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Infrastructure Stereotype Breaker

Stereotypes of the infrastructure crowd? As a back office area of the finance world, you may think that the working environment here can be a bit dull and dreary compared to the highly publicised fast paced glamour of the front office in industries like investment banking.

And what does infrastructure actually refer to? Is it just about technology? You may get the image of an expert in this field who takes the guise of some sort of apparition that only appears whenever there is a technical problem. Not everyone in the office quite knows what magic they perform, but they manage to make massively complicated systems work. Ever stopped to think about all the other processes that could go on behind the scenes in business and banking the cogs of the industry whirring? Well, let’s take a moment now…

What’s the real deal?

For starters, back office in banking and finance is by no means dull. It’s true that it isn’t the buzzy pressure-cooker environment of the front office (as with the sales and trading in investment banking for example), but hey, that’s not for everyone anyway! The hours can be much more regular and not always as long, yet the work is varied, busy, can still have tight deadlines and is just as crucial as what the front office bunch do.

After all, it’s all very well generating the revenue for a bank or business, but if there’s no way of seeing that those deals and trades go through in the correct manner, or there’s no research, statistics or analysis available to tell them where to find the best trades and investment opportunities in the first place, and companies fail to meet regulation obligations, the industry (and everything in the world that functions because of it) would grind to a halt in today’s globalised world!

All of this means that it’s not all about just the technology side of things. Actually, infrastructure in banking and business sprawls out to include other essential areas for the industry as a whole too. We’re talking areas like market information and post trade services.

Market information professionals get to use a wide variety of research and analytical skills focused on numerous industries to feed to clients via various online products or services. And post trade services are kept busy processing a huge number of trades of all sizes to meet deadlines each day.   

It’s true that you may not quite reach the dizzying heights of some of the front office mega bonuses and commission earnings, but people in infrastructure can still earn a pretty penny: more senior roles can vary between around £30,000 to £60,000 (in some cases more).

And what about the back office technology roles that form a branch of the infrastructure industry in banking and finance? Well, these jobs are actually for the crème de la crème of technology experts. It’s not really what you might expect a standard I.T. maintenance role to be like. A lot of what professionals in this field do is specific to the financial institution or bank they work for, and so not only is knowledge of a range of software, middleware, hardware, server, storage and security systems essential, but it’s also necessary to master the intricate networks and processes that apply in the bank or institution they work for – and sometimes completely modify and integrate the networks!

Mundane it is not! Infrastructure architects have to come up with strategies for how to implement updates, migration of servers and integration processes across networks that have a vast number of users, often stretching across offices across the world in a multinational company. And then there is the small task of actually carrying out these complicated tasks…

The infrastructure team is, as such, very much in unison with business and development managers in the workplace. They work closely with their departments and listen to their requirements to help make their experiences with the software as efficient as possible. They have a real presence in their departments and are very much part of the wider banking team, which makes an understanding of banking vital too! They have to be on the ball, personable and top communicators – hardly I.T. bores!

So there you have it. There’s more to infrastructure than people think!