Starting with no programming background, Melvin Soon is now an Algo Trader!

4 min read

Can you pursue Algo Trading with no programming background and are working in a unique domain like the Petroleum Industry?

Of course, you can!

Melvin Soon, hailing from Singapore, is a chemical engineer with over 5 years of experience as a Chemical Engineer at an Oil and Gas MNC. With a lot of hard work, dedication and a thriving passion for learning, Melvin began his journey intending to build his career in this domain of algo trading.

This is his story.

Melvin Soon pic

My name is Melvin Soon. I am a Chemical Engineer at an Oil and Gas MNC.

Despite having an education in Chemical engineering, I was always interested in trading in the financial markets and was curious about algorithmic trading. In my current professional capacity as an engineer, I refer to various charts and graphs and plot and analyze information to extract insights.

There is a plethora of data which can help one make good decisions. Traders have always impressed me with the way they utilize data and algorithms, and make decisions based on logic and facts. I joined the EPAT course at QuantInsti in 2022 to be able to algo trade by myself.

I had no knowledge of Python or coding in the beginning. Although I knew about algorithmic trading and coding briefly, I started looking for courses to get the right knowledge from the right place. It was then that I came across QuantInsti and I signed up for EPAT.

I challenged myself to excel in Python for trading, and to do that, I followed a set of strategies which helped me learn this new language.

Rewrite the Codes

Firstly, I made sure to write all the codes covered in the lectures by myself after the class was over. I understood the different functions of the different codes and I continued practising and rewriting them.

I also used Python notebook software which was introduced during the programming. I would document the sessions on Python and code on my laptop or ipad.

Applying the Technique of Active Recall

I needed a dedicated technique for revising my notes and codes. This is when I used this technique called active recall. The technique trains your brain to keep procuring information as soon as you learn a concept and try your best to recall it from memory.

It helps you engage with the information more proactively and consolidate information for long-term memory. While travelling, I’ll utilise my time and type all the codes on my laptop that I remembered and then I’d compare my notes with the actual codes.

The “Help” Function

The Python notebook section has a “Help” function. I ensured to learn how to use that function to my advantage to get more codes from different libraries. Once I knew the purpose of the codes, I understood the questions better and focused on memorizing them.

Applying What I Learnt

I would use the practical application of the codes during the lectures and write them down for the instrument that I am trading. For example, if I am trading an ETF, I use the codes I learned during the sessions.

I would apply it to my daily life in the stock market and the charts I am looking at. From there I got very curious and motivated to see the outcome. I observed how much I learnt from the course and how efficiently I could analyze the data.

I used real-life examples that interest me and apply what I learn from the course and the concepts introduced. And at the end of the course, I was very familiar with coding and I am definitely not afraid of it anymore. After the course, I am still very interested in Python.

I dedicated one day a week to studying. I made sure that I learnt key concepts in the lecture to maximize my learning.

Your honest feedback on EPAT!

Placement and Alumni Team

The EPAT feature that I really like is the multitude of partnerships and placement opportunities. The placement team helps prepare for the interviews, and prepare your resume to acquire a job in the quantitative and algorithmic trading industry.

The Alumni support and the opportunity to interact with the global EPAT alumni community of like-minded people and practitioners after completion of EPAT is incredible.

I utilised the IBF sponsorship which was also a big financial support. I had the opportunity to connect with industry experts who shared their knowledge on different aspects.

Faculty and Support

I’m really grateful to the faculty members and the support team at EPAT. I consolidated all the information from the lectures and jotted down my questions and mailed them to the EPAT support team. They connected me with the faculty themselves who are industry experts and answered all my queries.

My mentors and supervisors during the EPAT course were very helpful and supportive. Lastly, I would like to thank my friends for helping me with the course whenever I felt stuck since they had a background in software engineering.

My family was very supportive of this which enabled me to pursue my passion and journey. I am very grateful for that. When I received the EPAT Certificate of Excellence, I celebrated it with my entire family.

Your message to all the aspiring Algo Traders out there!

Firstly, do not give up even if you feel inadequate or are unsure of making the right move. Secondly, it is important to connect with someone who knows about the industry and mentors you through your journey.

Don't be afraid and always be willing to learn from mentors who challenge you. In this way, you get to learn more things. And one day will get extremely good at it. Keep learning to keep improving yourself and never assume that you already know everything.

Thank you for taking your time and sharing great insights about your experience and learning process. We surely hope that you put your best foot forward and keep developing your skills and knowledge base. All the best for the future.

You too can equip yourself with lifelong skills which will always help you in upgrading your trading strategies and offer practical experience. With topics such as Statistics & Econometrics, Financial Computing & Technology, and Machine Learning, this algo trading course ensures that you are proficient in every skill required to excel in the world of trading. Enroll in 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