FD Ladies Leading the Way : Women in IT Excellence Awards

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By: Jordan Hendricks

We are delighted to once again celebrate the strong contingent of women who continue to pave the way at First Derivatives! This is something that has recently been evidenced in the impressive shortlists received in this year’s Women In IT Excellence Awards, run by  Computing.

We are delighted that 5 of our leading ladies have been shortlisted for a total of 6 awards. Check out the ladies who have been shortlisted and embody the strong female contingent who are continually contributing to our success!


Victoria Shanks, Executive Director, FD

Shortlisted for Woman of the Year

Victoria_ShanksVictoria has been an inspiration to everyone within FD and has brought significant success and change within the company, so it is no surprise that she has been shortlisted for Woman of the Year.

Victoria joined the company as Office Manager. Realising the potential of this exciting organisation and what she could bring to it, she swiftly hired her replacement and went out on site as a consultant with FD’s first clients. Since then, Victoria has carved out a path from financial engineer to Executive Director of First Derivatives. Not only is she raising 3 children at home, she is also leading the company on so many fronts. In the last 18 months alone, she has doubled the Kx Professional Services business. Victoria is a key player in driving our technology to new industries, including gaming, sensors, IoT and retail. Victoria has spent over 20 years at FD and has been a key player in its growth. The company now has over 2000 employees across products and services with global blue chip investment banks.

Along the way she has developed and grown some our most significant client accounts across the globe and managed, maintained and mentored a global team, driving key strategic initiatives and growing FD to the billion pound company it is today. Her commitment and dedication is an absolute inspiration.


Maria Murphy, Data Scientist

Shortlisted for Graduate of the Year

Maria has been shortlisted for this award because she has impressed the judging panel with her success in the early stages of her career.


Shortly after finishing her degree at Trinity College Dublin, Maria joined First Derivatives as a data scientist and was thrown into a training course in the company’s proprietary database kdb+ and its programming language, q. Due to her outstanding performance on internal projects, Maria was placed on a team to create a proof of concept in MiFID II reporting for a major investment bank. This proof of concept was successful and we won the deal, and this led to her work as a member of the delivery team for the project. Because she was part of the POC, she was the most knowledgeable on the system and played a major part in getting everyone up to speed. She was involved with most aspects of the system, including architecture design, failover strategy, reporting logic, testing and deployment. Maria emerged as a team leader during the project and was regularly providing advice and code reviews to other. She was then entrusted by management to be the first point of contact during go live for any issues that came up and to solve them. The vital projects completed for this major investment bank would not have been as successful without Maria’s achievements.


Paula Clarke, Data Scientist

Paula Clarke Head Shot

Shortlisted for Graduate of the Year

Paula has been shortlisted for Graduate of the Year because she has impressed the judging panel with her success and significant contributions to her team.

Paula joined First Derivatives (FD) after completing a degree in Media Studies and Computer Science in September 2016. After training at HQ for a short time, Paula was sent on client site to a Tier 1 investment bank to work on the Order Execution Services team. Despite her short time at FD, Paula has taken on a lot of responsibility and has proven herself several times, including being significantly ahead of schedule in the company’s two-year training programme. Paula has recently volunteered to write a technical whitepaper, one of only a few women who have offered to do so. She has been a key member of the kdb+ development team on clientsite and has inspired other young engineers as well.


Brighde Mulholland, Data Scientist

brighdeShortlisted for Rising Star Award

Brighde has been shortlisted for the Rising Star Award because she has made an exceptionally strong impact in a short time at First Derivatives.

Brighde joined FD in August 2015 after graduating with a Maths with Statistics and Operational Research degree from Queens University Belfast. She jumped straight into the kdb+ training programme, where she learned about the database and q language, which was entirely new to her. She advanced quickly and shortly became a kdb+ trainer, training graduate employees on the software, as well as being involved in proof of concepts and presenting at meetups. Most notably, Brighde now works on a client site where she leads a FinTech team that is revolutionising the investment banking industry. She is responsible for monitoring the trading of trillions of dollars per week in this role, which has also given her the opportunity to work in London, Singapore and Dublin. It is astonishing what she has accomplished so far at such a young age.


Mary Jones, Data Scientist

Shortlisted for Rising Star Award and Software Engineer of the Year

Mary has been shortlisted for these two awards because she has demonstrated excellence in software engineering and is a young employee that is making waves through the business!


Mary only joined First Derivatives (FD) about 18 months ago and is currently working in the software division of the company, known as Kx. Mary is working on client site on the implementation of surveillance tools and the integration of the kdb+ database into the client’s infrastructure. Mary started as a junior engineer on the project, but was quickly given more responsibility and starting taking on lead aspects of the project like data integrity. She has made a significant impact to the project by leading the replication of an existing system that displays huge amounts of data in a visible report and she has ensured that the replacement system has been producing results consistent with the previous. Mary has gone above and beyond these roles to take on a Machine Learning course and has also taken on several presenting roles at technical events run by FD.