Technology Buzz 2015 CodeIT Suisse
CodeIT Suisse is Credit Suisse Hong Kong's signature campus recruiting event, held annually to showcase to university students what technology means to a top tier bank. The event is open to second and third year students looking to investigate career options that can put their technology based degrees into practice.
The most recent event was held over a weekend in October, from Friday night to Sunday afternoon beginning with an introduction and networking session on Friday. Saturday was when the fun started! The morning had a very brief introduction to the challenge that participants would be tackling over the next 24 hours. Step 1 - hit a single REST endpoint on our mock 'CodeIT Suisse Exchange'.
The CodeIT Suisse Team was deliberately vague about the challenge. What lay ahead was a series of tasks that would take teams through a discovery of other endpoints and functionality on the exchange, simulating financial market transactions. This also allowed each team to register accounts and begin trading. There were a total of 10 tasks that the participants had to complete to understand the overall functionality of the CodeIT Suisse exchange. Once complete, they could begin trading.
The ultimate goal - build a trading system by Sunday afternoon to make the most money in 1 hour. After they had completed the 10 challenges, how the teams went about this was completely free-flow. Some teams looked at utilising the full availability of financial products available to them, while others considered just one product.
The technology that was demonstrated was also wide ranging! Code was built in Python, Ruby, and NodeJS (just to name a few), and some teams created GUIs, while others used command line interfaces.
Exactly 24 hours after the challenge began teams had to lock down and submit their code, to get their systems ready for the 1 hour trading simulation. All teams were competing against each other and a scoreboard was available to show where teams were placed. It was a tense hour! The simulation showcased each team's understanding of the exchange, the financial products, and the trading platform that was available to them. As a spectator, you could see how different teams utilised different trading strategies based on what they had discovered from the exchange in the last 24 hours, through their own testing and development.
Ultimately, all teams made a profit! What everyone built and demonstrated in a period of 24 hours was impressive, but what was more remarkable were some of the comments that came from the participants:
"We are trying to use an arbitrage strategy, but the latency of the server is proving to be an issue"
"During our testing, the exchange went down, what do we do now?"
"We found a news feed on the exchange, but how accurate is it? Can it be trusted?"
All of these are real world issues that our analysts, developers, and infrastructure engineers face on a regular basis, and they have to find solutions to resolve or minimise the impact that they have.
All in all, it was a long but enjoyable weekend where both Credit Suisse and Hong Kong students showcased what problems banks face, and how the next generation of technologists can tackle them.