Advice on becoming a quant/ Is this realistic?
For some background, I'm 23, graduated with a BEng Mechanical Engineering in May (GPA 3.38/4.2, (2.1)). And am due to begin a one-year MSc in Financial Economics at the beginning of February.
My goal is to start my first "big boy," job as a quant in January 2023 (hopefully finding a job before graduating to avoid any hanging around). For reference, I will be focusing my job search on London and Amsterdam. I am internationally flexible but am based in Europe and only speak English, so these cities are most realistic.
Luckily, I've completed modules in most mathematical areas quants are required to be familiar with as part of my engineering undergraduate (Stochastic Calculus, Stats & probability, Linear Algebra, etc.). These "pure maths," modules tended to be my favourites throughout university and were some of my strongest.
In terms of work experience, I've held many part-time and seasonal jobs over the last four or five years. However, the only "relevant," experience I have at a financial institution is a two-week at one of the big 4. I was initially supposed to spend 12 weeks in the office, however, this was not possible due to government restrictions. While having a reputable name on my resume shows some merit, it's unfortunate it did not translate into any real hands-on experience due to the circumstances. Even still, the work wouldn't have been very relevant to quant anyway.
One area I will have to work on is coding. I have some experience with C++, MatLab, and R, however wouldn't consider myself proficient in any. Earning a certification such as "Python for Data Science IBM edX" has been recommended to me to begin learning the coding skills required for the job. I am keen to begin this soon (likely Monday or sometime next week). Does anyone have experience with this course? Can anyone recommend a certification they believe to be more applicable?
In terms of networking, should I begin now? Or should I wait until I know how to code first? (sorry if that's a stupid question). Does specific to quant roles? Also, has anyone had positive experiences with any recruiters for these roles in London/Amsterdam?
Aside from this, is there anything else I should do over the next year to bring myself closer to my goal? I have found a reading list and some interview question books - can anyone else recommend any more resources/skills/actions?
Thanks for your time in reading this, am open to talking with anyone with any interest/experience in the field. Thanks again!