I want to ask a serious question

I am a senior programmer, I am making about 170k/y. My goal is to make 400k/y. Does any one know if this is possible if I become a FE?
I am in middle of 30's, not young anymore, this is a serious question, because I have to sacrifice a lot to become a FE. I can boost my income from 3 sources:
1. design model and implementation for big company core business with big bonus
2. design my own system generate cash
3. from my investment.


I appreciate any comments, suggestion. thanks in advance
 
I am a senior programmer, I am making about 170k/y. My goal is to make 400k/y. Does any one know if this is possible if I become a FE?
Get a second job paying $230k/yr. Just kidding. Yes, its possible I suppose. Its also possible to make $400k as programmer. But for both options, you have to be really good at what you do. FE grads do pretty well entry level but their compensatation beyond that depends on their skills. But don't let money motivate you to change careers; the FE curriculum at any school is rigorous and you have to love the subject.
 
Get a second job paying $230k/yr. Just kidding. Yes, its possible I suppose. Its also possible to make $400k as programmer. But for both options, you have to be really good at what you do. FE grads do pretty well entry level but their compensatation beyond that depends on their skills. But don't let money motivate you to change careers; the FE curriculum at any school is rigorous and you have to love the subject.

Thank you Mike for your comments. well, I have 10 years investing experience. One of my personal goal is to develop a trading robot. I had a review of your curriculum, which is very interesting. But as I said, I am not young anymore, and I have other commitments. This is a big decision for me. life is not a simple thing. In terms of talents, let's cut the crap. most of people are not Einstein, I am realistic person, I do fairly well in my profession, but I consider myself as an ordinary guy. I am jealous about you youngsters, we may not speak same language because we are in different life stage. thank you Mike again for your reply. Can you be more specific on "depends on their skills"? which company pays more? Sorry I am so money motivated. I am too old to believe slogans. :)
 
I am jealous about you youngsters, we may not speak same language because we are in different life stage.

I'm 32, married, and have a 2 yr old, and I just started an FE program at Stevens. So we may be more similar than you think. I'm currently in the investment arena, so I'm really just looking at improving my own quant skills for my current job. Are you a developer for a financial company?

What I meant by "depends on their skills" is that while FE grads are in demand and can get 6-digit starting salaries, they can easily stay at that same salary for years. Depends on the market, depends on how good they are at their company, etc. I've also known top developers at investment companies who make $500k/yr or more.

Here's a good thread to check out--
Hi, career advice from posters requested. - QuantNetwork - Financial Engineering Forum
 
I'm 32, married, and have a 2 yr old, and I just started an FE program at Stevens. So we may be more similar than you think. I'm currently in the investment arena, so I'm really just looking at improving my own quant skills for my current job. Are you a developer for a financial company?

What I meant by "depends on their skills" is that while FE grads are in demand and can get 6-digit starting salaries, they can easily stay at that same salary for years. Depends on the market, depends on how good they are at their company, etc. I've also known top developers at investment companies who make $500k/yr or more.

Here's a good thread to check out--
Hi, career advice from posters requested

Bingo,=D> great. Mike, yes I am an developer working for quant group in a financial company. Regarding the developers, you must be trading support or trading system developer in order to share the trader's bonus. I just don't have such a chance to work on that arena, I think if I have FE, that stands bigger chance to get in core business. Thanks Mike, nice speaking with you.
 
Bingo,=D> great. Mike, yes I am an developer working for quant group in a financial company. Regarding the developers, you must be trading support or trading system developer in order to share the trader's bonus. I just don't have such a chance to work on that arena, I think if I have FE, that stands bigger chance to get in core business. Thanks Mike, nice speaking with you.
Most developers don't share in the trading bonus pools. I worked as a developer on trading systems for a few years, then moved to portfolio management (though, I had a finance/econ background). Its obvious that you want to move to the business side, in which case an FE degree would certainly help. Good luck.
 
This is a great conversation. I have a related question and I dare to ask this after I read your age in the reply :) I am 31 and I am highly motivated to seek a PhD. By the time I achieve my goal I'll be 37/38. Can this age become a entry to barrier ?

As much as I would love to make 400k my expectations are really less than half of that even after PhD. Is this goal realistic from where I stand today?
 
I want to ask a serious question
I always thought every question on Quantnet is serious ;)

Not all MFE makes 400K. It depends on where you land after your MFE. With your previous salary of 170K, an entry level job won't cut it for you. And if they are willing to hire you for way more than that, you gotta bring something exceptional to the table. I'm not sure MFE provides you that great boost.
If you can get a trader job or some FO bonus-sharing position after MFE, 400K is doable. Not instantly but eventually.
 
This is a great conversation. I have a related question and I dare to ask this after I read your age in the reply :) I am 31 and I am highly motivated to seek a PhD. By the time I achieve my goal I'll be 37/38. Can this age become a entry to barrier ?

As much as I would love to make 400k my expectations are really less than half of that even after PhD. Is this goal realistic from where I stand today?

From what I read, your earnings potential peaks between the ages of 45-55. Age may be a barrier to entry for many positions, including swimsuit modeling, but it should never slow you down. I had a manager who was 43 when he got his CFA, and another who got his MBA in his 50's. I myself hope to retire in my 40's so I can be a J Crew model.
 
From what I read, your earnings potential peaks between the ages of 45-55. Age may be a barrier to entry for many positions, including swimsuit modeling, but it should never slow you down. I had a manager who was 43 when he got his CFA, and another who got his MBA in his 50's. I myself hope to retire in my 40's so I can be a J Crew model.

I love your attitude !! Thank you !!!
 
