CAREER ADVICE

My Career Roadmap: Data Engineering with Ryan Delgado

May 21, 2019

At Citadel, data is at the core of the investment process. For that reason, we bring together the best and brightest Data Engineers to architect and build our data platforms, which drive how we source, enrich, and store data that integrates into the investment process. In order to provide you with the opportunity to learn from their careers, we sat down with Ryan Delgado, Lead Data Engineer at Citadel Global Equities, in this edition of My Career Roadmap to help you understand how Data Engineers make an impact on the business and their own careers.

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

I read Scott Patterson’s The Quants in college and became intrigued by Citadel’s long history and success. I wanted to work for a winning company and Citadel seemed to be positioned to succeed well into the future. When I learned that Citadel was looking to hire individuals whose skillsets closely matched mine in regards to data engineering and ETL (extract, transform, and load), I jumped at the opportunity to join the team. Working hand-in-hand with data scientists and investment professionals to seek to continuously improve investment decisions through a variety of complex datasets sounded fascinating.

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

I was surprised mainly by two things. First, I realized that markets adapt to events quickly. Based on this market behavior, we collaborate swiftly and nimbly at Citadel. We iterate in short cycles and are able to put solutions into production quickly.

Second, and related to our nimble nature, we’re able to truly innovate – instead of getting stuck in bureaucratic quicksand. I was surprised by how enthusiastic and committed the firm’s management is to big ideas and the speed at which we can execute on these ideas.

What were the milestones that led to your current role?

Every single day has been a milestone. This may sound hyperbolic, but it’s true. Citadel is comprised of some of the most intelligent people across the various fields of data science, research, technology, and finance. Every day presents a new set of challenges and thus new opportunities to learn about how we can tackle problems together.

Along with this, Citadel trusts each team member with a significant amount of responsibility early on, so lessons that lead to future successes are gained from the start. I understand that many of my peers have these “big-bang” milestones when they launch a data solution or move into management. However, my milestones are achieved in the form of incremental increases in responsibilities every day and learning from those around me.

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

I know everyone answers a question like this with “every day is different.” However, while I feel stimulated by different challenges and opportunities every day, I do think about my role in different buckets of activities.

First, I work with data analysts and investment professionals to understand requirements, conceptualize solutions, and build products. This part of the job of a Data Engineer requires deep thinking and seamless collaboration with business teams.

Second, my team and I design, develop, test, and productionize data models. It’s an honor to be able to leverage my technical skills in this manner with this scale of datasets.

Third, we build the ETL pipelines to populate data models. We ensure data is smoothly passed from one place to another.

With all of this said, one of the areas of my role that I take the most pride in is helping my team prioritize, develop, and integrate with the business.

Ultimately, we build data products that power the investment process.

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