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How are sell-side quant trading jobs in 2021?

Speaking more specifically about derivative trader roles, what are the outcomes for people who begin their careers in one of these seats? Do the sell side trading roles provide you will enough transferrable knowledged to become a buy side trader down the road? Is compensation higher on the sell side for a trader fresh out of school, or a researcher fresh out of school?
 
Unless you are specifically interested in exotics trading, then I'd recommend applying at one of the big market making / prop. trading companies. They tend to have a much more entrepreneurial company culture, more structured trader onboarding, you get more responsibility early on and high performers typically do better there financially. Many of these roles are quite analysis-heavy and the lines between quant traders vs. quant researchers are quite blurry.
 
Unless you are specifically interested in exotics trading, then I'd recommend applying at one of the big market making / prop. trading companies. They tend to have a much more entrepreneurial company culture, more structured trader onboarding, you get more responsibility early on and high performers typically do better there financially. Many of these roles are quite analysis-heavy and the lines between quant traders vs. quant researchers are quite blurry.
I would have thought the banks would have better new-trader onboarding due to their size. So basically should choose even a mid tier prop shop over sell side trading, both for learning and comp?
 
I would have thought the banks would have better new-trader onboarding due to their size. So basically should choose even a mid tier prop shop over sell side trading, both for learning and comp?
Top trading firms typically have a very well structured and focused onboarding program for traders. They often have multiple intakes a year and (at least pre-Covid) run global traineeships. The size of their cohorts together with the higher homogeneity of roles make it feasible for them to run these programs. This is as opposed to most IBs who have more generic analyst training and where the on-desk training can be a bit hit-or-miss. Based on company culture I strongly prefer trading firms over IBs and I've worked in both.
 
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