I'm very curious to know what the day to day job is like for a quant developer. Can anyone tell me a little about your job? Likes/dislikes? Interesting? Career growth? Anything would be very helpful. Thanks.
I'm a financial programmer. I sometimes work with some of the quant developers, but I'm not a quant developer myself.
You basically find quant developers wherever you find quants and lots of data to process, and the job is going to look and feel different depending on the desk/group you support.
Our firm's research division has an institutional securities risk and pricing service, and we have a number of quants who work on portfolio modeling and a number of quantitative developers to help them. These guys generally have pretty nice and relaxed lives and deal with a lot of correlation and portfolio optimization work. Typically, the quants will give them a series of mathematical operations to perform and they will turn that into C++ code.
We also have product-specific quantitative developers. Most of these guys sit on the trading floor and work on the pricing engines and sometimes proprietary trading systems. Their jobs are a bit more stressful.
Financial developers like me spend about 20% of their time working with actual finance stuff and 80% of their time as developers. (In fact, 40% of my time is spent just hunting down bugs) For a quant developer, the percentage increases significantly, but from what I see, they are largely still developers. At a typical large investment bank, much of the financial thinking has already been done before any developer looks at something.
If you're a developer who is also interested in doing quantitative financial work, I would recommend looking at the smaller firms where some of these roles (like quant and quantitative developer) start to merge a little more.
It depends on where you work. I am not yet a quant developer. But know quants with few years of experience in firms like Freddie/Fannie dont' make anything more than $125K(incl bonus). Quants in big profitable hedge funds make around $500k
Anyone who has first-hand information on this probably shouldn't have that if they're not a quant developer and they're probably also bound by their NDAs not to hand that out too freely. Then again, you can probably also look this stuff up on salary websites.
Just keep in mind that salary and compensation are two completely different numbers. (CC: Goldman Sachs' bonus debacle.) The compensation number is how much money you actually make from the firm. The salary number is how much the firm promised you'd make (aside from guaranteed bonus, if you transfer in) at the beginning of the year.
The standard salary for a first year analyst is $65K + $10K signing bonus at a bulge bracket in New York plus some sort of bonus in June-August of the following year. With a master's degree, you would typically accrue one year of experience and earn $70-$75K. Bear in mind that $65K/year doesn't go as far as you would think after NYC taxes, rent, and cost of living.
Guaranteed bonuses are usually reserved for experienced transfers. When you transfer firms, you usually lose a whole lot (including some hard-to-measure accrued bonus, unvested stock options, and unvested 401k matches.) Your new firm will often match that if they want you badly enough. Since most college grads aren't as sure a bet as experienced hires, it is unlikely that you will need to worry about guaranteed bonus if you are straight out of school or even if you have been working for four or five years. Only if you've been working for a certain period of time and you are losing a lot of bonus (IE: you transfer in November) and the firm really wants you or the firm thinks you're a "sure thing" will you need to worry about guaranteed bonuses.
A number of firms put their recently graduated financial and quantitative developers into their Financial Markets analyst program. Other firms put their financial developers into IT. Without commenting on the number you're using, I think your bonus is really going to depend on a lot of factors. One of the biggest will be whether you're placed under an IT P&L, Research P&L, or Markets P&L.