Late 30s in grad school for computer science, how do I become a quant?

MRCR's picture
Rank: Senior Baboon | 238

I'm in my late 30s, currently a master's student in computer science (department ranked #28 in the U.S.). I have nearly 10 years' of web development experience and my goal is to work as a quantitative strategist or structurer a BB or HF. I've applied to over 50 companies via my school (OCR and careernet), but have had only 2 small trading firms (one is literally just 2 people) contact me. The first decided to go with another applicant and I have an interview with the second one next week.

Is it normally this hard just to land an interview? I've attached my resume. I don't think it looks that bad and I feel it should have opened up more opportunities than what I've gotten so far.

There is a possible chance of transferring to the math dept at my school (ranked #10 in the U.S.) and doing a master's in math instead. Would that improve the chances of getting an interview for strats or structuring?

PDF icon wso_resume.pdf202.11 KB

Comments (4)

Jan 28, 2014

if i were looking at your resume I would think you lack interest in finance/markets. Other than a couple of courses in 15 years of professional life you have nothing finance related. As you have a ton of stuff related to computer science, you might wanna bring out some thing related to statistics, economics, and finance if possible. Doing some internships at quant shops, passing CFA level 1 would be a good idea. There is no defined path to becoming a quant. Quants are just people who use quantitative tools in finance. Looking at your resume which has a ton of computer developer type experience you seem more fit for BB Operations than BB strats or quant shops. Bottom line: Convey to firms that you want to be in this field through networking and having other resume items more focused towards quantitative finance. (for expert advice use quant forums)

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Jan 28, 2014

Great advice, thanks! I'm sort of in a catch-22 here. I can't seem to obtain any finance-related internships because employers are looking for someone with finance experience :(

Jan 28, 2014

Well, then want to see if you know how to code, and your bachelors is not in Computer Science. You also have only Web Development experience, that doesn't really convey that you are some hardcore coder.

You have to find (or get some) experience using technologies such as Java/C#, C++, Python, Perl, Excel/VBA and/or Matlab. Things like that will impress them. I have seen programmers who had Masters in Statistics, but they could not code to save their lives.

Learn QuantLib, learn Boost and work on an open source project and do something hard with it. i.e. take QuantLib and make it price something that it doesn't already support the pricing of. Show how you made your own implementation of something faster than the current implementation. Did you know that large Financial Open Source Projects like quickfix are purposely sabotaged by the open-source community? They do this so they are the only ones with the faster version of it...

Also, it took me some time to scan through your resume to find the programming languages that you used/are good at.

And there is nothing wrong with having a 2-page resume.

Jan 28, 2014