My global coding career in Bournemouth
From graduate to vice president, Shree Aggarwal’s passion for coding shines at J.P. Morgan.
At 17, Shree Aggarwal knew she wanted a future in tech.
“I did really well in maths and Sanskrit – the oldest language in the world - which relies on logic,” she said. “Coding just makes sense with my logical brain.”
Shree's coding journey would take her from Delhi to Bournemouth with a university stop in between. Knowing she wanted to continue her studies in the UK, Shree attended the University of Southampton, where she earned a master's degree in software engineering. J.P. Morgan hired her as a software engineer shortly after her 2014 graduation and promoted her to vice president in 2021.
From her university years to her employment in Bournemouth, the southwest coast has proven quite fruitful for Shree, a Post Trade Technology team lead. At the firm's Bournemouth Tech Centre, the largest private sector employer in the area, Shree plays a significant role in helping J.P. Morgan execute trades in 100 markets around the globe.
“When people exchange Forex on airports or we see traders in movies making trades, the actual money exchange or settlement happens through back-office processing,” she said. “People often stereotype software engineers as introverts but my role involves talking and interacting with a lot of stakeholders all day. It helps to ensure that the build I'm doing is relevant and what operations stakeholders want.”
A typical work day starts with a team meeting. She then collaborates with teammates to complete programming or design on a technical task. But as much as she enjoys this technical side of her job, Shree said working with teammates is the most fulfilling part of her career.
“The people - that's why I stay,” she said. “I bring my full self, including my emotions, to work. I feel safe to express myself and my managers have always listened to me if I need their support. We have social gatherings and always make note of special celebrations. When working from home, we do morning standups every day on Zoom so we always see each other's faces every day. You always feel the presence of the team.”
And the atmosphere in Bournemouth makes her work enjoyable. Morning walks and evening runs on the beach are among the perks of living and working in the area, she said, and she's been able to develop strong, supportive friendships that help her feel connected with her family living far away.
The Bournemouth Tech Centre also provides a great working environment, Shree said.
“With a cafe in the building, pretty much every morning or afternoon includes a coffee catch-up,” she said. “It's a very chilled, relaxed atmosphere to work in. It's so green here, with a lovely view and beautiful gardens.”
Despite being physically disconnected from her team and the Tech Centre during the early days of the pandemic, Shree credits their support for helping her get through what she considered the most difficult year of her career. During that period, she wrote and managed 80% of the codebase for a new equities platform that went live that year. It was a huge project even without the stress of the pandemic, and Shree said she was proud of her teammates for seeing the project to completion.
Shree also takes pride in her own work and its impact on the firm's operations. J.P. Morgan handles 20% of the U.S.' Forex deals, with Shree's team in Bournemouth managing much of it. The tech she's helped produce keeps the process running 24-7 without human monitoring, and she's working toward a target of one million trades a day around the globe.
“I love coding. It is a vast field. I compare it to architecture - you can look into design, build and algorithms to make things efficient and work on a large scale,” she said. “It's very interesting being a female technologist who is a coder, it's still a bit uncommon unfortunately. But so many younger women are entering the field and I really love connecting with them as more choose software engineering careers.”