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What's in between a technologist and a quant?


I am a software engineer with 10 years of experience, worked at FAANG before and recently moved to a front-office tech team of a top investment bank.
Currently I'm thinking about the next steps in my career. I definitely want to keep working in finance sector, as I love the culture here much more than at purely tech companies; however I'd love to get closer to the business to make bigger impact on the firm's performance (and hopefully get a better reward).

I thought one of the options would be becoming a quant - however I'd still want to leverage all my prior tech experience and not spend days and nights just crunching numbers. I see my ideal job as solving technically challenging problems as well as doing a fair amount of quantitative work. Is that possible or banks make a clear distinction between quants and technologists?

If that's doable - the next question is what I need to learn to get such job. I think doing an MFE would be an overkill - should I just rely on self study? I have a degree in engineering, however I didn't read some advanced quant topics such as stochastic calculus at my school.

Thanks in advance.
As you get more senior, more is expected of you and it's a bit tough to justify hiring you over a junior quant straight out of school who is not only cheaper but also knows more about quant "stuff" and has a degree to "prove" it. Now of course this doesn't mean all is lost, just that the move to a quant role from tech is in some sense a larger leap than moving from one industry to another but still being called a software developer.

The easiest (though this will highly depend on luck) route is going to be via networking internally. A lot of the quant projects (though this will vary by bank) are actually just software engineering with perhaps a bit of math (or sometimes just understanding financial jargon and processes) sprinkled on top, and for an infra buildout I'm sure your local friendly quant team would love to have someone with your background if they have a headcount at an opportune timing and already know you as a sharp, reliable guy who is interested in a move (in particular once you've been in the bank for a while and can navigate the many different systems, both new and legacy, that I'm sure any bank is bound to have). Some banks might have separate quant dev teams doing this stuff, at others they'd be part of quants proper and might work on the math side as well as future projects come by (and as people quit). So with that, I'd say that self study is probably enough (but you would probably expect to be interviewed on technicals, so it does mean that you ought to actually study) if a suitable role comes up.

If you wanted to change firms, on the other hand, you'd probably want to try for quant dev roles, or indeed get a degree and go directly for regular quant for the reasons listed in the first paragraph.