How to get a top job at Citadel Securities when you're over 50 and never worked in finance

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Citadel Securities has been one of the big hiring stories in recent years. Chief Information Officer Nawaf Bitar told Business Insider recently that the company has recruited 300 people since 2017 alone. Goldman Sachs' electronic equities professionals are among those queuing up to join, according to GS insiders, so you'd have thought that Citadel would have its pick of talent. - But in one area at least the electronic brokerage firm is increasingly going outside of finance for its new recruits: technology.

Citadel's most recent technology hire completed his PhD at MIT in 1973 long before most technologists in finance were born. He's been working ever since, but has never worked in finance - until now. As of yesterday, Stuart Feldman is joining Citadel as a senior advisor on technology initiatives. 

Feldman's claim to fame is that he was part of the original group at Bell Labs which created the Unix operating system and that he himself created the first Fortran 77 compiler for writing “Make,” the tool that automated the process of compiling, managing, and installing computer programs on UNIX systems.

After eight years at Google between 2007 and 2015, Feldman had been taking it easy as chief scientist at Schmidt Philanthropies, the private foundation for sustainability created by Google's Eric Schmidt, but Citadel Securities is now sharing his talents.

As an advisor to Citadel Securities, Feldman won't be working for Citadel full time and will continue working for Schmidt. It's not entirely clear what his Citadel gig will entail apart from 'advising on technology.' Citadel isn't elaborating, but one seasoned technologist suggests he could end up with a role similar to that occupied by Bjarne Strousup at Morgan Stanley. Like Feldman, Strousup had no prior finance experience, but as the designer of the C++ programming language, he joined Morgan Stanley as a managing director and technology fellow in 2015. Strousup doesn't manage anyone, but he speaks at conferences and oversees Morgan Stanley's 'data transfer operations.' For this, it's thought he earns $1m, maybe more.

If you're a technologist who's never worked in finance, it's therefore eminently possible to move into the domain towards the end of your career. You may not even need to have done something as groundbreaking as Strousup or Feldman. - Bitar himself hadn't worked in finance before he joined Citadel Securities in 2017 and now seems to be making a habit of hiring technologists without finance backgrounds: over 50% of the hires he's made at Citadel are from outside the industry. 

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