Case study

David O'Brien — Systems analyst

First Derivative

After graduating with the BSc in Business Information Systems (BIS) from University College Cork (UCC), David managed to land a finance role as a systems analyst, as part of the First Derivative (FD) Graduate Programme

Can you tell us about your experience on the First Derivative Graduate Programme?

The first two years are really a combination of learning about the world of finance and capital markets through hands-on training, gaining good industry experience in top tier financial services companies, and also meeting some great people along the way.

After completing the initial training in Newry, I moved to London where I've worked for nearly two years now.

Was there anything that you worried about before joining? How did that work out?

Initially, I was jointly concerned about moving away from home and starting a new job in finance, especially after coming from an IT background.

The first of these worries definitely went away within the first two weeks of moving to Newry. As 26 graduates started on the same day, with a lot of them moving for the first time as well, we were able to do this together and support each other in getting settled in.

The second part was really helped by the training courses held during the first month where employees from First Derivative would go through financial concepts and get us all up to speed on finance basics, as well as a grounding in IT for those from more of a finance background.

How did you find the transition from student to employee?

I actually found it to be fairly seamless, mainly thanks to the first couple of months of the graduate programme making this change as easy as possible. I joined the graduate programme straight from University, finishing my degree only one month prior to the start date.

As previously mentioned, when you start, you're in an intake with other graduates in the same boat as you, so you all train together and get to know the different roles. Also, because there's a strong social aspect to working at First Derivative, you quickly get to know the people in your intake and also other employees quite easily and they help you with that transition to an employee.

How would you describe your day to day duties within the Systems Analyst role?

At the moment, I'm working as a tester, helping to deliver changes for the operations team in a financial services company. We receive guidance as to where they would like to take a process in their system and then either add functionality or automate it in some way. Our team then helps to manage the process from creating this change in the system, testing it, demoing it to the end user and updating the overall system itself. The whole team also works consistently to make this overarching process as smooth as possible and ensure there are no issues for the system users.

What would you say to encourage a graduate to join First Derivative?

I would say that First Derivative offers a great graduate programme for anyone looking to work with some of the biggest financial companies around the world while also getting to work with great people. They offer a fantastic work-life balance with the potential to work in different countries and enjoy a very active social calendar while getting this great work experience and building a strong foundation for your career.

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