Google Software Developer to Quant?

Hello all I am a software developer who has worked at Google for the past two years since I graduated. Now I am faced with a career decision (or not?) of whether to possibly try to move to a position in finance. Fundamentally I have grown bored of my work at Google, as things have become fairly repetitive and monotonous here. I have a friend who works as a prop trader in Chicago, and the kind of work he describes sounds fairly interesting. Now I suppose my question is what kind of positions would I possibly be competitive for? Basically I understand that right now my financial knowledge is limited, so I don't think I could contribute much immediately in that respect. Would I be competitive for positions writing trading algorithms and the like? I do not want to end up doing the same menial work I am here at Google, just in a finance environment, rather I hope to be able to contribute to automated trading systems and the like. My C++ knowledge is fairly strong, and I would rate my ability to program highly. The other factor that motivates me is that I was always fairly strong in math (good results on the AMC and AIME), and here at Google I use none of it. I consider myself lucky if sometimes I have to multiply a few numbers together. The other issue is sort of about compensation. My base right now is 120k, and with bonus and my annual RSU's my total comp is just short of 180k, working about 45hrs a week. Now I understand that this might be putting the cart before the horse, however if I were to receive offers from respectable prop shops how competitive would it be relative to my current comp? Also from discussing the issue with a friend it seem that often times compensation can be much more variable, so if I were to receive an offer for say a 110k + undefined bonus, would it be reasonable to try and negotiate something along the lines of a guaranteed bonus? I general I suppose my questions are not very well defined relative to most here, but what I am curious about is if people think this is an idea worth pursuing. My friend sometimes becomes quite pessimistic about the future of prop trading, and the shrinking margins, and this discourages me. Am I just looking at this from a perspective of the grass being greener on the other side of the fence? Are there positions like I am imagining where one can work say 50hrs a week on trading strategies with good comp? Any and all input is greatly appreciated.

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Comments (5)

Best Response
Feb 22, 2015 - 11:27pm

Am honestly a bit surprised by the pessimism. With regards to creating a startup, I am not sure if that is in the cards for me, primarily because at some point I would have to quit my job to work on it full time. It is difficult to get to a point while working though to where I would be comfortable with quitting my job, and I have about zero connections that would help me raise any financing. Also living here taxes are high and housing is ridiculously expensive. In addition my future salary curve is very logarithmic, realistically I could perform very well the next 5 years and still end up with a total comp of only 230k. Basically my chances of owning a house or anything like that here in the near future are nil. I guess the two things I have going for me here are good work hours and good weather, however reading about quant finance in the news it really seems like something more should be possible in Chicago/NY, no?

Jun 29, 2018 - 6:30pm

this is quite a dead thread but I am really curious what path you took after 3 years?

I'm a software engineer at Amazon now, and I share your thoughts man, I am good with maths and algorithm but my work here doesn't make use of it.

Jun 30, 2018 - 7:15pm

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