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Examine the expectations and inferences underlying selected job positions. Consider timely topics in career preparation and the struggle for fulfilling employment. Analyze what could be improved in either situation. If this blog reminds you too much of work, then peruse my namesake blog for lighter fare.

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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Financial Application Developer for Custodian of State Portfolio

Found on 08-29-2013 at URL:

Investment Board, State of Wisconsin
Business Systems Specialist
Job Announcement Code(s): 13-03289
County(ies): Dane
Classification Title: / JAC: INV BOARD NON-EXEC 13-03289
Job Working Title: Business Systems Specialist
Type of Employment: Full Time (40 hrs/week)
Salary: not specified
Bargaining Unit: Unknown
Area of Competition: Open
Deadline to Apply: 9/3/2013
Deadline to apply is September 3, 2013. Resumes may be accepted after that date if the position has not been filled. Pre-employment background check is required. SWIB is an Equal Employment/Affirmative Action Employer Exam Information: Exam cannot be previewed.
SWIB is seeking a Business Systems Specialist to join its Information Technology Group. The Specialist is responsible for developing and supporting SWIB custom applications, configuring third party applications, and the integrating applications. This requires the Specialist to have a deep understanding of business areas and work closely with business staff to identify technology needs, specify/improve workflows, and manage small projects.
It also requires knowledge of programming and configuration of complex applications in addition to the ability to solve complex technical problems. The incumbent will interface with business consultants and work closely with others in the IT group to ensure all applications are being integrated into the environment, adhering to standards, and properly documented. Job Duties:
• Conduct applications development and support activities including analysis, design, programming, testing, and implementation/installation of new and existing custom-developed software applications primarily utilizing Microsoft development and infrastructure technologies
• Assist in the implementation of newly-acquired third party vendor systems and/or additional modules of software products already utilized by SWIB
• Analyze systems in order implement day-to-day operational efficiencies
• Troubleshoot application problems and system failures
• Lead small projects to fix system issues or enhance systems
• Research technological trends and develop familiarity with the latest information
• Assist other IT staff to support investment and investment support teams as needed
Special Notes: SWIB Offers:
• A comprehensive benefits package
• Educational and training opportunities
• Tuition Reimbursement
• Challenging work in a professional, team environment
The position requires U.S. work authorization and current residency in, or willingness to relocate to, the Madison, Wisconsin area. SWIB is prepared to offer relocation assistance as needed. Occasional travel may be required for this position.
Job Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: Candidate Qualifications
• A Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology or similar degree
• Experience working in an investment setting a plus
• 1 to 3 years application development and SQL experience
• Exceptional analytical skills
• Strong communication skills
• Comfort taking initiative, being resourceful, and performing within a team environment
• Superb work ethic, attention to detail, team orientation, and commitment to excellence
• Ability to multitask and thrive in a fast-paced environment
How To Apply:
Qualified individuals interested in this opportunity should send an email with attached resume, cover letter, and salary history/requirements to:
Subject Line: Business Systems Specialist, [Your last name]

Here’s another application development position -- pretty much every position entitled “business analyst” or “business systems specialist” is a glorified application developer job. The funny thing about these positions is the duty to “identify technology needs” -- it’s not like investment fundamentals change that often, so exactly how does additional technology improve a workflow when it adds another application to be maintained?

At least in the private sector, such identification usually boils down to mimicking the latest technology trends adopted by competitors, but with just enough code modified so that you don’t violate licensing terms with a direct knockoff. Sure enough, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) seeks to reinvent the wheel for one or more software programs which do something or another with financial data; there is about as much federal regulation of financial records keeping as there is for medical records keeping.

I’m guessing the business requirements have to do with grabbing the latest municipal bond rates and other financial market information related to pensions hopefully avoiding the toxic collateralized debt obligation market rampant with underwater mortgages and then adjusting investment returns in real time based on such data. Immediate data on market changes doesn’t really help long-term-only investors who maybe check their portfolios once a year because they understand short-term fluctuations can motivate panicked disinvestment.

However, SWIB and other institutional investors have enough liquidity to partake in massive day trades through which a small percentage change in value equates to thousands of dollars across all shares of a stock. Changes to municipal credit ratings also motivate bond dumping with the goal to free cash for other holdings. Anyone from SWIB is welcome to clarify in the comment section!

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