How Trading Technology took me to Toronto

I began my journey with First Derivatives in August 2016 after graduating with a degree in Financial Mathematics from Queen’s University Belfast. Following my graduation, I wasn’t sure what I wanted out of my career. One thing I was sure of was my ambition to travel. With the global opportunities offered by FD, it seemed like the perfect fit for me.

After completing the Capital Markets Training Programme, I made the move to the Trading Technology & Vendor Services stream where I began my Calypso training. At the time, I was a little apprehensive about joining Calypso as I didn’t fully understand what exactly it would involve. It didn’t take me long to realise how valuable it would be to specialise in a front-to-back end software application used by financial institutions worldwide. This training provided me with the ability to develop a niche skillset within the industry, whilst also offering me the opportunity to take on a client-facing role.
By November 2016 I had completed 3 months of Calypso training and I was sent to Dublin to join my first Calypso project. Being surrounded by a team of very accomplished individuals in my first role on client site was very daunting. I was extremely fortunate as the other FD employees on the project were incredibly knowledgeable and approachable. The support they provided allowed me to learn on the job, which was the ideal approach for a kinesthetic learner like myself. Every challenge gave me the opportunity to expand my skill set and master my problem-solving approach with the guidance of more experienced individuals. I grew as an individual and as a young professional during my time on this project, whilst building my confidence in the working environment. In addition to the work, I enjoyed my lifestyle in Dublin too – with a work hard, play hard culture, socialising was a must!

Following a very quick 2 years in Dublin, I found myself eager to take on my next adventure with FD. My passion 2 years previous was to travel, now it was to travel with Calypso! When a role in Toronto popped up in September 2018, I thought it was too good to be true- thankfully that was not the case. Given the quick turnaround from leaving my role in Dublin, travelling to Toronto & starting with a new client within just a few days, I didn’t have time to get nervous. I landed in Toronto on September 8th, just in time to catch a glimpse of Summer and embrace the chilling Canadian Winter.

This was 18 months ago, and I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown by, working and living in Toronto has been a total dream. My role in the Capital Markets Project Delivery team has provided me with a great deal of responsibility and exposure to the Capital Markets industry. My Calypso skills are continuously developing, as are my consultancy skills – I liaise daily with a variety of teams and senior management.

I have made a great group of friends here both through FD and GAA. I play for St. Mikes and we won the Ladies Senior Championship in Summer ’19. I have also enjoyed watching some of the sporting events Toronto has to offer, such as basketball, ice hockey, rugby, softball and baseball. My condo is located in downtown Toronto and I am lucky enough to be living close to the Harbour Front which provides a refreshing balance of surroundings. During the summer there are boats travelling to and from the Toronto islands which is a welcoming escape from the city in the Summer months.

Since moving to Toronto, I have really taken advantage of my new location. As well as travelling around Ontario, I have been to Niagara, Ottawa, Montreal, Chicago, Mexico, Miami, Las Vegas, New York and Vancouver. Spending NYE 2018 skiing in Whistler has been one of my highlights.

My move to Toronto has turned out to be my greatest move to date, both professionally and personally. I am thoroughly enjoying everything Toronto has to offer.

I am extremely fortunate for the opportunities FD has afforded me, the roles I have been placed in, the ability to travel and mostly for the people I have met along the way!