How Quantnet's C++ certificates got me a job on Wall Street

Pavlos Sakoglou

Well-Known Member
C++ Student
Dear prospective students,

I recently signed a contract with a top Investment Bank for an Associate C++ Developer position in the Securities Technology Division in New York. Three years ago I had very little programming and math knowledge, and non-relevant work experience. I was just another business admin graduate with ambition to make it in Wall Street one day. Sounds familiar?

Here's what happened:

I came across the C++ Programming certificate in one of my searches for MFE programs in New York, and decided to enroll.

The intro certificate covers a lot of useful stuff, like implementing important data structures such as vectors (dynamic arrays) and stacks (adaptor containers), Object-Oriented hierarchies for polymorphic behavior, and of course several algorithms for file processing, string manipulations, and more. Additionally, it introduces templates and generic programming concepts, libraries such as STL and Boost, and hands-on applications, like Monte Carlo option pricing systems and standard financial derivatives pricing. This is already equivalent with two semesters of C++ at an average U.S. university, in my experience.

It took me two months to complete the certificate with distinction. A few months later, I had the first opportunity for employment by a big Investment Bank that you definitely have heard of. An in-house recruiter reached out to me and asked my availability to talk. He asked me questions about the course, and was mostly interested about the Object-Oriented and Generic programming part. Although I didn't get the job at this point, I was already getting the attention of the big players.

About a year later I took the advanced C++11/14 certificate. It was one of the most challenging courses I ever took, but the results were amazing. Once I listed it on my LinkedIn profile, making sure to have specified parts of the syllabus, I was literally having 2-3 recruiters every week reaching out and suggesting software engineering jobs for me. I wasn't even trying to get a job at that stage.

I gained deep intuition about all the concepts needed to land a job throughout the advanced course: multi-threading, advanced memory management, complexity analysis, how to look up documentation of new libraries, debugging, software design patterns and testing, optimizations and efficiency, edgy modern C++ techniques, systems engineering, and more.

And guess what. When I started going to interviews all my interviewers were asking the exact same things that were exactly taught throughout the certificate: smart pointers, design patterms (Singleton, Strategy, etc.) STL algorithms, multi-threading and thread-safe techniques, and more.

The C++ certificates here are an excellent opportunity to become a master-level and employable C++ programmer from scratch. Looking back, that's exactly the path I needed to take. :)

I hope you decide to enroll and write your own story one day!

Pavlos
 

Attachments

Andy Nguyen

Member
I'm very impressed of how you take advantage of what you learn and make the most out of the job opportunities presented as a result. You certainly worked really hard for it. A very well deserved congratulation is in order.
I'm sure there are many other students who benefit greatly from our online C++ courses, be it getting into a top MFE program or getting a dream job.
Hope to hear more from you as you progress and from others who surely have similar positive results.
 

Chee Tan

New Member
@Daniel Duffy Sir, any plan to publish updated version of your book ?
It would be very helpful for students from developing countries who otherwise can not afford higher cost training
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
Hi Chee Tan
The 2nd edition is planned for July 2018! But without the wonderful support from TAs :)
BTW this book assumes you already know C++ (e.g. to level of QN C++ course #1). It complements the course and it does not replace it.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Sarara_Zh

New Member
Hi Pavlos,

I am experiencing exactly what you experienced now. So thanks for sharing, your example is invaluable!

I graduated with a bachelor degree in Business as well and want to apply for a more quantitative master degree, however, I have been struggling a lot.

Would you mind sharing your process more in details? As in did you manage to get into a master program first or you did the certificate first and then applied?

Thanks!;)
 
Last edited:

Pavlos Sakoglou

Well-Known Member
C++ Student
Hi Pavlos,

I am experiencing exactly what you experienced now. So thanks for sharing, your example is invaluable!

I graduated with a bachelor degree in Business as well and want to apply for a more quantitative master degree, however, I have been struggling a lot.

Would you mind sharing your process more in details? As in did you manage to get into a master program first or you did the certificate first and then applied?

Thanks!;)
Will send you a PM with more details soon :)
 

Mushfiq

New Member
Hi Pavlos,

Congratulation on your achievement! I have a question.
I am an international student in USA with masters in Physics and have decent experience in programming and development. If I finish the C++ certification course, do you think I might have a decent shot at getting a job although I don't have a finance degree?
 

Pavlos Sakoglou

Well-Known Member
C++ Student
Hi Pavlos,

Congratulation on your achievement! I have a question.
I am an international student in USA with masters in Physics and have decent experience in programming and development. If I finish the C++ certification course, do you think I might have a decent shot at getting a job although I don't have a finance degree?
Thanks :)

I don't know what are your goals, but if the jobs you are looking for include development (general quant work or pure development), then I would strongly suggest taking the certificates and becoming an expert on those skills that are in demand.

You will get to learn about and code very important financial concepts, such as pricing systems, software design principles, the ins and outs of majorly used libraries, code optimization with modern C++ etc., and when they come up in an interview you will outstand.

From a coding perspective, it should compensate for your lack of finance background in certain positions where the technical skills are more important. And whatever else is not explicitly covered here, you will certainly know how to write fast and efficient software about it -- which is what matters and what you are hired for: to be able to learn and code things or find solutions to problems you never heard of before.
 

