Nicholas Venuti of Morgan Stanley's Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence turned his passion for data science into a career as a bank technologist.
In college, Nicholas Venuti spent years researching ways to extract oil from coffee grounds to make biodiesel fuel. After he graduated and began working at an environmental engineering consultancy, he discovered his true passion: data science.
At the heart of his enthusiasm was machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that allows computers to "learn" by recognizing patterns and making inferences based on enormous sets of data.
Today, as a machine-learning engineer and data scientist in Morgan Stanley's AI Center of Excellence (CoE), Venuti is figuring out how to harness the raw power of data and turn it into something useful for traders, financial advisors, and investment bankers.
"In investment banking, the problems are enormously complex, and they're changing all the time," says Venuti, who was the first data scientist to join the AI CoE in 2016. "I always find the work both fun and mentally challenging."
The AI CoE, with operations in Montreal, New York, and London, is an internal body that helps enable and scale the adoption of AI and machine learning across Morgan Stanley by providing tools, consulting, and research services to business units and their IT teams.
As part of the group, Venuti works with every corner of Morgan Stanley's operations, from the financial advisors who work with Wealth Management clients to the traders who deal in complex securities.
The complexity and fast-moving pace of data science attracted Venuti to the field. "It's like trying to solve a big puzzle," he says. "You're constantly looking for relationships and tendencies that help explain the problem you're trying to solve."
A Technologist Charts a Career Path to a Bank
A native of western New York, Venuti studied biomolecular chemical engineering as an undergraduate at North Carolina State University, then worked at an environmental engineering firm, where he built systems that analyzed data on oil and natural-gas projects.
"During that time, I developed a knack for solving our company's data problems and building systems to produce insights from these different data sources," he says. "I found myself wanting to perform more robust analyses and, in turn, started taking online courses to add to my skill set." Those classes deepened his interest in data science and prompted his decision to attend graduate school.
At the University of Virginia, where he earned a master's degree in data science, he worked on a team that helped the school's Religious Studies department synthesize the meaning of words in religious texts.
Upon graduation, he was hired by Morgan Stanley to work on AI, a field at the forefront of how companies around the world are using technology. "I was shocked that right out of school I could be part of such a high-profile group within the company," Venuti says.
Wall Street is a natural place for a data scientist, Venuti says, because investment banks have such robust streams of trading data, as well as a flood of external information coming from news, social media, analyst reports, regulatory disclosures and elsewhere.
Financial markets are as dynamic and competitive as the tech industry, Venuti says. "Every day the environment is changing, and as such, the systems we have to build have to be able to adapt to those changes," he said. "We are competing with other firms all trying to do the same thing, so whenever, you solve a problem, you need to move on to the next one to make sure you stay ahead of the game."
Opportunities to Work on Meaningful Projects
One of Venuti's favorite projects was creating a way for traders of complex mortgage securities to determine the risk of those products at the press of a button.
The AI CoE and their partner strategists within the Structured Products Group used natural-language-processing software to comb through the documents related to the securities and flag them for positive and negative comments. The system they built allows traders to quickly review what all the documents are saying about a specific security. The time-saver was an instant hit with traders.
Finding elegant ways to deploy technology is just one goal of Venuti and his colleagues. Another one is demystifying the work they do so that everyone understands just how much it can enhance their roles. "Some people hear the term 'artificial intelligence' and assume that existing systems will be completely replaced or that their expertise will be supplanted," Venuti says. "Rather, the opposite is true: While AI can help inform the decision-making process, we ultimately need the human touch to make the wisest and most sophisticated choices."
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of workers have turned to remote work. Before the pandemic in 2019, 22% of employers offered at least some remote work. Now in 2022, that percentage nearly doubled to 40%. The shift to remote work has become beneficial for me and many of my friends who are recent college grads starting their careers. It’s allowed us to dictate our own time and save money from commuting, spend more time with loved ones at home, and have the flexibility to travel and build connections from anywhere. Remote working has also changed how people network for jobs. We have more options now.
Since remote networking is so new, it can be challenging to understand how to do it effectively. Read on to learn my top tips for networking for a remote job.
1. Connect with your high school or college.
The schools you went to want to see you succeed! Connect with old professors, classmates, or alumni on social platforms like PowerToFly or LinkedIn. You can find connections through sports teams, clubs, or topics of interest that will help you build stronger relationships. Don’t be afraid to ask them for advice, mentorship, or even introductions.
2. Join a class!
Have you ever had a hobby that you never had the chance to pursue? Coding? Running? Painting? It’s never too late to learn something new. Plus, spending time doing what you love will introduce you to other people who love the same thing. Not only will this help expand your social circle, it can also help your career! Once you feel comfortable, talk to your classmates about your work, and ask them about theirs. The perk of classes like these is that you will build relationships with people from all different career backgrounds which will help you determine your career path, especially if you are looking for a mid-career pivot.
3. Register for the Early Career Summit.
My friends and I are very excited to join PowerToFly’s Early Career Summit this fall to meet the inspiring founders and CEOs of incredibly impactful companies. This is a great opportunity to get useful tips and learn about different perspectives, professions, and topics that you may be interested in.
4. Attend a virtual job fair and connect with leaders who inspire you.
Job fairs are great for meeting people who can be helpful because everyone attending is there to network! Job fairs at PowerToFly are a great place to meet hiring managers and recruiters from our sponsoring companies. If you come prepared with a resume it is an opportunity to make a great first impression with a company. After the virtual job fair, remember to connect with the people who stuck out to you and introduce yourself on PowerToFly or LinkedIn. Make sure to tell the recruiter who you are, and highlight what stood out to you about their talk.
