Why is C++ more taught/required than python and R in MSc Financial engineering?

Seems like top US/UK schools for MSc financial engineering teach C++ for sure but not python or R.
Don't hedge funds and prop shops use python and R more often than C++ these days?

Not sure what program to learn as an econ major undergraduate.

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Comments (3)

Most Helpful
Dec 2, 2018

In order for code to translate into executing or being a program, it has to go through what's called a "Compiler" which takes the computer code that the human types and the underlying computational system understands. Although C++ takes humans longer to type relative to Python due to restrictions like requiring specifying types (example: whether a variable is a number or grouping of letters), it makes it faster to translate into "Computer Code."

In finance, where speed is pretty important as well as minimizing risk in the form of type errors or compiler errors, C++ is pretty much the best fit. For programs where speed isn't necessary such as data analysis for research, Python or R is a better fit because it dosen't take as long to type. Lastly it's easier to go from C++ to Python and R because you understand the underlying mechanics but not the other way around.

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Dec 2, 2018

It's taught because you can implement garbage collection that doesn't force your allocated memory to lock, which means they're safe to implement in trading applications where momentary blips could mean loss of cash. Python, R and the like have automatic garbage collection (memory cleanup) that basically pause your program for a few milliseconds to run. That's obviously inappropriate when you can't miss any data, so you use something like C++. From a marketing standpoint there's also good differentiation (i.e. no student is going to choose a data masters or bootcamp instead, since those will probably teach you Python), and from a skills narrative it fits the idea that you'll earn more money (C++ programmers are harder to find than Python/R people).

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Dec 2, 2018
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