Everything you need to know about landing Goldman Sachs’ new $100k research gig

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If you haven’t heard, Goldman Sachs is rolling out a one-year program aimed at giving young engineers access to the bank’s proprietary code and APIs to research and build new products. The headliner is that Goldman will pay recent graduates $100k for 12 months of work, even if nothing commercially viable comes out of the project. For those who are interested, here’s what you need to know.

2019 grads are the focus

While the GS Digital Innovators Research Program is open to anyone, the bank is clearly targeting students who will graduate next spring or summer from an undergrad or postgrad program. Considering the scope of the program, you’ll need a degree in computer science, math, statistics, engineering or a related field, according to the job posting.

The program runs from August 2019 to September 2020. Applications are due at the end of May 2019, though Goldman said it will rely on a rolling admission process, so getting your application in early certainly won’t hurt.

It’s full-time, but not in the traditional sense

New “hires” will be required to pursue their research full-time, though they will be contractors, not Goldman Sachs employees. However, a Goldman spokesperson told us that they'll still have access to health insurance and some other benefits that are provided to employees if they work 30+ hours a week. Participants also won’t be working in downtown Manhattan or any of Goldman’s other offices; it’s a remote position and you'll be using your own equipment. That $100k salary will surely go a bit further than if you had to live in New York, but there are certainly downsides of not working alongside veteran engineers all day. To say Goldman is putting a lot of trust in 22-year-old fresh grads is a bit of an understatement. 

For now, you need to be legally authorized to work in the U.S. to be eligible.

What they’re looking for

While the bank is open to considering a wide array of research and technologies, it pointed toward using machine learning for creating algorithms, building frameworks for quant trading strategies and finding new ways to break down big data as a few examples. Mobile technologies also seem to be a focus.

Participants will have access to GS Quant, a toolkit for quantitative finance that provides access to various data and libraries of analysis. GS Quant is based in Python, so having a good understanding of the programming language would certainly be helpful.

You won’t own the IP

If things go well, participants may be asked to present their work before senior leadership at Goldman. However, Goldman will retain the intellectual property rights of any applications or products that comes out of the projects.

It could be a side-door into a full-time position

Goldman noted that prospective engineers can apply for the program as well as a full-time position at the bank. Assumedly, the bank would rather hire blue-chip recruits full-time if they have the option. So, for students who don’t attend a target school or have a sterling GPA but who have a great idea, the program may offer a chance to “prove it” and parlay the experience into something full-time.  

While Goldman's program is rather unique, several different banks and hedge funds have started employing tactics like online competitions to identify quality engineering talent from a dispersed pool of prospects. As we reported last month, hiring managers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the traditional method of hiring finance-minded engineers. Things are starting to change.

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