Algo trading internship, What do I need to prepare?

Moon's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | banana points 18

Hi guys,

As I am having my internship starting within two weeks, I just wanted to ask around what skills you have found to be important in your career as a trader or something related.

I am going to work for trading firm as an algo trader, with not much of computer science backgrounds. Would it be best to start learning about C language? I am hoping for insightful advice over the necessary qualities for successful internship this summer. Thank you so much!

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Comments (18)

Jun 11, 2012

You're actually going to be executing real trades as an intern? More info please...

Jun 11, 2012

Better question is how you got an algo trading internship with no CS background.

That being said...learn programming

Jun 11, 2012

C#, that's what they all use

Jun 11, 2012

how bad did you lie on your resume? Yeesh...

Jun 11, 2012

I had basic knowledge of cs from taking one intro sequence, and I am majoring in Math.
Is there any recommendation for books to read?

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Jun 11, 2012

There is only one C book....K and R

Jun 11, 2012

What language will you be using?

The book protectedclass is referring to (I agree for C):
http://www.amazon.com/C-Programming-Language-2nd-E...
For C++ I'd recommend this, but it might be too much if you have basically no programming experience:
http://www.amazon.com/Programming-Language-The-3rd...
Do PM me the name of the firm, I'm looking for places to intern next summer.

Jun 11, 2012

Probably an execution/PnL trader, not a core algo trader, there tend to be the core finance people watching the books to make sure things are going right. The crunching and coding of the algorithms are strictly CS/Engineering strongholds.

And no, no self respecting algo house uses C# for any real infra, maybe for some analytics. C++ is the order of the day - with some Java, otherwise you'll get killed in the latency competetion.

If you're an execution trader, I'll push towards the data crunching coding languages - Python comes very quickly to mind. C++ is not for the faint of heart, in Algo shops, nobody hires the random finance bloke who "also knows some C++", naah it's winner takes all with C++. You're either writing up some crazy hardware aware code that squeezes out every last drop of performance out of the systems, or you're not working with them as a programmer. Seriously, C++ is for IT whizz kids and Compsci PhDs.

Just so we're clear, the likelihood is that you'll be doing things like analysing trends, and building models. C#, Python Excel and R is where you'll live.

Give us a shout when you do have a better idea of the role, and perhaps we can advise more appropriately.

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Jun 11, 2012

I've seen this happen before.. They take you in because they see you're really really smart, and easy to train for a cheap internship price.

usually they'll expect you to pick up things pretty fast and ask that you study a lot of programming from now on.

it'll be hard to say what they'll make you do, but most of it will just be assisting other traders with their projects.

Jun 11, 2012

By the description for the position, it says:

Chicago based fx and equities algorithmic trading hedge fund is looking for Summer 2012 interns to assist in several aspects of market analysis and system development.

Activities will consist mainly of research/design/testing/implementation of trading systems. Activities may include real time trade monitoring of trading systems, white board sessions with traders, system analysis and design competitions.

So it seems like C#, Python would be good for me to study then?
Thank you for all of your comments.

Jun 11, 2012

Learn Java instead.

Jun 11, 2012

Seems like a systematic trading fund, which is exactly what I do. I'd focus on learning Python and it's constituent packages such as NumPy, SciPy and Matplotlib, then possibly VBA or C#. C++ and Java would be overkill unless you were designing ultra-high frequency systems. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

Jun 11, 2012

Double post.

Jun 11, 2012

Java = C#

If you know one, you basically know the other.

Feb 8, 2019

I think learning Python would be really beneficial as it is one of the most popular languages used to algo trade. In addition, you may brush up your quant skills like statistics, mathematical models etc.

Feb 8, 2019

Alright, let me give you a tip because everyone here tells you a generic and an obvious answer, which you already should know like programming or scripting... I'm a market maker and I will tell you from experience, If you want to blow them away, learn how to implement an algo correctly. So when you're making a strategy, these are the main variables that you need to understand before you even try to make one from scratch, pricing the instrument, safeties, execution and hedges. You get those four down and you're an asset to the firm. Pricing is probably the hardest when you're trading something illiquid, a lot of thinking outside of box, using a lot of math and logic. That's why when you look at exotic trader roles, you will see in description, "know how to price illiquid instruments"... Safeties can be whatever, maybe sweepy features, volatility features and etc... Hedges can be anything that you like but of course you have to think, what new risk am I creating and how will I get out, liquidity issues and etc.

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Feb 8, 2019

OP was back in 2012...hopefully he had a good internship by now =)

just google it...you're welcome

Feb 8, 2019