My Career Roadmap: Data Engineering with Jesse Wells

June 20, 2019

At Citadel, data is at the core of the investment process. For that reason, we want you to have the opportunity to read about, and learn from, our Data Engineers. Through their stories we hope you’ll gain insights into how to get to the next level in your career in engineering. We recently chatted with Jesse Wells, Equities Data Engineer, in the latest edition of My Career Roadmap and asked him about his career milestones and his day-to-day focus areas.

What initially intrigued you about joining Citadel as a Data Engineer?

I respected, from afar, the ambition and discipline at Citadel. After having discussions with several team members, it became clear how central data engineering is to the investment process. Through these conversations, I became excited by the prospect of using my knowledge of data engineering at a firm like Citadel, where my expertise could have a direct impact on the success of the firm.

After you joined the firm, were you surprised by anything?

There were a couple of things that surprised me. First, I was impressed with the extra mile my team took to make me feel welcome. Some of my new team members from other offices even traveled to New York to meet me in-person and helped facilitate introductions to other colleagues.  From my first day I felt like a valued team member and appreciated the guidance and counsel from my new colleagues.

Second, I was both surprised and delighted by the autonomy given to me just a few short weeks into my new position. By the second week, I was already leading meetings with 10+ people on important matters driving the business. I felt like the firm was saying to me “we’re confident in your abilities and know you’re going to make a big impact with those abilities.”

What were the milestones that led to your current role?

I’ve been a software engineer for my entire 15-year career and have always been one to step-up to a challenge. Early in my career, I made the shift from full-stack application development to data engineering. After a year, I was promoted and oversaw an entire data engineering team.

I also spent time at an advertising technology startup, where I became proficient at working with large volumes of data. It was during this time that I saw how a company like Citadel – one with significant resources and bandwidth – could develop a truly valuable data engineering function.

Lastly, I had been intrigued by financial markets for a while and after realizing the potential impact my knowledge and skills in data engineering could have in the industry, I made the leap to Citadel.  In summary, I made a functional pivot, dove into large datasets, and committed to a career focused on understanding global financial markets.

What’s a day like for you now as a Data Engineer?

As I mentioned, Citadel offered me the opportunity to step-up and show that I can lead. I now lead a diverse team that is hungry to tackle new challenges every day.

Specifically, on a day-to-day basis, we’re constantly examining vast datasets to find the data that may provide valuable and differentiated insights for our investment teams. We work to improve upon our data engineering platform in order to minimize the time-to-analysis while ensuring the quality of our ongoing processes.

We also develop and roll-out platforms, tools and expertise so that other less technical users can take advantage of the data we have available – creating a wealth of knowledge at the firm.

In essence, my days are spent with some of the brightest engineers and some of the most complex and interesting datasets. I’m very happy with the “who” and “what” I spend my days with.

Interested in collaborating with extraordinary colleagues like Jesse? Check out our Data Engineering career opportunities.