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

Pavlos Sakoglou

Well-Known Member
C++ Student
#1
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

#3
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
#6
@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
#7
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.
 

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Sarara_Zh

New Member
#9
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!;)
 
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Pavlos Sakoglou

Well-Known Member
C++ Student
#10
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
#12
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
#13
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
#14
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
#16
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
 
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