A Quantitative Model Developer or “Quant” is an individual who uses computer modeling to process data. This data is used to make decisions for a company or financial firm in order to determine risk assessments, pricing, or investment opportunities. They may have different specific duties depending on their company or industry, but all use scientific methods to analyze data.
- Excellent compensation
- Field is growing – an opportunity to be a part of a growing field.
- Able to work independently and deliver data as needed.
A typical day can depend greatly on where a Quant is working. Each company or firm may have different daily expectations for these individuals. However, you can expect the following:
- Meeting with other analysts via text, phone, teleconference, email, or in person to determine best use of data.
- Create programs to process historical and investment data – including collecting data.
- Study trends in financial markets and industry.
- Use data to assist in assessing other team members
- Create reports and presentations.
Much of the work of a Quant is computer based and you must be well versed in not only finance but computer programming as well.
- Critical Thinking
- Excellent reading comprehension and active listening.
- Complex Problem Solving
- Math – through statistics and calculus.
- Engineering knowledge.
- Analytical Software such as MATLAB
- Coding Software and Language such as Visual Basic, Python, C++
- Planning software for companies
- Database software
- Investment Banks
- Hedge Funds
- Sell-side Firms
- Insurance Firms
- Financial Software Developers
Becoming a Quantitative Model Developer can take several years of education and experience. Emphasis is often on the programming side of the equation, but it is important to be well versed in finance as well.
You will be expected to be fluent in programming languages such as C++ and Python and also to be able to develop software for your company. Analysis programs are often developed in house and proprietary. This means you can spend several years fine-tuning a program for a company and lose all access when you leave – you won’t own what you create.
You can expect to spend a lot of time honing your computer programming and software skills before finding a job in financial markets as a quant.
Quantitative development is a trend in Finance on its own. Financial markets are relying more and more on data analysis and software solutions to developing investment plans and products for their clients. As the emphasis grows, it is still unknown if more programmers will be needed to further develop software, or if fewer will be needed to maintain.
- Computer programming
- Playing video games
- Math in school
- Solving logic puzzles
- Bachelor’s Degree – Computer Programming, Software Development, Math
- Financial Classes are a plus
- Master’s – MBA, Financial Engineering, Quantitative Financial Modeling
- Experience as data analyst and with data mining can be considered instead of education.
- Ph.D – If moving up in the industry, many individuals obtain a Ph.D
- Computer programming
- Math – Advanced math
- Financial Courses
- Data Analysis
Most Quants do not get their job directly out of undergraduate. Expect to spend several years working in data research or software development. Working in the financial field is not as important as demonstrating skill in data analysis. It is important to build your network during this time as there can be a great deal of crossover between a financial data modeling firm and a software development firm.
It is also highly recommended to obtain a Master’s Degree. Financial Engineering is a helpful field, as is Business Administration. Some schools offer a degree in Quantitative Analysis as well. You will need to demonstrate this knowledge as well as a willingness to take risks and meet the demands of financial traders. This means long hours and stressful conditions.
Depending on your education and experience, you can expect to work as an associate for several years. If you have a Master’s or Ph.D, you have a much better chance of moving up to a Vice President position. Beyond that, you can capitalize on your position to work at a different firm or get promoted to executive director or Vice President.
Many individuals will stay at the VP level, but you might be able to move up to Managing Director or further based on your ambition.
- Investopedia – Learn about basic securities investment.
- Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
- Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals
- The Wall Street Journal
- Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis
- Investor's Business Daily
- Take Action Now:
- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority – Learn about licensure for analysis
- https://www.learnpython.org/ - Start learning Python, one of the essential programming languages.
- https://www.learncpp.com/ - Learn C++, another essential language.
- Software Engineer or Developer
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- Risk Management