Commonly Asked Questions

General

What does 'Akuna' mean?

Akuna Capital derives its name from Akuna Bay in Australia, where our CEO Andrew spent many weekends cycling and forming the concepts that would guide Akuna Capital’s future. The name Akuna comes from the Aboriginal word meaning “flowing water”; a word that exists in no other language. We also like to draw comparisons to the fact that we provide “liquidity” in the markets and that we are a firm where ideas “flow” freely from every member of the team.

What's it like to work at Akuna?

At Akuna, we offer boundless opportunities and foster a collaborative workplace with the entrepreneurial spirit that has fueled our rapid growth to date. Akuna’s employees enjoy a generous work-life balance and an extensive array of company-sponsored events and internal clubs.

Click here to read more about our Culture.

How many people work for Akuna Capital?

Akuna currently has more than 150 employees worldwide, including our Chicago headquarters and additional offices in Boston and Shanghai.

Why Chicago?

Founded in 2011, Akuna Capital opened its doors in the heart of the derivatives industry and the options capital of the world – Chicago. Known as the home of proprietary trading, Chicago’s FinTech scene is now also rapidly emerging. Chicago is a stunning international city which boasts an extremely competitive cost of living, convenient public transportation and sandy lake beaches. We love it here! In 2016, we built a brand new office for our Chicago Headquarters. Our modern, collaborative workplace has sweeping views of the lakefront and city skyline, break-out areas, writable walls and enough room to continue to grow.

I am moving to a new city, what do you do in terms of social activities to help me make friends and discover my new home?

We believe it is important to know your co-workers outside of the office, so our employees enjoy an extensive array of company-sponsored events, including our annual sponsored weekend trip, Friday happy hours, and outdoor summer events in and around downtown Chicago.

I know Akuna does options market making, what does that mean?

Market Making means that we quote prices at which we are willing to both buy and sell options. This means we are providing liquidity to the market and making markets more efficient. To do this across thousands of instruments, we need to continuously develop our trading systems to react to information from the markets and to effectively manage risk.

What do you trade & what exchanges are you connected to?

Akuna trades options on both futures and ETFs. Underlyings include commodities, currencies and indices. We trade on a number of US exchanges including CME, CFE, CBOE, ISE & BATS.

Are you a high frequency trading firm?

HFT has many definitions. Akuna is latency-sensitive and looks to utilize the fastest FPGA, software, hardware and connectivity available to execute trades. It is not a pure HFT futures or equities business – options and their complexity allow for many more strategies than pure latency arbitrage.

What distinguishes Akuna Capital from other similar firms?

Akuna is one of the very few options market makers to successfully enter the market in the last five years. Our competitors are mature businesses that have access to markets worldwide. We are still building, accessing new markets, trading new products, and creating new strategies, giving you the opportunity to build things from the ground up.

What is the career progression like for Juniors at Akuna?

It is typical to lose the Junior title after about 2 years and then gain the Senior title 3 years after that. However if your performance is great, the timing can be shorter. You can progress year to year, so even in a non-promotion year, you can still see material growth in responsibility as well as base and bonus compensation.

Click here to see all Careers at Akuna

Recruiting

How should I apply?

If you are passionate about FinTech innovation and committed to making a meaningful impact at Akuna, there are many different ways to apply for a role. Seeing that you are already on our website, please go to the “Careers” section of the site and click on “Campus” to apply for the job you are interested in.

Click here for current Campus roles

I have applied in the past, can I apply again?

Yes, please do and we can reconsider your application.

Click here to see all current open roles

When will you be at my university, and how can I pre-register for an event or career fair?

This year, Akuna is embarking on it’s biggest campus recruitment push of all time, visiting over 20 campuses nationwide!

Click here to view our 2016 Campus Career Fair Schedule and pre-register for campus events and career fairs.

When can I apply for an internship?

Internship roles will generally be posted online at the beginning of each calendar year and we will participate in intern recruiting events throughout the winter and spring.

Does you accept international students/sponsor visas?

If you are an International student currently attending a university full time in the US or abroad, your application will be given full consideration. Akuna offers sponsorship to future employees on a case by case basis. We encourage US graduates to apply for post-completion OPT and/or STEM OPT 90 days prior to graduation to avoid delaying employment.

How many Juniors are you hiring this year?

In order to maintain our high selection standards, we go through over 10,000 applications per year to build our full time and intern classes. As we are still growing and show no signs of slowing down, we are looking to hire as many top tier candidates as we can find.

