There was a time when you chose a career in your teens and it was supposed to stick with you for a lifetime. The constant change in technology and introduction of new career fields not only demands us to be knowledgeable about the new skill set requirements but also opens multiple new opportunities for us.
Globalization has proved to be a boon for developing nations, providing a platform for MNCs to enter new markets and lay the structure for modern day infrastructure and offering new opportunities, this move was welcomed by the masses of the developing nations.
The introduction of algorithmic trading led to the rise of a new breed of traders who are not shy when it comes to adopting new means of technology to make automated trading possible for them.
Now, to answer the question if you can be a quant in your 40s and succeed in a new domain so late in your career, the answer is a big YES. You can definitely be a quant in your 40s provided you are loaded with the zeal for automated trading with the required set of skill sets.
Since a simple one word answer to this question isn’t sufficient enough to understand how this transition can happen, we decided to share the detailed journey of a 40-year-old Quant in the form of an interview.
He started by joining a dedicated programme in Algorithmic trading offered by QuantInsti, “Executive Programme in Algorithmic Trading (EPAT)”. EPAT is designed for professionals looking to grow in the field or planning to start their careers in Algorithmic and Quantitative trading. Hence, it was a good fit for our candidate here. Read on to know more about this interesting change in his career path.
Can you tell us something about yourself?
I have done my B.Sc. in Computer Science and have a total experience of 22+ years with most of the experience coming from database management and research. Besides other roles in my career, I was working for a leading investment bank as a database manager.
I have seen the industry move from the manual way of trading where a trader with good typing speed was preferred to the new age algo trading practice where statistical and analytical skills help you to get an edge in trading. Statistics and analytics always fascinated me and trading has been my hobby. Research on the application of statistics and analytics in trading led me to the discovery of algo trading. Though I have always been keen to specialize in Algo trading but the idea of shifting to a completely different field at this point in my career made me skeptical.
Since you mentioned there was some hesitation then why did you choose to get into Algorithmic Trading?
I did a lot of research on the scope of becoming a quant since shifting my career at this stage was a perilous decision for me but then I saw how good the veterans of quantitative trading were doing.
As luck would have it I came across QuantInsti®, they provide remote as well as classroom style lectures on weekends which did not interrupt with my full-time job as a database manager. I read about the curriculum and the faculty which included experts from trading and quant domain, this gave me confidence that I will be learning from authors who have written some best-selling books on quant trading and thought leaders who I have been following for quite some time.
How was your learning experience in EPATTM?
The first thing I asked the support team at QuantInsti® post enrolment for their EPATTM programme was, can I be a quant in my 40s?
To my astonishment this was not something new for them, they have apparently groomed and got placed numerous professionals including some of them with a stable career and even older than me. I was informed that people with all kinds of background signup for the EPAT course.
Initially I was stuck with many questions but eventually, I picked up and started learning every aspect that is required to be a Quant. I started working on projects based on building my own strategies which really helped to get the kick-start.
How did this change your trading practice?
I was limited to discretionary trading practice and was missing out on the new and better means of trading which gives you a better understanding of the market. The cons of manual trading like the influence of emotions, strategies based on mere analyzing of charts and dependency on experience rather than the logic to make a trading based decision increased the margin of error in the everyday trading.
I am confident now and can make complete use of my potential to design strategies that can analyze the market and get the best results for me. I am now more depended on the methods of backtesting, making market predictions, analyzing market volatility and much more.
Trading is not a gamble for me anymore but has started to make more sense on how the market moves and how to follow the best practices.
How did it feel when you got placed and started working as a Quant?
It was like a dream come true!
Shortly after getting EPATTM certified by QuantinstiTM I started exploring the job opportunities shared by the placement team of QuantInsti® and I have to say it was a great experience interviewing for some of the top quant firms in the country. I got selected for one within few weeks post completing my course.
The dilemma of getting into quant trading after 22+ years of being a database expert kept me from taking the final decision but eventually, I gave in and I am glad today that I took the right decision of applying for a quant job.
What message do you have for the aspiring quants out there?
I would like to advise them to go for it. Age and background really don't matter, what matters is the drive, initiative and competence. It is an industry where performers are well rewarded.
It is important to make an assessment of your current skill set and identify how these skills can act as a catalyst in your quant career. One should remember that a job in an Algorithmic trading firm requires applicants to have good mathematical skills, and programming skills to execute the designed strategies.
Want to hear from this 40-year-old quant?
Shoutout to other aspiring Quants out there!
Do share your comments and experiences as an Algo trader/Quant. We would love to hear about your inspiring career journey!
If you want to learn various aspects of Algorithmic trading then check out the Executive Programme in Algorithmic Trading (EPAT™). The course covers training modules like Statistics & Econometrics, Financial Computing & Technology, and Algorithmic & Quantitative Trading. EPAT™ equips you with the required skill sets to be a successful trader. Enroll now!