BA to Algorithmic Trading: The journey of Siddharth

5 min read

Siddharth is an Arts graduate who has completed his EPAT Certification from QuantInsti. He is an Executive Director for Third Group and also an Investment Director at deVere Group in Dubai.

Siddharth looks forward to learning, working and growing with his fellow EPAT colleagues and other Quant traders from around the world.

This is his story.

Hi Siddharth, tell us about yourself!

Hello! My name is Siddharth Bhatia. I am from Mumbai, India and am currently settled in Dubai. I moved to Dubai almost 11 years ago and I have my own small trading firm here.

I have been working in the trading industry and doing investments in the UAE for almost the entire time I've been here.

I don’t have particular interests and hobbies but I have always been interested in the markets and have been learning how they work. I love figuring stuff out in terms of different types of investment strategies.

Gaining knowledge on the entire investment space is something that really excites and challenges me.

How did your transition happen from BA to Algorithmic Trading?

I completed my BA because it was practically essential in order to get a job in the UAE. After this, I did CFA in 2012. I was really interested in it because I wanted to expand my employability and knowledge.

I spent some time in the industry and actually saw how algorithmic trading worked, the introduction and involvement of algorithms and coding in the trading industry. I saw how it offered jobs and created job opportunities. It was geared towards coding and electronic trading which, to be honest, I didn't know.

That's the reason why I decided to do the EPAT because I needed to update my skills. I needed to be relevant and didn’t want to be a dinosaur. Since I had no prior knowledge, or I didn't know to code, this became a new challenge for me.

Having no knowledge of either Algo Trading or Programming, was it difficult for you to learn Algo Trading?

CFA taught me about the financial side of things. That's my job and I've been working in the financial industry. Luckily, I had the experience of how the financial industry works, and I've seen a couple of crashes in the market.

I got into algo trading because I saw it as a necessity. I had to be up to date with the way the industry is going. So that's why I decided to do EPAT.

There's lots of coding. And we learn Python and other coding material. I actually did not know anything about that side of trading, and I'll be honest, it was new for me. But I was prepared to take a deep dive because I was ready to learn. So I took that as a challenge.

I didn't do EPAT looking for a job. For me, I wanted to update my skills and apply them in my own trading business. I wanted to develop some algorithms and apply them.

Because of EPAT, I know exactly what I want and what I can do. Before EPAT, I didn't even know that these sorts of technologies were possible. And more than that, I didn't know how to use them.

Like, for example, before EPAT, I thought that algorithmic trading and building your own software was extremely expensive and there was no way a small trader like me could do it. But EPAT showed me that it is possible and that there are these programming languages that can be used.

You have to give that time, that's the only way you will learn good practice. You have put your hours into learning and achieving your goals. It's not easy, but it’s worth the effort.

The key takeaway would be that algorithmic trading is now accessible to pretty much everyone.

For someone who knows finance, who is in the industry, it's great because it kind of gives you an almost complete view of how the industry works. Once you understand the coding side of it, it's an easy game.

And if you want to apply some of your own strategies, you'll kind of get an idea of whether this is possible as well as how much it's going to cost you to deploy stuff for that.

Which feature of EPAT did you like the most?

I had no prior knowledge about coding or even Python. EPAT had these extra tutorial lectures in the middle of the week just to help with the coding side of the lectures which helped me a lot and was very useful.

It was a great experience. EPAT introduces you to new topics that cover lots of aspects of algorithmic trading.

The placements are definitely very interesting. It's for someone who's actually looking for a job. I can see about 15 emails in just the past few months, all legit ones.

If I was looking for a job I would have definitely bagged it, and so I'm appreciative of these emails. I'm actually going to be contacting the placement team in the next few months once my bots go live and I'm expanding a business.

I'm grateful to the faculty here, they are amazing. And you could tell that these guys know what they are teaching and are professional traders and know their stuff. I was appreciative of the professionality and support.

The weekend lectures were good and the lectures were kind of easy to fit and schedule. The assignments given were difficult to do for someone like me and I would often get most of them wrong.

I was one of the guys who would keep e-mailing the support team. But I never got a complaint back and was thankful for the support team. They always ensured that all my queries and doubts were addressed in a very rapid and efficient manner by the experts and the faculty.

What advice would you give to the aspiring Quants out there?

Having the quant knowledge is great. You have to get the market knowledge. You have this tremendous experience of the markets that you've gained from.

Make a demo account or a paper trading account with almost any broker. You immediately have about 5-6 trading ideas. Then code it up and put it in, even if it's not complete and watch it day by day, because you need to experience the P&L on a day-by-day basis.

You need to see the drawdowns. You can do all the courses in the world, learn all the coding, or have 100 CFAs certifications. But you need to know how to deal with a 10% drawdown which only comes with experience.

I think being a Quant is a superpower!

The market right now is very interesting. It is a great time to learn. So, if you have some general strategies, apply them and do some trading. If you have a smaller account, get involved in the markets because you need that experience of dealing with the P&L that no one can teach you. The sooner you start, the better.

Thank you so much, Siddharth, for sharing your remarkable journey into algorithmic trading. We wish you the best in accomplishing your goals and for your trading firm. Congratulations on your EPAT certification and we hope to achieve all that you desire in your life and your career!

If you too desire to equip yourself with lifelong skills which will always help you in upgrading your trading strategies. With topics such as Statistics & Econometrics, Financial Computing & Technology, Machine Learning, this algo trading course ensures that you are proficient in every skill required to excel in the field of trading. Check out EPAT now!

Disclaimer: In order to assist individuals who are considering pursuing a career in algorithmic and quantitative trading, this success story has been collated based on the personal experiences of a student or alumni from QuantInsti’s EPAT programme. Success stories are for illustrative purposes only and are not meant to be used for investment purposes. The results achieved post completion of the EPAT programme may not be uniform for all individuals.

Download EPAT Brochure