"It's nice to see immediate results of my work: What I make is used a few meters away at the trading desk. We build it up together."
After spending five years in Norwich (England), Jop van Rooij (39) now lives with his wife and their two kids in Utrecht. Since 2014, Jop is working for Northpool. First from an outside company, working on a project for Northpool. He joined Northpool as a Senior Sofware Developer in 2021.
What can you tell us about your work as a Software Developer?
My focus is on the development of our own trading applications. We have a framework that connects to different exchanges to retrieve market data and allow for order management. Traders can setup different routines that will automatically place the correct orders in the market and adjust them if needed. To stay ahead of the market, this needs to be constantly adapted and optimized. We mostly work with supervised routines, but we are also working towards fully automated trading. I also work together with the data engineering team to store market data which is used to analyze the market and develop trading strategies.
As it comes to developing fully automated trading algorithms, the challenge is that with less user supervision, it becomes more important to build in safety measures to prevent unexpected behavior from the trade routines. At the same time, you don’t want the algorithm to miss opportunities or have a longer reaction time.
What does your typical day at Northpool looks like?
I start with assessing which tasks I want to work on that day. We also have a daily stand-up meeting with the team to check where everyone is working on and if there are any bottlenecks that need to be addressed. We all have our specialties and are always ready to help each other out. The development of the trading software was only in-sourced last year, and I still do most of the development work myself.
During the day I work on improving our trading applications: maintenance, fixing issues and implementing new features. I have regular contact with the product owners to prioritize work and to make sure new features are implemented as intended.
There is a lot of cooperation between the different departments so over time you get to know most of your colleagues. There are also presentations where people present what they have been working on so you can learn more about their work. And of course, Northpool organizes social activities where you get to know each other better.
What are you most proud off in your work?
In the main trading application: I developed 95% of it myself. The software can now receive tens of thousands of messages from the different market exchange per minute and process them in real time. On top of that it also needs to quickly determine which orders needs to be adjusted and send order management messages to the exchanges.
What do you like most about working at Northpool?
It is nice that I see immediate results of my work: What I make is used a few meters away at the trading desk. There is a short feedback loop between me and the users of the trading software. We can quickly make improvements or fix issues when updates don’t work as expected. We build it up together.
Next to this, having two young kids means I am not always able to work from 9 to 5. At Northpool I have flexibility in my working hours, so if I miss a few hours during the day, I can always catch up in the evening or later in the week. I also partially work from home which saves me some traveling time.
What goals do you want to achieve at Northpool?
We want to stay on top of our game and that means that we need to keep improving. For me the biggest challenge is to maintain the current dynamic development process for a trading application while at the same time safeguarding the quality of our software in a growing development team.
Northpool is company that is always moving forward. Energy trading is a dynamic business, and we can’t afford long development cycles. Once we see opportunities in the market we have to react quickly and for that you need an efficient and motivated team. Northpool recognizes this and does not hesitate to show appreciation towards its employees.