs board here.