Tech (Data Engineering/Analytics) -> Quant Developer?

lseactuary

New Member
Just to clarify: different banks name their teams differently, and they are massive organizations where internal and external consistency in naming is sometimes lacking. For example at GS you might have strats and they do a full spectrum of things. At MS they have strats and modellers where strats are more desk aligned. At JPM they have global quantitative research and quantitative research, where the teams have nothing to do with each other and the former is a subteam within research (in the sense of equity research) and does not offer the kind of technical modelling/strat role you'd find in the latter. Applying to an equity research role, no quant (it's a term covering so many roles it's almost meaningless, but hopefully it is clear what I mean here) will have seen your resume (again, massive organizations and things are not usually as well organized as they may appear on the outside at first glance).
Good to know!

Path 1: Finish my Masters (~9 months left) and aim for a good grade + do freelance work which is Python/Data Engineering/Data Science/ML focused. Then apply for Strat/Quant Dev roles and go from there? No need for CQF or otherwise.

Path 2: Finish my Masters + remaining in FAANG is an option but the role in FAANG is not really helping me get to the level I need in Python for quant dev or Strat roles - if anything its setting me back because I'm spending more time on SQL and silly stuff vs actual programming and cloud work. I could then apply for Strat/Quant Dev roles but do not see what changes spending another 9 months there (instead, won't I look too senior, as I would have about 6 years experience then).

Path 3: Finish my Masters + pick up a contract role at a bank / financial services industry as a Data Engineer / Python Dev or similar which sits in the FO. Try to convert it to full time.

Out of curiosity, I came across an article on traders, and how they need to know Python nowerdays. I wonder if that would be a fit? Or I've missed that boat already?
 
5 years in FAANG in Data/Analytics/Data Eng roles.
BSc in Statistics from a top UK uni. 2:1 attained.
MSc in Software Eng/Computer Science from Oxbridge. Will be completed by mid next year. Likely to get a merit award.

I am considering doing this while working: The Certificate in Quantitative Finance | CQF to supplement my financial knowledge. They have a large data science/ML section too, which will prepare me well for Data Science jobs in tech if I choose to stay in the tech industry also. The program is about 8k GBP all in for me as I'm a student so I can get a scholarship.

Goal is ideally a quant developer role at a HF or similar in London. Where I am falling down at the moment is employers want financial mathematics or similar degrees. I have explored this but I cannot afford it outside of the UK, and going full time is not an option as I need to work and support myself.

I am struggling to move to the US through FAANG so am considering going freelance for 30 hours a week (have secured contracts, all Python/AWS work, pay is higher than FAANG), completing the Masters and doing CQF, then we go from there.

Is the CQF + Masters + freelance / prepare for jobs on the side the right way to go?
My advice rant:
Show me a quant dev job you're targeting. Does it have to be London? Germany offers free schooling at the MS level. Poland et al may have an advantageous exchange rates, has good schools, and big companies have Quants in Warsaw and some other cities. CQF for recognition doesn't work. For skill, go for it. If you want both, try FRM or PRM (as the CFA is not for Quants)

Don't quit your day job and go freelance. Find one project you can do in your free time, and over time make it grand. Find ways to improve your skill via your work, as the "big" infrastructure is all there.

Is the CQF + Masters + freelance / prepare for jobs on the side the right way to go?
No. Drop CQF for another cert. Pick a decent masters, or do a part-time/online one, and port that learning into personal projects and freelance that doesn't take up your time.

Your best asset to becoming a Quant Dev is your current dev skill. Only stop working to go back to school. There are many opportunities outside of the US also. Checkout world rankings, and by-country rankings if that's important.
 

lseactuary

New Member
My advice rant:
Show me a quant dev job you're targeting. Does it have to be London? Germany offers free schooling at the MS level. Poland et al may have an advantageous exchange rates, has good schools, and big companies have Quants in Warsaw and some other cities. CQF for recognition doesn't work. For skill, go for it. If you want both, try FRM or PRM (as the CFA is not for Quants)

Don't quit your day job and go freelance. Find one project you can do in your free time, and over time make it grand. Find ways to improve your skill via your work, as the "big" infrastructure is all there.


