Citadel Securities’ Early Careers Technology Program Unlocks Growth, Impact and Career Paths

Learn how the program at the market maker allows early-career technologists to jumpstart their professional growth journeys and make an immediate impact.

Written by Olivia McClure
Published on Jun. 28, 2024
Citadel Securities’ Early Careers Technology Program Unlocks Growth, Impact and Career Paths
Photo: Citadel Securities
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Many skill- and leadership-development programs are geared toward tenured team members who have years of experience in their role. Citadel Securities takes an earlier approach; one that starts from the moment these individuals embark on their professional journeys. 

Recognizing that its less-tenured team members hold immense potential, the firm offers its Early Careers Technology Program to help them learn the fundamentals and propel their opportunity for impact from the start. At the onset of the program, early-career technologists get to spend several days connecting with each other as well as with leaders and managers while diving into the weeds of the firm’s technological initiatives.

“We provide a framework, language and tools for these early-career professionals to, first and foremost, establish their career vision and understand what they want to do and who they want to be at the firm, and then provide them with the resources to do that,” explained CTO Josh Woods

Through collective learning and exposure to the firm’s most important tech priorities, the program’s participants get to jumpstart their career growth while building their understanding of Citadel Securities’ goals. And according to Technology COO Jeff Maurone, a key element of this education involves tackling projects with real-world impact. 

“We’re exposing people not only to the ways we’re using technology, but the ways in which we’re bringing new technology to the realities of the market,” he said. 

Early-career technologists play a key role across Citadel Securities’ tech organization, which is why Woods wants them to have as much context and hands-on experience as possible. And as they help shape important initiatives, it’s equally important that they bolster their strategic thinking skills, given how far the firm has come — and where it’s headed. 

We have a substantial position in the market in our industry, in which we’ve built up all of these great businesses across different asset classes and geographies, and now we’re able to invest to build a sustainable advantage,” Woods said. “We’re constantly working to make sure people understand how and why we build things to get the most out of our technology investment, which will be around for years to come.”

The Early Careers Technology Program is designed to address Citadel Securities’ imperatives, giving fledgling technologists the opportunity to carve out an exciting future for themselves and the firm. 

 

 

‘Skin in the Game’

For Citadel Securities’ early-career technologists, commerciality is key to success.

“Ultimately, everything we build has to really connect to the business and be something that delivers value,” Woods said. 

Yet commerciality isn’t always innately understood. That’s why the Early Careers Technology Program gives participants direct access to leaders and the challenges they face every day, making it easier for them to see how their work fits into the bigger picture more clearly. 

In addition to initial training, the annual offsite, Accelerate, enables early-career engineers to participate in “spotlight sessions,” where they get to help unravel issues that platform leaders work on as they build new, business-altering products. 

“They get to see those challenges and understand how their colleagues solve them in ways that help them improve their decision-making and problem-solving abilities,” he said. 

While it’s important for program participants to see how higher-ups tackle challenges, it’s equally essential for them to practice handling issues on their own. 

“In doing that, they learn the ingredients of what helps them create impact here,” Maurone said. 

These collaborative learning opportunities have a profound impact on early-career technologists, enabling them to achieve feats they previously never imagined were possible. This was the case for one program participant, who shared: “I was pushed out of my comfort zone and worked on projects that I thought I didn’t have the skill set for initially but being challenged really encouraged me to learn and grow.” 

 

“I was pushed out of my comfort zone and worked on projects that I thought I didn’t have the skill set for initially but being challenged really encouraged me to learn and grow.”

 

This focus on immersive education and self-realization is grounded in one of the firm’s cultural pillars: delivering results. For Maurone, this means all team members, including those early in their career, are expected to wear a product management hat to understand business needs on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis and identify solutions that will bring these goals to fruition. 

“That’s the horizon over which our performance is realized,” Maurone said. “We’re doing that in a way that moves us closer to a different future, platform and vision.” 

By bringing its less-tenured team members into the heart of its core initiatives, Citadel Securities enables them to invest in the firm’s success, leading to significant professional evolution. 

“When you have skin in the game, that’s often when you’re in a position to learn and grow the most,” Maurone said. 

 

Key Characteristics of Program Participants

Citadel Securities’ program is only as successful as the people who participate in it. So who are these people, and what sets them apart? According to Woods, there are a few key characteristics the firm seeks out during the talent search. 

“We look for individuals with a willingness to learn, understand and grow,” he said. “We work in a very dynamic environment in which things are always changing, so we also need people who can constantly evolve.” 

 

Unlocking Future Impact

Citadel Securities’ Early Careers Technology Program is structured around the impact early-career engineers have here and now — and in the future. 

“We want them to confront problems with an understanding of the battle scars, learnings and accumulated wisdom of our most seasoned technology leaders and use that to more effectively bring solutions to market,” Woods said. 

Program alumni draw on their experience to heighten their influence as they tackle work at the firm, whether that involves bolstering its trading platform or refining its research environment. And in doing so, they simultaneously carve out a long-term growth trajectory for themselves. 

“The most impactful part to me is that the program doesn’t end when training is done,” one program participant said. “It really continues throughout the first few years of your career.” 

The Early Careers Technology Program is more than an exciting few days of connection and growth. By granting access to experts across multiple disciplines, an understanding of the firm’s technological vision and the opportunity to work on real-world projects, the program serves as a defining moment in early-career technologists’ lives; one that sets them up for a thriving professional future.

“When people graduate from this program, I want them to feel like they were stretched and achieved more than what they thought they could,” Woods said. “And with that, I want them to be ready for the next chapter.” 

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Citadel Securities.

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