Mushfiq

New Member
Thanks :)

I don't know what are your goals, but if the jobs you are looking for include development (general quant work or pure development), then I would strongly suggest taking the certificates and becoming an expert on those skills that are in demand.

You will get to learn about and code very important financial concepts, such as pricing systems, software design principles, the ins and outs of majorly used libraries, code optimization with modern C++ etc., and when they come up in an interview you will outstand.

From a coding perspective, it should compensate for your lack of finance background in certain positions where the technical skills are more important. And whatever else is not explicitly covered here, you will certainly know how to write fast and efficient software about it -- which is what matters and what you are hired for: to be able to learn and code things or find solutions to problems you never heard of before.
Thank you so much for the reply. It was very helpful since my interest is mostly in development. :)
 

Pavlos Sakoglou

Well-Known Member
C++ Student
Hi @Pavlos Sakoglou , how long did the advanced c++ course take you to finish? and how many hours did you spend on it roughly every day?
It really depends on your level of C++ proficiency -- I took it while I was already comfortable with C++ and I finished it 3 weeks earlier than the deadline with distinction. Additionally, it was summer and I had a lot of free time, which I was spending on external studying material from here and there -- including books, youtube videos, stack overflow, etc. With that kind of pace, I was studying on average 5-6 hours a day, 5-6 days a week -- that was my personal choice.

That being said, if I only focused on the homework and the provided material, I would definitely save myself a couple of hours per day. So it's really up to you. It's not easy and some exercises might take you a day or two, but the workload is meant to be ok for the given timeframe.

My advice is to start on level 1 before enrolling so you can get a taste on what's it like.

You can find my testimonial here for more information:
C++11/C++14 with Multidisciplinary Applications Cert Testimonials
 

Julio

New Member
Hi, Pavlos! First, congrats on your accomplishments! And thanks for sharing your experiences in learning C++.
I am also wondering whether you can share your target positions in applying for an internship/ a job with both certificates. Moreover, I wanna take the online course during this winter break, but I have poor mathematical background (maybe it'll be hard for me to understand the algorithms?) Could you please also give me some advice to cover my shortcomings? It'll be greatly appreciated!
 

Pavlos Sakoglou

Well-Known Member
C++ Student
Hi, Pavlos! First, congrats on your accomplishments! And thanks for sharing your experiences in learning C++.
I am also wondering whether you can share your target positions in applying for an internship/ a job with both certificates. Moreover, I wanna take the online course during this winter break, but I have poor mathematical background (maybe it'll be hard for me to understand the algorithms?) Could you please also give me some advice to cover my shortcomings? It'll be greatly appreciated!
Hi Julio,

Have you graduated from both certificates, you should qualify to apply for software developer positions, probably entry level, if you don't have development experience. Though, getting a job means you passed a series of technical and coding interviews, which by itself needs preparation, general computer science knowledge, and more than one programming languages. Luckily you will be introduced and study many such concepts (data structures, algorithms, operating systems) within the courses and you will become comfortable learning more languages along the way. The biggest benefit you are going to have, in my opinion, is that you will acquire exceptional programming skills, which is not that common for languages like C++. This will boost your candidate profile and make your interview prep easier; with all the projects you will have to show off to employers.

I don't know about your math background, but you need to understand functions and basic math to understand the problems. Hight school level should be enough, or something like Calc 1 in a standard American university. You need the very basics.

As for the algorithms, the math are super simple, but the logic can be challenging, until you get it. Then it's gonna be a game. Perhaps an algorithms book might come in handy. Try "Introduction to Algorithms" by C.L.R.S. if you want extra readings.

I would suggest you to attempt the first level and see how it goes. If you find it challenging mathematically, you should spend some time reviewing functions and linear algebra operations. Some early calculus might be helpful later on, but you won't be asked to solve any math equations. You will be given these equations and asked to code them as is.

Hope this helps. One final thought: developers already are and will continue to be in the future in very high demand. Learning the ins and outs of C++, one of the most difficult languages out there, will be tremendously helpful for you if you choose to go down that path, regardless if you get a job as a C++ engineer or as a general software developer.
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
Hope this helps. One final thought: developers already are and will continue to be in the future in very high demand. Learning the ins and outs of C++, one of the most difficult languages out there, will be tremendously helpful for you if you choose to go down that path, regardless if you get a job as a C++ engineer or as a general software developer.

C++ is one of the few serious programming languages that helps you develop into a competent developer. The various skills that you learn cannot readily be developed in other languages because many of them treat you like a child, or hide important details that you will never get access to or even reach an impasse because they are too inflexible.

My top 8+1 reasons for learning C++

1. Multiparadigm (no other language comes near), Objects, modular, templates/generics, functional programming models
2. It is non-trivial, you learn something.
3. Good way to learn various aspects of computer science
4. It is nice for engineering applications
5. It will be with us forever
6. Learn C++ and after that all others are easy to learn. Believe me.
7. Interfaces with Python, C# etc.
8. Yuge installed base
9. Impress people at cocktail parties with statements like "I have just written a parallel Monte Carlo option pricer in C++17, with lambdas".
 
Last edited:
Top