software engineer path

Discussion in 'Programming' started by nickhat, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. nickhat


    Hi all,

    I'm currently a sellside broker working on the institutional side. With the obvious shift toward technology, I'm interested in pursuing a career in software engineering, specifically working on and developing trading platforms at large institutions (i-banks, hedge funds etc). I have no prior programming experience. I've looked into the MSE online program at Brandeis which seems like a good way to start. I'd appreciate any and all advice. Thanks
  2. You can't just look in the mirror one morning and decide you want to be an engineer "because it makes sense".

    Every engineer I know (including me) knew they were going to be engineers when they were like 10 years old. It's either in your blood or it's not.
  3. There is nothing wrong with learning to program, but this is self-directed learning. You get what you put in, and if by 18, you never had the curiosity. I might want Donald Trump's paycheck, but that doesn't make it a job for me.

    Software is a knowledge and problem solving game. What is it that you have deep knowledge about? Perhaps you are better off as a Business Analyst?
    There are many different roles within the software industry.
    Eze Castle Software Careers
    Bloomberg Careers
    for an idea.

    I once knew a student who get a degree as a Chemical Engineer. When he got his diploma, he was all excited; because, he never had to do chemistry again. A waste of a good education.

    You need to figure-out what you want.

  4. Absolutely true. The math, physics, chem, statics-dynamics, etc., required to get a real Engineering degree will wash out all but the most dedicated.

    It's possible the op meant a comp sci degree. Much easier career path.
  5. emg


    why brandeis?
  6. nickhat


    No, I meant software engineering. I chose Brandeis because I'm looking for a distance learning option, with my current situation. I've spoken to a couple engineers (non-finance related) that have taken the program and were happy with it. I've been taking free courses at udacity and this is something I'm very interested in pursuing. Generally, what I've noticed is that most job posted looking for say a c++ developer requires requires some experience...maybe 2 years. As stated, I have no relevant experience. My question is what would be the best route with only a degree? Thanks
  7. 2rosy


    get the degree.
    program a lot.
    have a github account so people can see what you can do
  8. Occam


    I'd say it's very possible to make such a transition, and your background in finance would probably be an advantage -- but you might ask a contact within your own firm's (or a former firm's) IT department about your plan rather than here, as most people on EliteTrader are either active or aspiring traders, working solo or in small shops, and as such don't know much about the job market for programmers (even though many are programmers themselves).

    It wouldn't be tough to get your feed wet in programming before pursuing a degree in it -- if you want to learn C++, or Java or C# (which are similar but a but "easier"), there are plenty of teaching resources/books/etc. out there. I think it would be worthwhile to do so, as getting a full degree in CS is a lot more time/expense, plus the skills from learning a bit on your own will likely carry over almost directly to whatever intro programming course you take.

    I hope it goes well for you, whatever you decide.
  9. emg


    if u are a jewish enrolling brandeis, u have a best shot landing a wall street software engineering job. That said
  10. I think it depends on whether you want to stay in the investment field or are open to other industries. You will need to spend a couple of years working your way up. The good news is that once you have 2-3 years of experience and have shown talent, getting another job is relatively easy.

    Talent trumps experience in this industry. There is little difference between someone with five years experience and ten. Technology platforms are always changing, so everyone starts on the same footing when a new paradigm emerges (witness iPad/iPhone over the last few years).

    One avenue to pursue is to look for QA positions. Companies like EzeCastle and CRD are often looking for people with domain experience. Once in a QA position, show that you can code. Become the automation person. Act as the liaison between QA and development. If you show that you can code, you will be able to move to the development side.

    Another avenue for someone without much experience is to contribute to an open-source project. Get an account on Github. Learn test-driven-development and be able to demonstrate it in an interview.

    Some of the most talented people I've known have come from outside the industry...english majors, physics majors, even a family therapist. Feel free to PM me with any further questions.

    #10     Oct 7, 2012