An insight into what it takes to secure an IT role at Cantor Fitzgerald

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Cantor Fitzgerald is hiring. As we pointed to previously, it intends to bolster its headcount by 800 in the new few years, largely for investment banking and asset management, but there are signs this could be extended into technology.

Hiring in the front office is invariably accompanied by a need to invest in technology, and draft in IT staff. There are few signs of this currently – it has just one US-based development role on its website, and specialist IT recruiters in London suggest that nothing spectacular is in the pipeline.

However, there are more positive signs. In a wide-ranging interview with Waters Technology, Todd Berlent, the firm’s chief technology officer (who enjoys running ultra-marathons) points to Cantor’s “proprietary mindset” and relative aversion to outsourcing. Any new tech projects, therefore, are likely to be kept in-house.

Getting a job there is no mean feat, however. While Berlent claims to have recruited technologists from competitors and Silicon Valley companies, Cantor demands a range of skill-sets. He wants techies who are the “opposite of the cliché: a ‘jack of all trades, but master of many’—part-developer, part project manager, and part business analyst.”

If the prospect of working across a number of different functions doesn’t appeal, the bank’s collegiate environment may prove a selling point. Cantor is a “flat organisation”, he says, where no one is just a manager and everyone is a hands-on technologist. This could be a something of a refreshing change to those used to working in the hierarchical structure of a large investment bank.

However, Berlent’s analogy of an IT project being similar to an ultra-marathon may disturb some: “Patience, perseverance, and the ability to adapt to changes and make corrections mid-run are crucial. It really is analogous to running a race, where you don’t control the weather or other external factors. Technology projects often present hurdles and other challenges you need to overcome.”

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