Energy Engineering to Algorithmic Trading: Renato’s Journey

6 min read

An engineering degree can equip you with many skills and knowledge that are applicable to Algo trading. Both require to be methodical, analytical and a good planner, but also to be creative and think outside the box.

Renato is an Energy Engineer and works as an Energy Wholesale Market Analyst for the UK Energy Regulator. He trades as a hobby and has completed EPAT to apply his skills and passion for automating and standardizing processes to trading.

Renato shares his journey of completing EPAT and translating his engineering background to the world of algorithmic trading. This is his story.

Hi Renato, tell us about yourself

Hi! I’m Renato Votto, I’m Italian and I’m living in London, UK since 2016. I am an Energy Wholesale Market Analyst and I work for the UK Energy Regulator.

My role is data analyst/developer, and I am mainly involved with the development of tools for the systematic identification of market manipulations. I deal with data pipelines ingesting and manipulating transaction data from exchanges.

These tools help my team to carry out investigations and enable our organization in implementing a proactive approach to market monitoring. I trade as a hobby, and I trade mostly in the crypto space.

In my spare time and while travelling, I enjoy taking photographs with my reflex camera. I also used to play the guitar and sing in a band. Recently I’ve also produced music on my own. I would also like to start painting. I’d say I like creative activities.

How did you go from Energy Engineering to Algo Trading?

My background is in Energy Engineering. As a student and in the first couple of years in London, I worked in retail before getting my first job as audit assistant manager in renewable energy schemes at Ofgem.

I've always adopted an analytical approach at work, even in my previous roles in the retail sector. For example, I developed analysis tools and approaches to increase sales by looking at data. I've done the same in my previous job as an auditor when I developed tools and frameworks to improve processes or apply quantitative methods for risk management and data analysis/review.

I have a passion for automating and standardizing processes and I apply that to everything in my life. When I started learning about algorithmic trading I thought “this is cool!” It really represents what I like to do and how I like to do things.

I also realised I have good foundations of knowledge and skills in this domain that I could build on. That's why I decided to deep dive into algorithmic trading. Algo trading requires you to be methodical, analytical and have a plan for everything.

You need to think out of the box, which is what it has in common with engineering, either software engineering or classic engineering. That's where EPAT came into the picture. After looking around and learning about the courses and the paths available out there, I eventually decided to take part in the programme.

Learning more about machine learning and quantitative finance felt like a natural progression of my professional path and personal interests. Curiosity and passion for the financial markets underpin my desire to make a career change into trading. When I started learning about trading it came naturally to me to look for ways to automate it.

In recent years, I have studied data engineering and machine learning. Machine learning can be applied in a multitude of sectors, however, I wasn’t interested in pursuing classic applications like recommendations for marketing or robotics.

How has the pandemic impacted your life and work?

Before the pandemic, I was hungry for free time to dedicate to my studies. I used to go into the office very early in the morning and leave early to rush home and study Python and other courses until late at night every day.

The world was literally shutting down and the economy collapsing, with many people losing their jobs. The lockdowns and working from home with no commuting freed up a lot of time for me to invest in my personal development. That period has been very busy, but I enjoyed it.

So, the lockdown helped me when I started attending and studying at EPAT because it required a lot of time, effort, and attention. I honestly feel I benefitted from the pandemic restrictions. I feel lucky but also proud for not wasting time and turning this period of uncertainty to my advantage.

While I was doing the EPAT course I was also studying  C++. So my day was packed with a day job and studying. I normally woke up at 5 or 6 AM, study C++ for a couple of hours, work my full-time job and then study for EPAT until late at night.

When I look back, I feel I have a lot more skills and confidence in this subject than I had a year earlier.

How important was your learning at EPAT?

I learned about EPAT a few months before deciding to enrol. I was finishing a couple of online courses about machine learning and data engineering and thinking about what would come next.

I wanted to expand my knowledge and skills in trading and through online research on Quantitative Finance and Quantitative Trading, I came across EPAT.

After careful consideration of the curriculum, course structure and activities, I had no doubt it would be worth the investment and efforts. So, I went for it.

I love everything that requires intellectual effort and research to accomplish things that would be difficult to achieve otherwise.  I really like engineering and problem-solving. That's how I ended up pursuing algorithmic trading. It fulfils my passion for technology, problem-solving, research and automation.

Algorithmic trading is a broad field. For me, one of the most challenging things about studying for EPAT was to pick what is really essential. You need to be well-organized and be aware of your strengths, weaknesses and your learning method.

Knowledge of:

  • Statistics,
  • Math,
  • Software engineering,
  • Economics,
  • Market fundamentals,
  • Structures, and
  • How our society and markets work.

Putting together all these things and picking the most relevant ones for me to go ahead with, was one of the most challenging parts of the EPAT course for me.

Also Read: Raj's Journey: Combining Engineering and Technology with Finance

Which feature of EPAT do you like the most?

The quality of the teachers at EPAT is very high. There are experts and traders who are active in the industry and participate in algo trading as their day job. Their direct involvement with the real world of algorithmic trading is one of the highest selling points of EPAT for me.

I guess the teachers are selected by QuantInsti because of their skills and their ability to teach these subjects. I think that's the case because all of them were brilliant and available to answer all the questions that the students may have. They really care that no one is left behind during the lectures.

Dr. Chan and Dr. Sinclair are brilliant and very open to listening to the students’ opinions and ideas. Dr. Sinclair is very funny during the lectures. All the teachers are so full of energy and enthusiasm, and they are really able to transfer them to the students during the lectures! This makes each lecture a great experience.

Overall, the quality of the subjects presented and the quality of the teaching staff was the biggest selling point of EPAT. You take home the best information and learn all the fundamentals to be successful in this industry.

What message would you give to the individuals who wish to pursue algo trading?

A complex subject like algorithmic trading requires your undivided attention and you must be passionate about it to go ahead.

To start, I think that trying to get your hands dirty with some resources about algo trading is a good move. Playing with programming and time series, exploring the financial markets and just trying to understand what you may deal with every day if you decide to pursue that career. If you like it, just go for it.

Nowadays you have access to all the information you want on the internet, but it’s so easy to get lost. That’s why I think that a structured path made by experts is the best approach. Self-study makes sense if you have experience and just want to dive deeper into a particular subject.

If you are ready to invest time and effort to study and complete EPAT, I’m sure you will appreciate the amount of knowledge this course will give you once completed.

With this, I wish you the best of luck!

Thanks for your time Renato. Your ability to translate your skills to new domains and take advantage of your strengths is inspiring. We wish you the best of luck in your journey of algorithmic trading.

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. 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.

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