Of course a lot of you would love to work as HFT Developers, Quants, Front Office IT, Product Managers, and the like. After all, these jobs are the most desirable, most challenging, and you’ll be making bank… and of course, that makes them the hardest jobs to get. Half the battle is knowing the competition, who are you up against?
Let’s start with the Quants, because I’ve got way too many “Quant-a-bees” walking in the door every week. So what makes a real Quant? Real Quants have a PhD– either in Physics, Chemistry, Math, Statistics, Finance, or Economics and related disciplines. At the very least, Quants will have a Masters in Financial Engineering. These days most Quants can code, really well. They almost always have Matlab, VBA, Excel and some C++, some more advanced statistical types will have R, S, etc Most importantly, to stand out from the crowd you must have legit, verifiable recent results. Back testing a strategy is not of interest to most firms.
Alright, next are the High Frequency Developers & Front Office Developers. Most candidates come from a development background heavy in C++ on Unix/Linux. They also have had systems level experience (think telecom). The more ‘pure’ HFT shops use Java so that skill is of use as well. The issue here is switching from a middle or back office developer role to a front office developer. The FO requires additional business/domain knowledge not typically gained in other areas. (Guess the whole party in the back business in the front deal applies all over.) For example, competitive candidates know how to code as well as the back office developers do in C++ but also understand the nuances of the Equities electronic trading business or have worked with Quants & Traders before and have coded their strats into production.
Lastly, let’s talk about the Product Manager/Algo Execution & Sales people. These candidates will almost always have deep understanding of the electronic trading space. Product candidates come from assorted starting points (traders, Project managers, development, sales, etc) but all have the likeability communicate a vision and ‘roadmap’ for their respective product. They liaise between sales, marketing, trading and technology to deliver the best quality product to the marketplace. Algo Execution & Sales roles are similar in that you got to have great communication skills and knowledge of the quant trading space.
Did we not get to your position? No worries. Leave a comment below saying what position you’d like to hear about and we’ll get back to you next week!