Dominic Connor

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Dominic Connor used to boss IT pros and quants around in banks, and now recruits people for less crappy jobs in the City.
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How to go from the IT dept to being a rogue trader

How to be a rogue trader As a City headhunter I’m repeatedly asked to explain how lone traders find themselves flushing billions of dollars down the toilet. Rogue traders can pop up just about anywhere, and so I’ll share this curriculum for you to follow, which is not specific to any bank: this is just the way it works. Being a …
Dominic Connor, 20 Sep 2011
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No wonder CompSci grads are unemployed

Opinion Recently a director at a huge bank asked me “Do British students learn algorithms?” At first I thought he was joking, but even though he was paying three times what the average new grad gets paid, he felt despair. Because of similar experiences I was surprised to read that only 17 per cent of CompSci grads from last year haven’ …
Dominic Connor, 01 Nov 2010
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Should you lose your religion on your CV?

Comment Your CV should tell prospective employers who you are - but should that include details of your religious faith? I headhunt science grads for banks, and recently received a CV with the applicant's religion right at the top. We’ve always told people not to do this for purely pragmatic reasons. Whatever your religion, there are …
Dominic Connor, 30 Nov 2009
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Bear squeeze blues: How to destroy a bank

Comment With the banks apparently unable to cope with the markets anymore, the poor dears, short selling has been banned to protect them. HBOS is being taken over cheaply, even compared to what a mortgage bank is worth in this rotten market. Allegedly, "spivs" conducted a whispering campaign, and used short selling to make money out of …
Dominic Connor, 29 Sep 2008
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Furse should not resign, she should be sacked

Comment The farce of the London Stock Exchange not only crashing but failing to get its systems up and running again should surprise no one. Well, no one except LSE boss Clara Furse, who demonstrates little understanding that technology is crucial to her business. I’ve worked for members of the London Stock Exchange and everyone …
Dominic Connor, 13 Sep 2008
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Microsoft launches student Java and LAMP challenge

University computer science departments are rapidly becoming Microsoft-free zones, as Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP (LAMP) combine with Java to become the de-facto standard environment for students of programming. Microsoft knows from history that this will be fatal in the long term, hence its decision to extend free availability …
Dominic Connor, 21 Feb 2008
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How to lose $7.2bn with just a few Basic skills

Special report As I swept through Kent and Calais on a Eurostar last week, the financial markets again threw some entertainment my way in the shape of the SocGen debacle. My last Reg piece explained that the credit crunch was partly fuelled by VBA and that is what appears to have happened again. However, Eurostar trains don't have Wi-Fi, and …
Dominic Connor, 31 Jan 2008
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Viva VBA - alas

In the early 1990s when Visual Basic (VB) first infiltrated Excel to become Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), it helped push Microsoft's then-fledgling spreadsheet so far ahead of others that most people today are not aware many competitors even existed. Lotus Development - since consumed by IBM - turned down a chance to …
Dominic Connor, 21 Jan 2008
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Original thinking in a derivatives market

Analysis At some point in the latter decades of the 20th century, someone sat down and thought: wouldn't it be nice if all the money in the world was controlled by scientists rather than accountants and nice chaps from Eton? Now, as we march headlong into the 21st century, full of sub-prime fallout, to a decent approximation, what we're …
Dominic Connor, 07 Sep 2007
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Exceptional C++ and More Exceptional C++

Book review This pair of books brings together a variety of small but annoying puzzles mediated by Herb Sutter through the news:comp.lang.c++.moderated newsgroup. However, any irritation is in a good cause. Each puzzle illustrates an important point in C++ that many of us still get wrong. An early example is exception safe programming, …
Dominic Connor, 26 Oct 2006
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C++ Futures: Lambda Functions

Column The use of “lambda” originates from functional programming and lambda calculus, where a lambda abstraction defines an unnamed function. Lambda functions or Lambdas in C++ are one of the more interesting things to look forward to in the next C++ standard; giving us the ability to treat functions as first class objects at last; …
Dominic Connor, 22 Sep 2006
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Financial instrument pricing using C++

Book review C++ is the most used language in that most lucrative of fields: financial engineering. Yet most of the people who use it for derivatives have no formal training in programming, and often use C++ as little more than C, or even as a mutant form of Fortran. The results are not always pretty. Duffy tries to show how modern OO and …
Dominic Connor, 28 Jul 2006
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Variables Won't Constants Aren't:

I first read the lament to the capricity of programming in the title of this piece in Creative Computing, years before C was devised. But it’s still true that there is no way, not even one, of being absolutely sure that a value you set in C or C++ won’t change. This is despite the fact that in the 30 years following the …
Dominic Connor, 26 Jul 2006
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Excel scientific and engineering cookbook

Book review Most people have a schizophrenic attitude to Excel, seeing it as “trivial” because they can use it with almost no training, but too difficult to use on more meaty problems. By way of response, David Bourg delivers a set of recipes that cook up some increasingly non trivial problems. The cookbook style does however mean that …
Dominic Connor, 20 Jul 2006
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Dining out on the ID card fiasco

When they make the film of the great ID card fiasco, it may well open with a dinner at the National Liberal Club, where the Great and Good of the IT industry (and your Register correspondent) warn of impending doom. The Real Time Club has invited Professor Ian Angell of the London School of Economics to dinner to explain just …
Dominic Connor, 19 May 2006
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C++ divided by CLI

At the ACCU conference recently, one wag in the audience referred to Microsoft’s C++/CLI as “C++ divided by CLI”, which neatly summed up the prevailing mood. The 10,000 classes in .NET can’t work with ISO C++, and you may ask why anyone in their right mind would try to bring out a platform in this day and age that couldn’t talk …
Dominic Connor, 05 May 2006
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Déjà Vista

Comment As Vista slowly slips further into the mists of the future, I sometimes wonder if anything has really changed since I was on the losing side of the IBM-Microsoft OS/2 war. Why do we now hear of huge re-writes in a product that's supposed to be almost ready? As a former O/S (Operating System) bug hunter, it sounds rather …
Dominic Connor, 06 Apr 2006
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Interviewing C++ developers with extreme prejudice

These days I do a bit of pimping (a.k.a. "quant headhunting" in polite company - a "quant" is a quantitative analyst doing high-value numerical analysis) for expensive people at banks. It may scare or delight you, but a lot of the financial markets are run off C++ with Excel VBA. The first pass across the prospective intake is …
Dominic Connor, 17 Mar 2006