I always thought every question on Quantnet is serious ;)

Not all MFE makes 400K. It depends on where you land after your MFE. With your previous salary of 170K, an entry level job won't cut it for you. And if they are willing to hire you for way more than that, you gotta bring something exceptional to the table. I'm not sure MFE provides you that great boost.
If you can get a trader job or some FO bonus-sharing position after MFE, 400K is doable. Not instantly but eventually.

Thanks Andy. can you be more specific on how to make $400k after MFE?
 
Most developers don't share in the trading bonus pools. I worked as a developer on trading systems for a few years, then moved to portfolio management (though, I had a finance/econ background). Its obvious that you want to move to the business side, in which case an FE degree would certainly help. Good luck.

Hi Mike, you have very interesting career path. I think you want to be a portfolio manager. You said your friend is making $500K as a developer, what is he doing, what's his role? why do you quit trading developer, too much pressure?
can you be more specific ? thanks.
 
Hi Mike, you have very interesting career path. I think you want to be a portfolio manager. You said your friend is making $500K as a developer, what is he doing, what's his role? why do you quit trading developer, too much pressure?
can you be more specific ? thanks.

I am a portfolio manager now. Originally I was developing portfolio management and trading applications. I worked for a prop desk as a developer and there was a lot of pressure sometimes, but it was also very exciting and interesting. But my original background was finance so that's where I ended up. But I still use my development tools regularly.

That developer I was referring to built some top notch proprietary investment systems, and she became invaluable.
 
I am a portfolio manager now. Originally I was developing portfolio management and trading applications. I worked for a prop desk as a developer and there was a lot of pressure sometimes, but it was also very exciting and interesting. But my original background was finance so that's where I ended up. But I still use my development tools regularly.

That developer I was referring to built some top notch proprietary investment systems, and she became invaluable.

Thanks Mike. Good for you. Regarding the top developer you are referring to, is her background mission-impossible? (top) cs + FE (top 3 school?) , can you introduce a bit more. I am not nosy, I just want to setup an attractive and doable goal before I commit to it. thanks a lot.
 
Thanks Mike. Good for you. Regarding the top developer you are referring to, is her background mission-impossible? (top) cs + FE (top 3 school?) , can you introduce a bit more. I am not nosy, I just want to setup an attractive and doable goal before I commit to it. thanks a lot.

Obviously, the person I'm referring to is somewhat of an anomoly in the tech world, as developers typically don't make that kind of money. She didn't have a CS or FE degree (in fact, in my career I've only met 2 people with FE degrees).

I've either worked in technology or worked closely with developers for the last 10 years, and all within the investment industry. In my view, the most successful programmers were the ones who truly understood the business aspects of the software. Surprisingly (or maybe not), there is such a shortage of financial company developers who really understand what their software is doing. The ones who do, in my experience, go further. They are the ones put on bigger projects, or get into well paid management roles, etc. Also, I tend to think that developers with good communication skills, who network and form good working relationships with the business users, sometimes have an edge--especially if one day that developer wants to move to the trading desk.
 
Obviously, the person I'm referring to is somewhat of an anomoly in the tech world, as developers typically don't make that kind of money. She didn't have a CS or FE degree (in fact, in my career I've only met 2 people with FE degrees).

I've either worked in technology or worked closely with developers for the last 10 years, and all within the investment industry. In my view, the most successful programmers were the ones who truly understood the business aspects of the software. Surprisingly (or maybe not), there is such a shortage of financial company developers who really understand what their software is doing. The ones who do, in my experience, go further. They are the ones put on bigger projects, or get into well paid management roles, etc. Also, I tend to think that developers with good communication skills, who network and form good working relationships with the business users, sometimes have an edge--especially if one day that developer wants to move to the trading desk.

Thanks Mike, it is very informative. I total agree with you on "there's a shortage of financial company developers who really understand what their software is doing." I think there are bunch of job securities reasons to cause this, every body want to be indispensable. normally they only reveal information as little as possible. For example, I am not invited to attend quant meetings, I only come in when my part is discussed. This is not good, because business is dynamics of change, as part of quant support, I should be updated of business knowledge, industry trend etc., (this is how a potential genius gets wasted like this :) ) Anyway, politics is everywhere. The best knowledge is gained through practice. I decide to finish my trading system which I owe myself long time ago. Are you in NYC, Mike?
 
I am not invited to attend quant meetings, I only come in when my part is discussed.

This is common, and a lot of times there's nothing you can do about it. However, it wouldn't hurt to go to the head of the quant team and be like "Listen, I think if I could be a bit more involved in some of your discussions, I'd be able to be more proactive in creating solutions for you guys." It sounds kind of canned but quants and traders like to hear that you want to help make them money. Prior to my current job, I worked on a trading desk as a developer and early on asked the head of the desk if I could sit with each trader to learn about the different products they were trading. It worked out well because I learned a lot about complex energy derivatives and trading. Actually, that's what motivated me to move to the business side and start an FE program.

Are you in NYC, Mike?

Yes, for work anyway.
 
This is common, and a lot of times there's nothing you can do about it. However, it wouldn't hurt to go to the head of the quant team and be like "Listen, I think if I could be a bit more involved in some of your discussions, I'd be able to be more proactive in creating solutions for you guys." It sounds kind of canned but quants and traders like to hear that you want to help make them money. Prior to my current job, I worked on a trading desk as a developer and early on asked the head of the desk if I could sit with each trader to learn about the different products they were trading. It worked out well because I learned a lot about complex energy derivatives and trading. Actually, that's what motivated me to move to the business side and start an FE program.

This is so valuable comments. Thanks a lot, Mike.
 
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