Could You Work in Quantitative Finance?
As the booming technology industry continues to grow and advance, an increasing number of quant analysts and developers are moving towards quant trading. Newer and more sophisticated algorithms are enabling developers in entrepreneurial units within banks and exchanges, to take advantage of the meritocratic industry and its attractive rewards.
You may be wondering, how can I do this too? How can I reap these rewards and build a career in such a booming market? Am I suited to this business?
To answer this, you must assess your strengths in the following areas:
- Mathematical ability: Most prospective employers will expect you to have a solid graduate-level mathematical understanding of areas such as linear functions and algebra. Taking this further with post-graduate study can only increase your chances of landing the lucrative Quant role.
- Programming skills: Quant developers most commonly work in C++ & Python and you would be expected to have a firm grasp of these. Although commercial experience is not a necessity, you would be expected to demonstrate your skill through personal projects.
- Financial knowledge: Although, unlike maths and programming ability, financial knowledge can be learned – it is not a necessity when it comes to applying for a Quant developer role. However, like all things, having strong knowledge of financial instruments such as bonds, will hugely benefit you in the competition to becoming a leading Quant developer.
A day in the life of a Quant Developer:
Ultimately, making the transition into quantitative finance is a huge move, however the financial rewards and career progression available are significant. Wondering what your average day in a Quant role might look like? Here’s what a Quant developer from Mayfair, London had to say about his ‘average day in the life…’:
“On my morning commute to central London, I like to read the Financial Times or a mathematics/programming textbook around algorithmic trading. I never read the free commuter papers as they are essentially useless as regards important financial information.
When I got to work, I’d start my day with a mixture of diagnosis and repair of abnormalities in the infrastructure that we had developed and check whether any remaining data tasks had been completed. I’d check the list of RSS feeds for any interesting financial information. I like to keep on top of both new trading ideas as well as IT/developer related tools that can help us improve the business.
I’d then have a quick meeting with our lead quant trading researcher to discuss any data or infrastructure requests. We have until around 1pm UK time to complete any research and development tasks. After 1pm the US market opens and we generally keep an eye on its progress.
I start my afternoon with various maintenance tasks and resolving failed scripts. This involves modifying some unit tests to account for the new behaviour, re-running the unit test scripts and pushing the code to the staging server and subsequently to the production environment.
Prepare for the US market to open…
New data sources – Financial pricing and fundamental data is the life-blood of a quant fund. The first part of the afternoon involves writing download scripts (in Python) to connect to a new API to pull in fundamental data in an automated fashion, via cron jobs.
Development – The latter part of the afternoon involves specification of a new automated component to eliminate manual work.
Management Meeting – Management, quant development and quant trading all get together for a weekly meeting. Any useful suggestions from my reading of papers and textbooks are brought in to the next management meeting for consideration.”
The world of finance is continually moving and more complex financial products are being created on a weekly basis. Investing in the right skills today are likely to yield even greater rewards in your future.
If you are interested in learning more about Quant developer roles or would like to have a go at applying for my two hot jobs at the moment, contact Gareth on 0117 428 0600 today. Here are our top live Quant Developer roles:
- Senior C++ Quant Developers
- Financial Services
- Central London
- Salaries – £65,000 – £90,000 + quarterly bonus
- Senior Quant Analysts
- Financial Services
- Central London
- Salaries – £85,000 – £110,000 + quarterly bonus
The day in the life script was taken from QuantStart (Michael Halls-Moore on June 11th, 2014).