I heard that candidates are asked to complete an online test and/or recorded interview, why do you do this?

At Akuna we know that you are more than the contents of your resume. We use various tools (depending on the role) to assess our candidates’ skills and qualifications. For example, trading candidates complete math and personality assessments, whereas Quant and Dev candidates complete a coding challenge. We also ocassionally use web interviews, which may seem strange at first, but it gives us the chance to get to know you better and understand your thought process. All of these tools allow us to be as efficient as possible in moving candidates through the process.

Development

What's it like to work on the Development team at Akuna, and who will I be working with?

Our Development team delivers fast, reliable, scalable, and high performing code within a collaborative environment. As a member of the development team, you will work along-side senior developers with years of experience in the industry. You will design and implement solutions that meet the needs of a competitive trading environment. You will receive great exposure to the overall business and contribute to the advancement of Akuna’s financial technology.

What is a typical day like as a Developer?

A typical day for our Developers: 8:00am: arrive, have a 5-10 minute morning stand-up meeting with your team to discuss how your project is progressing; 8:15am-5:00pm: design or code solutions and interact with Traders to discuss requirements for upcoming projects.

What is your training program for Juniors/Interns?

Junior Developers are typically embedded in a small team, where you’ll begin with a small-scale project to help you get comfortable and familiarize yourself with our systems. Typically projects last for 1-4 weeks. As you build up experience and demonstrate your ability, we gradually increase the complexity of the projects and give you greater responsibility. You’ll have an experienced Developer overseeing your work and on hand for any questions you may have, as well as a separate mentor who is available to help out with any part of the job where you feel like you need advice.

What computer language(s) should I know for the Junior/Intern role?

Akuna currently recruits for three different Development roles; Web (Python and JavaScript), Hardware (Verilog) and Software (C++ and Python).

What is the development process like for Developers at Akuna?

The development timelines at Akuna are relatively short, the collaboration is high, and the feedback in instantaneous. We’re in a competitive industry, and we’re a 5-year old company competing with big firms who have been around for decades. As a result we’re playing catch-up, and we’re keen to get our system up to speed as quickly as possible. Collaboration is key to efficiently developing the solutions the company needs, and it’s fundamental to how our Development process works. Our feedback is primarily data driven – we can see if the solution you put in place is doing what it needs to, and in a performant way. However, the nature of our business allows us to quickly identify whether a release is doing what it should, and how successful it is proving to be.

What are some advantages to not having customers, and how does that affect what I do as a Developer?

Not having customers means that we don’t have to design solutions for every single kind of user, we just worry about what Akuna needs. We also don’t need to put our technology through months and months of testing before hitting the market – we have rigorous procedures to ensure that our code is safe to release, but we can be much quicker to release than a Big Tech firm with millions of customers. The best part of not having customers, however, is that the feedback is instant, and comes directly from people near you – a Trader can walk over and congratulate you on your work the same day it was released, and that’s extremely satisfying.

What can I read to prepare for the job/industry?

Many of our Devs have read and strongly recommend “Code Complete” by Steve McConnell, “The Pragmatic Programmer” by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas, “Principles of Compiler Design” by Alfred V. Aho and Jeffrey D. Ullman, “The C++ Programming Language” by Bjarne Stroustrup, “C++ In Depth” by Jon Skeet, and “Effective Modern C++” by Scott Meyers.

Quantitative

What's it like to work on the Quant team at Akuna, and who will I be working with?

Our PhD dominated teams of Quants are self-motivated and interested in finding the best solution to every problem. Working across every aspect of Akuna’s system, you will connect with both traders and developers to innovate on data analysis, modeling, and strategies. As the firm’s architects of automation and machine learning, you will push the limits of exploration while greatly increasing the productivity of our trading team. From hypothesis to research and prototyping you are given the opportunity to challenge yourself, learn from experts and expand Akuna’s horizons.

What is a typical day like as a Quant?

A typical day for our Quants: 7:30-8:00am: arrive, check over systems and tools you’re responsible for to make sure they are working as expected; 9:00-9:15am: group meeting to review goals for the day and issues the team had yesterday; 9:15am-5:00pm: work on your project and interact with Traders and Developers to better understand the problem.

What is your training program for Juniors/Interns?

Initial training involves learning options theory in a classroom-style setting from Senior Traders. You will also be paired with a mentor who will help introduce you to our libraries, applications, and infrastructure. We have an open learning environment where questions for more senior members of the team are encouraged.

