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In His Own Words: Q&A with Bloomberg Cofounder Thomas Secunda

Thomas Secunda, one of the cofounders of Bloomberg LP, shares his thoughts on higher education, rapid technology development, financial services transparency and more.

Hiring & Training

Editor's Note: Bloomberg has been hiring at a phenomenal rate since the start of the financial crisis. When the rest of Wall Street was cutting back, Bloomberg began hiring ... by the thousands, literally. Most recently, Bloomberg announced it was adding 1,600 positions in New York alone and creating 500 more technology jobs companywide.

Where do you find new employees? Does Bloomberg work with universities and colleges?

Secunda: We hire a significant amount of staff straight out of colleges. We have an office in London, so we hire people from European colleges that want to live in London. But most of our R&D staff is here in New York and in Princeton (NJ), so we're mostly hiring from American colleges, and we find great candidates. These candidates come from all around the world.

So it's not a question of the universities. It's a question of who wants to go into this profession. A senior executive in India told me that the best technologists in the world can be found in America but there are just too few of them. He added that in India the concept of becoming an engineer or a technologist is much more prized. You would hope that after the great success of the Bill Gates' of the world that you'd find more young people thinking of this as being as rewarding and as important as becoming a doctor or a lawyer.

Bloomberg's Training Program

Mostly, we hire straight out of college, and put them through pretty extensive training programs both on the sales side and on the programming side, so that they can learn the way to do things here.

We also have a program for computer scientists who have a lot of computer experience. We do teach them the way we program C++, which is a little different, but more importantly we teach them our tools. We do another training class where the first couple weeks are basic programming, and the last weeks are similar to training classes for the people that come in with a strong programming background.

We hire computer professionals from the industry, computer science majors and engineers and we will hire economics majors or math majors or music majors, as long as they have spent some time behind a computer screen and think that that might be their career.

Creative Energy

I started my life as a programmer and so I think there's creative energy that's required (to build a product). I think what we do at Bloomberg is as creative as what artists and poets do. We build new and interesting things. If you feel that way, then you could have some great fun working here. Over the last two years, we took a view during the downturn that it was a great opportunity for us to run some risk and to give up some growth -- P&L growth, not product growth -- to bring in new people. So we added a lot of technologists, making it our biggest growth years ever. We added technologists from the Street and a lot of people out of college. We have about 12,000 employees including a research and development staff of about 3,000 people. And it seems like we're always hiring because there are opportunities here. Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio

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