Credit Derivatives IT Looks to Calypso

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For a high paying job in financial technology, follow the money. Within investment banks, one of the hottest areas is credit derivatives. And one of the hottest technologies for trading derivatives is Calypso, says John Carter, a recruiter at the Hagan-Ricci Group.

To get into one of the more highly paid areas of IT development, consider taking courses in Calypso technology. Carter has placed senior Calypso developers in the $275,000 - $300,000 range.

Like many advanced technology companies, Calypso offers training in its technology, although currently the training is open only to bank staff, internal Calypso employees and professionals who work for qualified partner companies.

"Calypso shops will often hire senior developers who possess strong Java or C++ development skills and strong derivatives or fixed income product knowledge without specific Calypso experience," says Carter. "Learning Calypso becomes their learning curve when they join the firm."

"Our company's growth means the demand for related skills continues to grow," explains Charles Marston, CEO at Calypso. "Therefore it is important to train people so new clients can find someone in the consulting arena to help them."

Courses, held at both the company's headquarters in California and in New York and Europe, typically last a week, and students should have a sound understanding of capital markets terminology and transactions, says Gerard Rafie, vice president of marketing.

Wachovia Securities, one of the early adopters of Calypso, uses a lot of internal training, says Steven Friedman, chief operating officer in the structured products group. Good technologists are scarce, he says. "Everyone is trying to get the same 12 people. We try to bring in people and teach them ourselves."

Contrary to some recruiters who say that companies don't invest in training because it is too costly in a market with a high rate of churn, Friedman says that banks have to train staff to get skilled people to do the work. Training is also a way to keep people interested in their jobs, he adds.

Simcorp, a Danish developer of investment management software, offers training at its headquarters in Copenhagen. The company recently acquired London-based SolutionForge.

Peter Sorensen, president of Simcorp US, says that the company offers a two-week crash course in its technology followed by a third week where the students are split into groups and given a practical assignment that requires them to develop workflow through the system. Once they complete the course satisfactorily they receive certification.

"Implementations take six to 12 months, and we are a software firm," explains Sorensen. By training consultants, the company reduces the risk of losing sales because it doesn't have the capacity to get a customer up and running within a reasonable time. Many companies whose software is used in both financial services and other industries also offer training course, including Cisco and SAS.

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