From Engineering to Algorithmic Trading - Sanjot’s ambitious pursuit

6 min read

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Knowledge is a powerful tool, and it is only when you apply it will you truly understand the true power it holds. Similarly, it is necessary to keep growing and moving forward, both personally and professionally. Upskilling yourself to learn is one such medium.

An engineer might wonder and might be often filled with doubts and countless questions when it comes to making a career in Algorithmic Trading. But those who have been driven by their ambition have made a name for themselves. One of these exceptional few is Sanjot.

We connected with EPAT Alumni, Sanjot, for a casual conversation, to learn about his story, and what unravelled was a cascade of interesting facts and stories that help us understand what it takes to become an Algo Trader.

Here’s our conversation with Sanjot:

Hi Sanjot, could you tell us about yourself?

Hi everyone, I’m Sanjot Raibagkar. Trading is my passion, I really love it and I have been doing it for 10 years. Presently I’m the Executive Director at a reputed international Financial Services firm coming from two decades of working experience across software, investment and trading. I’m also the co-founder of Moksh Tech and Investment.

About my education, I have completed my Mechanical Engineering from Amravati University and I also hold a Masters Diploma from CDAC, Mumbai. I am an avid learner mainly on the technical side. I also like playing Cricket and have played on behalf of my college and previously for my company.

Your job profile is quite impressive. How would you narrate your professional journey?

My professional career began by joining the tech industry in Mumbai. I started working from the Tech perspective at Netdecisions mainly from the development perspective. Moving on to Syntel and then to Cognizant, I worked for 11 years. During that period, I worked for multiple clients - banks, investment banks, wealth management clients. I would develop multiple projects for them from Client brokerage to algorithmic trading to backoffice and mid-office operations, etc.

It was during this stint that I got introduced to algorithmic Trading.

What has your experience of Trading been like?

My “trading career” launched in 2007. Besides my working career, I was parallelly trading using the charting technique. I was also very interested in trading stocks. Slowly, I started trading using the charts and steadily I gained good success from the technique. I was looking at Algorithmic Trading from the Low-Frequency Trading perspective only.

I don’t intend to practise High-Frequency Trading as of now. Presently, I trade only in Options (Bank Nifty and Nifty), which is my forte. I work only on Bank Nifty and Nifty and no other. Generally, I don’t trade on the stocks, I work only in the indexes from where I get my major understanding in this context.

For the analysis, I use my Data Science and Software background for analysing options and stocks. I reconfirm that analysis using charts and then manually check the trades.

As of now, I don’t surrender the trades to the system completely. Right now my Algorithmic Trading style is only for analysis, not for ordering.

You've gained a lot of skills over the years, and still, continue to do so. How are you applying these skills in Algo Trading?

On Sept. 2017, I started my own Algorithmic Trading company - Moksh Tech and Investment. Moksh is not a registered company yet. A company just between friends. We were managing the money of some close ones. We started off by using Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and Artificial Intelligence to build our own software for Stocks and mainly for the Options.

I have also developed a software inculcating my knowledge of Algo trading, Data science and software development which got noticed by some of the largest investment banks, globally. Currently, I am working with one of the best investment firms which help investors to make the right investment decisions.

During Moksh, I was teaching Data Science to corporates including media companies, and multiple batches for Data Science in finance as well.

According to you, how important is the role of technology in Algorithmic Trading?

Without technology, most of the world might not move without it. Being a person of technology myself, I feel that just knowledge of the domain is not going to work, knowledge of the technology would be critical as well. But independently, neither will help you to survive. You’ll need a combination of both.

Algo Trading is now taking over the globe and it is hailed as the next phase of Trading. What piqued your interest in Algorithmic Trading?

After Cognizant, I joined Deutsche bank. That is when I started searching for a good institute for learning Algo Trading, since I already had a programming background and a finance background, and I was also interested in Finance.

Since I was trading using charting and I was spending a lot of time in analysis, and having a technology background, I realized that, since we already had a lot of data, it is possible that there could be countless patterns that could be interpreted from that data. I thought if only I could utilize the computer somehow to build a pattern to understand behind the scenes, using the data.

Manually trading was also prone to some errors that could spell a disaster and rather than spending a lot of time or being susceptible to committing a human mistake, it would be better to avoid them altogether.

When I started learning more about Data Science, I realised that rather than spending too much time on analysis, manually, it is better to look into Algorithmic Trading especially from the automation perspective. That was the first time I started to think of Algorithmic Trading.

Upon research, I realised that I would need to learn about Algorithmic Trading, starting from the background and thus began my search for an institute that could help me out. Enter EPAT. And this is when I came across QuantInsti and joined EPAT. The project took up more time because of my work and active job.

What would you say were the landmarks in your Algo Trading journey?

I would list them down as:

  • Language and technology: I always use Python since a lot of Financial Libraries are easily available; a lot of articles and guidance is also available in abundance on the internet.
  • Learning Data Science - I learnt about the importance of data. Humongous data is available in the financial market, you just need to interpret and analyse it.
  • Learning - I am proud and delighted to have learnt from a reputed Quant institute like QuantInsti.

What would you tell people who want to go for Algorithmic Trading?

This is a completely new world. Not much of your previous experience matters in this present world. One would need to upskill to grow.

The key to Algorithmic Trading, or even for trading, in general, is - Patience.

It always takes a huge amount of time. It is not a silver bullet that would immediately make an impact - you write a code and it would come up.

It is not necessary that your code would always work. A lot of experimentation is needed and it is not necessary that this experimentation is always going to work. This is where AI and ML could be helpful because it could also learn from the market.

Understanding data, cleaning it, learning from it, getting knowledge requires a huge amount of time, and most of the time it might be a failure. Patience here is the ONLY key to be successful.

Who inspires or motivates you to keep going?

The following is what always keeps me going:

  • From the technology perspective, one of my bosses from Cognizant (Mr Aan S Chauhan) was the one, who has always been a huge inspiration for me to keep learning continuously and he has made a lot of difference in my life.
  • Secondly, all the big traders who are utilising their knowledge for trading, their stories and journeys - names like Nicholas Taleb.
  • Quotes by Jesse Livermore about the trading perspective - more from the emotional trading background kind of stuff.

Sanjot, we understand you’re a busy man, and we are really thankful to you for taking out time to interact with us and share your story - that helped us understand the REAL you! We hope your story would be a source of inspiration to others as well. We wish you the best of luck for all your endeavours.

A successful journey is never easy. It takes time and like Sanjot said, Patience. You can learn about how he has grown as an individual, as a trader and overall as a person. Keep learning about Algorithmic trading and keep growing. If you require any guidance, reach out to us and we would be glad to equip you with the necessary skill-set and knowledge required to excel in this field. Let us be your guide. Connect with us here.

Disclaimer: In order to assist individuals who are considering pursuing a career in algorithmic and quantitative trading, this case study has been collated based on the personal experiences of a student or alumni from QuantInsti’s EPAT® programme. Case studies 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.