What computer language(s) should I know for the Junior/Intern role?

All of Akuna’s Quant teams work in Python, our Automation team also works in C++, and our Data Analysis team in Chicago is interested in candidates with some C++ knowledge, but this is not required.

What is the development process like for Quants at Akuna?

The development timelines at Akuna are relatively short, the collaboration is high, and the feedback in instantaneous. On the Quant team, we try to keep the timeframe from idea, to analysis, to implementation short. The quick turnaround allows us to test out new ideas quickly, and find out which ones work best. We also systematically test our code and follow development best practices to ensure accuracy, relaibility, and robustness of our code.

What can I read to prepare for the job/industry?

Many of our Quants have read and strongly recommend “Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship” by Robert C. Martin, “Statistics Done Wrong: The Woefully Complete Guide” by Alex Reinhart, and “Python for Data Analysis: Data Wrangling with Pandas, NumPy, and Ipython” by Wes McKinney.

Trading

What makes a successful Trader?

We look for quick thinking, competitive self-starters with strong communication and numerical skills who are looking to build their own opportunities.

What is a typical day like as a Trader?

A typical day for our Traders: 6:45am: arrive, check overnight news, review positions and discuss risks as a team; 8:30am-3:00pm: trade; 3:00-5:00pm: review trading day, work on strategy analysis and projects, and attend training sessions.

What is your training program for Juniors/Interns? When do I get to trade?

No prior options or trading knowledge is necessary as Junior Traders undertake a nine month rotation beginning with a 12-week group training program. Led by some of our top Senior Traders, the program includes option theory, systems training, trading strategy, risk management, data analysis, quant modeling and hands-on trading simulations. Junior Traders then graduate into trading rotations with real money in real time and a one-on-one mentorship with a Senior Trader.

Do I need any certifications to be a Junior Trader/Intern at Akuna?

There are no certifications required to be considered for a Junior/Intern role at Akuna. Once you begin working as a full-time Junior Trader, you will be required to take and pass the Series 57 exam.

What kinds of projects have Trading Interns worked on, and how much of this work is useful/implemented by the desk?

The work of Interns on trading desks is extremely useful as they are normally tasked with answering high priority questions which traders simply don’t have the time to research. Examples include: analyzing patterns in volatility, trading volumes, correlations; estimating the efficiency of a new trading strategy, and optimizing parameters of existing strategies.

What role does programming knowledge play in the full time or internship roles?

Programming knowledge is not required, but along with statistics and higher level math, programming is helpful for project work.

What can I read to prepare for the job/industry?

Many of our Traders have read and strongly recommend “Options Volatility and Pricing” by Sheldon Natenberg.Although not strictly related to trading, many of our Traders also enjoyed “Fooled by Randomness” by Nassim Taleb and “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman.

Ready to join a team and make a difference?
Check out our careers

Hiring Process by Department

We are hard at work behind the scenes to ensure that all campus applications receive a response as soon as possible. On average you can expect to hear back within a couple days after submitting an application.

Development
  • Step 1

    After reviewing your resume to see if you could be a good fit, we’ll send you an online coding challenge. The test will be timed and you will be required to take the test in either Python or C++ , depending on what role you are applying to.

  • Step 2

    If your test scores meet our requirements, you will be invited to have a technical phone interview with one of our developers.

  • Step 3

    Our final round interviews take place in one of our offices and typically last 2 to 4 hours.

Quantitative
  • Step 1

    After reviewing your resume to see if you could be a good fit, we’ll send you an online coding challenge. The test will be timed and you will be required to take the test in either Python or C++ , depending on what role you are applying to.

  • Step 2

    If your test scores meet our requirements, you will be invited to have a technical phone interview with one of our quant developers.

  • Step 3

    Our final round interviews take place in one of our offices and typically last 2 to 4 hours.

Trading
  • Step 1

    After reviewing your resume to see if you could be a good fit, we’ll send you two online tests to complete – the first is a 22-minute mental math test, and the second is a personality test.

  • Step 2

    If your test scores meet our requirements, you will be invited to complete a very short recorded video interview. This gives us a chance to get you know you better and understand your thought process.

  • Step 3

    After passing the video interview, you will have a technical phone interview with one of our traders.

  • Step 4

    Our final round interviews take place in one of our offices and typically last 2 to 4 hours.