No. Drop CQF for another cert. Pick a decent masters, or do a part-time/online one, and port that learning into personal projects and freelance that doesn't take up your time.

Your best asset to becoming a Quant Dev is your current dev skill. Only stop working to go back to school. There are many opportunities outside of the US also. Checkout world rankings, and by-country rankings if that's important.
1. The issue is that I need to leave my FAANG company for a few reasons:
a) The learning / growth in my current role is non-existent thanks to my new and poor manager, and this won't change. There is no 'big infrastructure' projects anymore to work on, its all database SQL stuff which is boring the hell out of me. When I have tried to do coding projects etc it is all shut down or blocked by management.
b) There is bullying etc going on (not just with me in the team) which HR are doing nothing about so it is best I just leave before things get worse. Moving to another team is not possible.

2. I am already doing a part-time MSc at Oxbridge. If I focus on it next year, I can finish it off, and in parallel prepare for tech interviews / Python tests etc through Leet Code. I am completely fine staying in the UK.

3. The 'freelance' is more Data Engineering work (actual Data Engineering work, i.e. coding, not the crap in my FAANG company) which takes up 30 hours a week (so its like a job really, more project based, but for the same company). I am doing this in parallel with #2. There are options to increase the hours or move to an actual 'less-branded' company as a contractor or even full time but I'm not sure how that would look and think it is better to complete the Masters while doing 1-2 freelance jobs max (basically my own company and taking on DE projects) and going back to market with the story of was finishing my Masters + did DE work to keep my skills sharp + now looking for a perm role. I need to do some freelance / contract work for my bills as I cannot get a student loan (and prefer getting 'real' experience anyway).

I agree skill > everything else. The main thing I need to ramp up on is Python, and I'm getting there by actually doing Python work which I can't in FAANG. Hence trying to just find a way to make things better really.
 
Wow. Lots of clarification. I see what you mean. I can relate to the job stagnation part. Yes. It seems only a select few get to bring new ideas and project into work. Everyone else gets shut down, because 10% projects are for cool companies. Haha. A bit surprised it would happen in FAANG. But the two A's do get some negative sentiment from those who were on the inside.

Your freelancing is quite healthy and substantial. I was worried, you were only starting out. Then you would need to ramp up clients/projects quite a bit to maintain standard of living if you quit your job. You're on the right track for sure. PT studies means you'll like do a more through job search: no desperation to start making money again, like some full-time MS grads. UK has a lot of quant-based jobs it seems, and not all in London either.

Good luck with Python. I just got unstuck from a 2-day problem with statsmodels, and trying to grid search some sarima specifications. I judge my skill with Python by how quickly StackOverlfow answers make sense, and what percentage of a project I use non-StackO resources for. Bonus points for looking at a few lines of source code.
 

lseactuary

New Member
Wow. Lots of clarification. I see what you mean. I can relate to the job stagnation part. Yes. It seems only a select few get to bring new ideas and project into work. Everyone else gets shut down, because 10% projects are for cool companies. Haha. A bit surprised it would happen in FAANG. But the two A's do get some negative sentiment from those who were on the inside.

Your freelancing is quite healthy and substantial. I was worried, you were only starting out. Then you would need to ramp up clients/projects quite a bit to maintain standard of living if you quit your job. You're on the right track for sure. PT studies means you'll like do a more through job search: no desperation to start making money again, like some full-time MS grads. UK has a lot of quant-based jobs it seems, and not all in London either.

