programmer wanting to get into trading

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by omgdallas, Aug 12, 2006.

  1. omgdallas



    I graduated with a CS degree last year, since then I've been working writing code for one of the big defense companies. I don't really like my job, its tedious and unexciting, I spend most of my time reading about the markets. I trade on the side and do ok, small gains.

    I would like to make a career change to do something with the markets. Eventually, I would like to get away from programming and become a trader for a corporation.

    What is the best path to take?

    Find a programming position at a financial company?

    Get an MBA?

    Go back and get an undergrad business degree?

    thanks for the advice
  2. It's a difficult road ahead.......

    Be sure you know what your doing and hopefully don't have any kids or wife or anything to support while making this switch, it will be tough.

    That's all I have to offer. Others will chime in for sure.
  3. omgdallas


    Thanks for the good wishes..

    I should mention that I dont have a wife or kids, I am 22 yrs old, I have no debt, I have about 30 thousand in savings, so I figure right now would be a good time to take risks and make career changes
  4. Neodude


    Forget about getting a programming job at a financial corp. It will be just as boring as your current job, maybe even more. If you want to be considered for writing trading algorithms, then go back to school and get a PHD in mathematics or physics, otherwise they won't even look at your resume for anything more mundane then doing some database work (i.e. SQL).

    I'm assuming that you only have a BS, therefore your chances of making a transition from a programming job to trading in the ibank industry about zero. Truth be told you probably have a better chance of making it as a trader by going the prop route.

    Sorry to paint such a bleak picture, but I know a lot of people who are sick of programming and trying to change to trading.

    The best word of advice I can give you is to be ready to start at the bottom being an assistant or clerk doing PnL, then get the bank to pay for your MBA/CFA and befriend some traders on the job. Getting to be a trader at a bank is all about networking.


    PS. Don't let this disuade you unless you want to be a trader only for the money. If thats the case, then I suggest you become a radiologist. You will be making more then a lot of traders (guaranteed), and you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Starting salary is 250+.
  5. rshuhart


  6. Before you throw away you hard earn CS degree. Find another sector instead of working for a defense company.

  7. oTzt


    Why don't you stay like that for now ?
    You're in the best possible situation : your job seems to leave enough time to study the markets, and acquire an edge, without any kind of pressure (I mean that you don't have to reach a daily, monthly or any other target, can trade whatever you want, try, and try again, and so on.

    22 years old means that you've your entire life in front of you ; you could "invest" one year or two going deeper in your markets' and trading knowledge, then decide whether this is or not the "road" you wanna follow.

  8. screw that . . .

    go back to school . . . to the best one you can.

    You don't have to do the PHd in math or physics anymore. They have specific FE programs now . . .

    Most of the big schools have one . . .

    Sign up to take the GMAT and you're on you're way.

    Don't listen to these guys . . that's it's too hard to get a job trading.
  9. newguy1


    seems like theres a big disconnect between:

    "traditional" types of trading (tape reading/TA/FA) and quant.

    what i mean is, its the same as the disconnect between folks who trade LU/NT vs. swing/breakout/momentum guys.

    Anyone who didn't trade LU/NT has always exclaimed to me, "how did you trade that stuff?". Makes sense, since all the little tricks are non-intuitive compared to someone only doing breakouts.

    Seems like good traders who don't do quant don't completely understand details in quant trading. (i don't really see how you could without at least a background in some form of measure theory)

    Do i know anything about either? Not really. I know that I know very little about daytrading, despite having taken a year off to do it; a.k.a, i'm nobody in the world of trading, quant or not. And what do i know about quant? nothing. i know a little math, but that doesn't mean shit.

    This disconnect is even more apparent if you visit wilmmot. Folks entering in some msc programs can't tell you what bid/ask is, just like I'm sure there are daytraders that don't really know to derive Ito's lemma. Theres only ONE guy on the entire forum who responded to a question regarding daytrading, and using quant to daytrade, because he actually did it. Anytime you post a question about daytrading in wilmott, you can almost rest assure it either goes unanswered, or is dismissed with negativity.

    Perfect example is the prospectus assembled for an fe program in illinois. One student who was GRADUATING, was quoted saying, "i don't want to daytrade at a daytrading firm. I'm very excited to explore proprietary trading at Kingstree, a proprietary trading firm." (not verbatim)

    My Advice:

    do what you can to check out everything you are capable of understanding. There was an e-trade prop guy that was listed in NYU's prospectus a few years ago. i'm sure he got whatever job he wanted after being in that program. You sound like you're in the same pickle I was in. My solution? I took time off to explore daytrading. From what I've been told, having a little practice gives an alternative understanding of all the bs theory in fin math. (of course, this was just coming from the 1 guy at wimott who meshed the two. He went on to say that neither side was a necessity to trade; his analogy was traditional trading to quant is scalping to XYZ/take your pick method of trading). Don't need one to do the other, but no reason why you can't mesh certain things together. (Its ironic that you're a CS major, because clearly, you don't need a CS major to daytrade. But you might be able use your knowledge to do something innovative, that a successful trader who simply hired a programmer may not catch. you never know what you'll come up with; all you have to do is think about the guy who argued to shut down the patent office long ago because "everything that could be invented already was invented", LOL.

    you've got a lot of options; i think thats fortunate. (makes me think, "man, maybe CS would of been nice instead of math".
  10. rosy


    first you have to know what trading means. and what traders at a bank or hedge fund really do. scalping at a day trading prop shop is far removed from anything i have seen.

    you could try to get a job as a programmer on a trading desk (**NOT THE IT dept.**) at a reputable firm and learn whats going on.
    #10     Aug 12, 2006