5. Offer to help.
People really value your help (when it‘s needed). If you know someone in your network looking to hire a web designer and you know a great place to find one, don’t be afraid to make the connection! If you see a job opening that would be great for someone in your network, let them know! Helping people in this way will help build your trust and credibility.
Remote networking has its differences from in-person networking, but it has never been easier to have access to social platforms that can help create connections. It will take some creativity and hard work, but once you have the appropriate mindset the options are endless.
We all have our favorite websites– the ones we frequent, bookmark, and recommend to others. You might even enjoy some website features so much that you’ve found yourself wondering why they aren’t more popular. Or maybe you’ve experienced times where you were frustrated with a website and wished you could add features or even design your own!
If you’ve ever found yourself intrigued at the prospect of designing and developing your own websites, then a career as a web developer might be just for you!
As a web developer you would be responsible for coding, designing, optimizing, and maintaining websites. Today, there are over 1.7 billion websites in the world and, in turn, the demand for web developers is on the rise. In order to figure out what kind of web development work best suits you let’s start with an introduction to the three main roles in web development that you can choose from.
The Three Types of Web Development Jobs
Front-End Web Development: The Creative Side
In addition to programming skills, front-end developers need to be detail oriented, creative, willing to keep up with the latest trends in web development, cyber security conscious, and geared toward user-friendly designs. The median salary for a front-end developer can reach well into the $90,000 to $100,000 range.
Back-End Web Development: The Logical Counterpart
While a house can be beautifully decorated, it’s incomplete without a solid foundation and efficient infrastructure. Similarly, a well-designed website depends on logical and functional code to power the features of that website. Back-end web development is code-heavy and focused on the specifics of how a website works. If you enjoy the analytical challenge of creating the behind-the-scenes code that powers a website, then back-end development is for you.
Full-Stack Web Development: A Little Bit of Everything
A full-stack developer is essentially the Jack (or Jill)-of-all-trades in web development. Full-stack developers need to be knowledgeable about both front-end and back-end roles. This does not necessarily imply that you would need to be an expert in both roles, but you should fully understand the different applications and synergies they each imply. In order to work in this position, you will need to know the programming languages used by front-end and back-end developers. In addition to these languages, full-stack developers also specialize in databases, storage, HTTP, REST, and web architecture.
Full-stack developers are often required to act as liaisons between front-end and back-end developers. Full-stack developers need to be both problem solvers and great communicators. The end goal for a full-stack developer is to ensure that the user’s experience is seamless, both on the front-end and on the back-end. In return, you can expect to earn a median salary of $100,000 – $115,000 a year for this role.
Taking the Next Step
Web development is both in-demand and lucrative! All three roles described above contribute to specific aspects of web development and the scope of each one can be customized to the industries and positions you feel best suit you. Regardless of which role you choose, all of them need a foundation in programming.
To gain the programming skills needed in each role, you can enroll in courses or learn independently. Coding bootcamps are a great way to boost your skillset quickly and efficiently.
Click here for some of our highly rated programming bootcamp options! Make sure to check out the discounts available to PowerToFly members.
💎 Are CallRail's engineering teams the right fit for you? Watch the video to the end to find out!
📼 Engineering teams at CallRail encourage collaboration, communication, and empathy. Ayana Reddick, Senior Software Engineer at CallRail, shares what they are looking for in candidates and tells you why you’ll thrive there.
📼Engineering teams want candidates who have a growth mindset, love to learn, and are really good at communication. They also value team members who are excited about solving problems and working collaboratively. If you think you have what it takes, don't hesitate to apply.
📼At CallRail, engineering teams use Ruby on Rails for their backend, Angular on their frontend, and PostgreSQL for persistent data. They also use Jira for creating and tracking tickets, GitHub for their version control, and AWS for many cloud tools. Get familiar with these resources if you want to join them!
Engineering Teams And Diversity - Company’s Culture
CallRail seeks to hire from underrepresented groups. They pride themselves in selecting from a pool of very diverse candidates. They value the work that people do over their resumes. They encourage people to take their authentic selves to work. And they strive to create a supportive and welcoming environment. For this, they have Employee Resource Groups, that give voice to, provide safe spaces for, and educate the company at large. Some of their ERGs include the Rainbow Coalition, Black and Brown, Women Circle, and more.
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining CallRail? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Ayana Reddick
If you are interested in a career at CallRail, you can connect with Ayana on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About CallRail
CallRail is here to bring complete visibility to the marketers who rely on quality inbound leads to measure success. Their customers live in a results-driven world, and giving them a clear view of their digital marketing efforts is the priority for CallRail. They see the opportunities in surfacing and connecting data from calls, forms, and beyond—helping their customers get to better outcomes.
“In my early twenties, I wasn’t the best at saving money. So, when I got the job at Nike and found out a financial coach was offered to me — for free! — I thought, ‘It’s time to be an adult. I should use this service to help me learn how to buy stock, tell me what I’m doing right with my money and where I can improve.’”
That’s Ashlee Bobb, Nike Media and Influencer Relations Manager, on the free, unlimited access to financial coaching offered to every U.S. Nike employee through EY Navigate™. EY coaches are trained on Nike’s benefits and programs, so Ashlee was able to work with her coach on a budget and savings plan utilizing Nike’s 401k match and Employee Stock Purchase Plan – all in one 45-minute session. She left the meeting feeling confident about what her next paycheck would look like and how her money would work for her.
“The EY coaches are really willing to come on the journey with you,” Bobb says, adding that hers was willing to work with the fact that, hey, she’s not going to give up take out, but still wants to save for the future. “The cool thing is I can see how this financial guidance could help me down the road when I decide to get married, buy a house, have a kid. Every Nike employee should take advantage.”Sound like the kind of company you want to be a part of? Check out our open roles on jobs.nike.com