Good luck with Python. I just got unstuck from a 2-day problem with statsmodels, and trying to grid search some sarima specifications. I judge my skill with Python by how quickly StackOverlfow answers make sense, and what percentage of a project I use non-StackO resources for. Bonus points for looking at a few lines of source code.
I was lucky - in my other teams there was more flexibility to have a mix of projects - stuff that was your bread/butter and then more innovation stuff. Unfortunately my new manager is a former banker, thinks in a 'one track' way (no offence, middle or back office guy probably) and has some serious micromanagement issues (lots of staff complaining, honestly its just become toxic, he's also blocked anyone from his team moving team including me hence I need to leave).
It is not like FAANG is closed to me forever. My main issue is my Python got rusty. When I was in tech before I was solid. Recently I tried a few leet code questions, I got them right, but each took like 30 mins and they were easy lol. I need to refresh my brain over the next 3-6 months and I will be fine. I 100% agree with your stack overflow comment - I literally stopped using it for months because nothing was being built in my team. But over the past month since I've been doing my own thing, I cannot explain how much I have learnt and I see myself progress already so much.
Nope I started freelance on weekends because I was completely bored with my job and needed 'more'. I found really cool companies, all of them I worked with said if I can give more hours that is awesome and they will pay. I'm still getting more and more work coming my way like this. It is still DE work (AWS, Python, SQL) so nothing taking me off track but I'm learning a tonne. One contract alone for 15 hours a week basically is the same pay (after tax) as what I got from FAANG, so any additional work I'm doing is extra really. So financially I'm completely fine, hence thought it made sense to finish my Masters by May next year (so 8 months), do freelance and up my skills and on the side refresh leet code etc so I'm ready to interview again should I want a job. I wouldn't even call it 'freelance' at this point as none are 1-2 day projects - they are all 3+ month projects with min 10 hours a week each.
My main reason for posting was a) does this path make sense / did I overlook anything and 2) my CV doesn't really 'change' beyond having 8 months more DE work, so if I can't break in as a quant now, will I be able to in 8 months really? Maybe I have more of a chance because I've finished my Masters (and I can do my dissertation perhaps in a finance topic to make it more relevant) but beyond that idk what to do.
 
I think you have a great chance, and a great plan.

Forgive me for mentioning something to buy, but this quant has a book where he builds a statistical trading system in Python. It's in his 1st of three books. He is/was a Quant dev. It think you could improve on the system from the book, and use that as a dissertation.
  • DE skills --> better data pipeline and db setup: books uses MySQL and Yahoo! Finance data
  • SWE skills --> faster/more optimized architecture/run-times: cloud? distributed?
  • MFE skills --> go beyond classic time-series: book implements an ARMA model, without too many lags
 

lseactuary

New Member
I think you have a great chance, and a great plan.

Forgive me for mentioning something to buy, but this quant has a book where he builds a statistical trading system in Python. It's in his 1st of three books. He is/was a Quant dev. It think you could improve on the system from the book, and use that as a dissertation.
  • DE skills --> better data pipeline and db setup: books uses MySQL and Yahoo! Finance data
  • SWE skills --> faster/more optimized architecture/run-times: cloud? distributed?
  • MFE skills --> go beyond classic time-series: book implements an ARMA model, without too many lags
lol actually I brought those books already :P Yes, was planning to do something around that topic, just wanted to get through the book first. :)
 
An example of a job that seems to pay for the CQF certification: Job Details | eFinancialCareers: Quantitative Developer in Durlston Partners, London, England, United Kingdom
It can't be a bad idea this means?

As a side, how does one obtain C++ knowledge/coding if you don't use it in work? (I've never come across a project for this, I do all in Python)?

In interviews, are the Python coding interviews the 'same' as tech i.e. leetcode style?
175K! It reads like they want someone with dev chops. They're open to Python or C++. I tend to read roles that talk about building from scratch or live systems, as ones where they'd prefer experts in optimization and memory management - which seems C++-aligned. They probably intend to find the best they can, and transition those people to C++ later. Or they prototype in Python, and build production in C++.

You are right, it would probably be more like a tech SWE interview. "Solid Computer Science fundamentals" implies runtimes, and the core algos around search, sort, etc. Finance knowledge seems like icing for them, as they likely put every developer into the CQF by default. That's a cool work perk. Hehe.
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
As a side, how does one obtain C++ knowledge/coding if you don't use it in work? (I've never come across a project for this, I do all in Python)?
A good and probably most effective approach are the Quantnet/Baruch C++ courses on offer here (disclaimer: I am the originator).
 
Top