Stephen – Junior Quant trader
Junior Quant trader
What is your job?
I work as a quant trader engaged on the trading front lines; researching, implementing and evaluating trading strategies.
What’s your background?
I took a dual Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and Mathematics at the University of Queensland, and wanted my career path to follow civil engineering. But, while working as an intern at a structural engineering firm, I found my real interest lay in mathematics and problem-solving rather than client-focused project delivery and conservative design. Fortunately, my dual degree offered me alternatives.
I had no formal programming training but had already begun to explore programming as a way of better applying my mathematical knowledge. After applying for a number of internships through my university’s mathematics department, I accepted an offer from Tibra’s Austinmer office. The placement worked out well and I was subsequently offered a graduate position.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Absolutely! Innovation is at the heart of successful trading and I would argue that the diverse backgrounds of the team keeps ideas fresh and helps prevent stagnation. It isn’t essential to have high levels of mathematics and programming experience, or a background in finance, but you do need to understand and communicate mathematical ideas, and want to engage in program development. While most of Tibra’s quants have mathematics, engineering, or computing backgrounds; I think that it’s more important to have a willingness to learn, to keep an open mind, and to have the courage to take the initiative when needed.
What’s the coolest thing about your job?
Working in an office with a gorgeous beach virtually in your backyard has to be up there, but I would say it’s more about the pace and scale of the trading I’m involved in. Completing a project and watching calculations happen at lightning speed is beyond exciting. And the way the markets are set-up means we need to constantly innovate to stay ahead of the game.
What are the limitations of your job?
Financial markets are highly competitive and as you can imagine, Tibra has high expectations of its employees. Hours can be long, particularly if a project is urgent and involves international trading, but the rewards are there.
Three pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student…
The first would be to begin learning to program earlier and focus on building personal projects. Personal projects are a great way to both refine programming ability and gain an understanding of the full process involved in building a useful program.
Second, figure out what’s important and don’t waste time trying to perfect the trivial.
Finally, don’t miss tutorial sign-on and get stuck in with 8:00ams!