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Career switch to Algorithmic trading

Hi
I am 30 with 10 years experience in IT (Networking but no programming). I am looking to commit some time to teach myself skills required for algo trading. Ultimately, I want to end up as a trader in an algo trading firm.
The way I see it, I have two paths:
1) Go back to university to do MFE (I have BEng honors with 2:2 and maths is very week as I finished it 8 years ago so it will be hard for me to get into a top programme) and then apply for graduate roles
2) Self study all the relevant skills, i.e. Python/C++, learn about trading strategies, market micro structure, practice lots of back testing etc. and build a profitable track record with my own money along with CQF and then apply for trader roles.

So the question is, Would a quant firm prefer someone from top school with no practical experience or someone with trading track record and almost no academic background ?
Do I stand a realistic chance with following a non-traditional path of self study ?
 
IP networks, Cisco routers, switches, firewalls etc.
I'm assuming configuration and network design, not really programming as routing algorithems, packet sniffing, filtering and the sorts.

Your skills don't translate very well to algo trading. IMHO, you shouldn't leave your day job. If you want to learn algo trading, do it but don't spend money in an education for it.

Also, if you have all the certifications needed in networking, you are probably making good coin. The switch is going to royally SUCK from this point of view. I don't want to dash your dreams but you need to be a realist too.
 
Yes its true I make decent money currently and I also realize my pay could take a hit for a couple of years or so but I am looking at it from a long term point of view in terms of where I would like to see myself in 5-10 years.
The thing is, I am bored with IT, my learning is capped since I am no more interested and earning is capped as this is obviously how it works in IT.
I am definitely going this way as I thought about this for a long time. And I am not going to just quit my job and start studying straight away(which is another problem with MFE as I think there is no part time MFE here in UK). Now the question really is, whats the best way to go about this transition. Would a self study plan with CQF and some track record of retail trading would give me a realistic chance of being hired by a quant firm as a trader ?
 
Yes its true I make decent money currently and I also realize my pay could take a hit for a couple of years or so but I am looking at it from a long term point of view in terms of where I would like to see myself in 5-10 years.
The thing is, I am bored with IT, my learning is capped since I am no more interested and earning is capped as this is obviously how it works in IT.
I am definitely going this way as I thought about this for a long time. And I am not going to just quit my job and start studying straight away(which is another problem with MFE as I think there is no part time MFE here in UK). Now the question really is, whats the best way to go about this transition. Would a self study plan with CQF and some track record of retail trading would give me a realistic chance of being hired by a quant firm as a trader ?
it might be longer than couple of years. You have something very specific in mind, so I will recommend to start learning to code and spend countless of hours sitting in front of a computer coding. If you have a life, that is going to suffer too. Keep that in mind. So partner (wife/husband/gf/bf) and/or kids are going to take a back seat. Make that very clear.
 
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