Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters
This is how much you earn when you're programming on the metal.

Salaries for FPGA engineers in hedge funds and market makers

In terms of niche jobs for developers in the financial services industry, it’s hard to get more niche than roles for engineers who work on ultra-ultra low latency systems at systematic hedge funds and high speed market making firms. They don’t come up often, and when they do, they require a special talent: the ability to program field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).

Both quantitative hedge funds and high speed market making firms hire FPGA engineers. In finance, they’re found everywhere from Citadel Securities, to DE Shaw, Susquehanna International, Maven Securities and Jump Trading. Few come from a financial services background: most are drawn from chip design and hardware engineering firms. Ben Hodzic, executive director specializing in quantitative analytics at recruitment firm Selby Jennings in New York, says they can be hard to come by: there simply aren’t that many FPGA programmers to go around. “Most trading firms will consider FPGA talent from out of industry, given how hard they are to find and how niche of a skill set it is.”

The appeal of a good FPGA programmer is speed. FPGAs are literally ‘programming metal,’ creating the circuit that will execute the trading signal. “Firms that are focused strictly on low latency are always looking for ways to beat others,” says one London-based consultant specialized in high speed applications. “It’s about using C/C++ and FPGAs and other specialized techniques to reduce the delay by a nanosecond.” Java, C++ and FPGAs can be used in parallel.

How much can you earn as an FPGA programmer at a quant hedge fund or high-speed market making firm? It’s possible to be pretty specific – at least in the U.S. market. Citadel Securities has hired two FPGA programmers in America on H1B visas this year, and both salaries have been disclosed on the H1B visa database: one FPGA programmer at Citadel Securities in Chicago is on a salary of $180k; another at Palm Beach is on $200k; bonuses will be in addition to this.

One of the best known FPGA specialists in finance is found outside the northern hemisphere. David Snowdon, director of engineering at Arista Networks, is based in Sydney, Australia. Snowdon co-founded Metamako, a specialist provider of low-latency, field programmable gate array (FPGA)-enabled network products to the financial services industry in 2013. Arista acquired Metamako in 2013. Arista, too, hires FPGA designers and engineers for its offices globally.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com

Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

author-card-avatar
AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

Apply for jobs

Find thousands of jobs in financial services and technology by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Recommended Jobs
Durlston Partners
Principal Quantitative Developer - New York - $750k
Durlston Partners
New York, United States
Capital Markets Executive Search
Senior Trading Software Engineer - Hedge Fund
Capital Markets Executive Search
New York, United States
Analytic Recruiting Inc.
Senior Quantitative Lead Risk Developer C++, C#
Analytic Recruiting Inc.
New York, United States
Stanford Black
Developer - C#
Stanford Black
New York, United States
Selby Jennings QRF
Commodity QR - $10BN AUM Hedge Fund - NYC/TX/Remote
Selby Jennings QRF
Manhattan, United States
Analytic Recruiting Inc.
Quantitative Git Developer Python - Equity Hedge Fund
Analytic Recruiting Inc.
Stamford, United States