Developer in HFT Firm

What advice would you give if one wants to be a developer in a HFT firm ?

Stereotypically, get a good degree (ie first class) that demonstrates maths and programming knowledge, from a university with a good reputation, + experience.

Anecdotally, have some expertise in some very specific area of programming that gives some speed advantage. ie of developers I’ve vaguely known that I can remember having anything to to with trading firms: one had an interview where he was asked to whiteboard various types of garbage collector from scratch and then assess them for perf. One got interested in APL, learned the language well, and did some talks at meetups on it and subsequently got hired by a trading firm simply because of that. One had altered the VM of a programming language to run without an operating system, then got hired and stopped developing it (which was annoying, it’s impossible to get the VM working now there’s no updates).

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