To many gaming developers, a move to “finance” is a trade of creativity and work-life balance for financial gain. You may earn more than the games industry, but you’ll get worked much harder.
“Before I came to the quantitative financial technology industry, I’d been told it was where you go to trade your soul for money. [You’re] never getting home before 10pm, constantly berated because you’re just a small cog in a big machine, having to work with decades of legacy gunk that makes software engineering dull” explains Chris*, an ex-game developer.
So why are some of the worlds’ best software engineers from companies such as Google, Microsoft and Rare transitioning to modern quantitative financial research and technology companies like G-Research?
Simple. You get all the raw technical challenges of a top technology firm, coupled with unrivalled investment in technology to power innovation. You work with incredibly talented individuals, mostly never past 6pm, with all the monetary perks of working for a top financial quantitative technology business.
“Once I arrived [at G-Research] I realised it was all nonsense” says Chris. “There was a lot more respect for work life balance than I had ever seen in the games industry. The engineers I work with are incredible, and are always striving to do better and bring in the latest tech they think can help make us even better.”
Of course, the perks of the gaming industry are undeniable. Many have an exuberant work space, filled with dedicated workers on the forefront of constantly changing creative projects, receiving gratifying feedback from a well ingrained community of gamers.
But with the positives come the negatives, and they aren’t too dissimilar to the misconceptions of finance. The working hours are sometimes crazy – “you get worked to the bone during ‘crunch’” – the financial compensation often much lower than other industries, and the gaming ‘bubble’ can be hard to escape.
Making a transition to a modern day quantitative financial technology business can mean you lose the whole-hearted creativity element found in gaming. However, what’s lost in creativity is gained in diversity of skill-set. “I’ve met people who are super keen on type theory, functional programming, software architecture and machine learning” notes Chris. “It’s really helped me branch out and improve.” For many ex game developers, this change of skill set is a welcomed improvement. Not to mention the large amount of compensation you receive for selling your soul….