What kind of computer ?

Hi,

I have a simple question as a beginner. I exclusively work on Mac OS X and Ubuntu, and I have to say, I do not like Windows that much.

I would like to know if it is possible to keep my favorite OS, or do I have to switch to Windows, to work as a Quant ?

Thanks in advance,
Olivier
 
In most scenario, you will end up in a job that use Windows as a standard OS. The IT depart of that bank would likely NOT support anything other than the official software packages.
Most of the off the sale software for quant work is for Win so finding support for another OS is tough or nonexistent.
There are groups out there that use Linux, etc but the chance of your landing in it is very close to zip.
By the way, there is an interesting thread a while back
Linux is gaining popularity among Wall Street developers - QuantNetwork - Financial Engineering Forum
 
That is what I feared... So I need to install Windows on my Mac Intel, or buy a Laptop with windows.
Maybe Mac users/fanatics with Bootcamp or Parallels have an experience of this kind of "dilemma" ?

Thanks for your answer Andy, and for the very interesting link.
Olivier
 

alain

Older and Wiser
We use Linux a lot. Actually all our code run to run the models is used in Linux. The code is mostly Java, R and MySQL with some Perl. One of the Quantitative Trading group in my firm only uses R and Perl, so you might be able to survive without windows.
 
That's a good news.

To be more precise, I try to learn by myself, since I have a PhD in Math and want to become a quant.
So, I need to learn the use of some specific tools, such as MySQL, R, Python, Scilab, and visual basic for instance. Most of them are cross platforms, but it seems that visual basic is not yet available on Office suite for mac. As far as I know this is something I need to know, but is there an equivalent on mac or linux ?

Thanks,
Olivier
:smt024
 
I use Linux for C++, with the Kdevelop IDE. I run Windows at the same time under VMWare, which allows me to use MS Visual Studio when I need it (I find that gdb is sometimes not up to the job).

Of course, VMWare may defeat the purpose of avoiding Windows.
 
i believe Mono should run on a Mac? But use what you can to get the job done.
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
OSX is rare in banks, but various Linuxes are out there is reasonable numbers.

Since the Mac doesn't have a useful spreadsheet, that is not going to change soon.

You don't need to know VB, it is a useful skill, but your time is probably better spent fixing the holes in your C++

I counsel VBA Excel as a "survival skill" ,ie it will help pay the rent when things go wrong.

But the bottom line is that few bank don't make heavy use of Windows, and if you restrict yourself to legacy technologies like the Mac, you will find it very tough.
 
I have a simple question as a beginner. I exclusively work on Mac OS X and Ubuntu, and I have to say, I do not like Windows that much.

I would like to know if it is possible to keep my favorite OS, or do I have to switch to Windows, to work as a Quant ?

Depending on how sticky your employer is about where their data goes, you may be able to maintain at least some of your preferred environment, by bridging at the data or source code level. So, if you can get the data onto your preferred hardware, work on it there and transfer results back, either as data or as code, then you may be in business.

The other challenge will be that you will be in a vanishingly small minority, so you're on your own, and anything new that comes out will likely not be provided for your chosen platform.

Good luck!


-Will Dwinnell
Data Mining in MATLAB
 
The situation you find yourself in is a common one, and the programming community put a good amount of effort to make Windows a decent environment for Unix-oriented folks (see cygwin, gvim for windows, emacs for windows, ...etc etc ).

Unless you need to work with a MS technology (F#, C#, VB, ...) I wouldn't worry about this too much.
 
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