I completed my undergraduate work in computer science in India at CHRIST University. I was always interested in the financial markets and in my first internship after graduation at GammaTrade as a Financial Analyst, I learned how algo trades are executed and how financial Python was being implemented. Quite soon I realized that some things could be automated; however, I felt that there was more to this and that I was not taking advantage of the theory and the real technology that was coming into the picture. So, I talked to a few people in the industry and from there I learned about the Certificate in Quantitative Finance (CQF).
The best part of the course for me was not only discovering more about the algorithmic trading and a career path there, but also gaining a background in risk management. When a quant strategist is deploying a trading algorithm, obviously he or she must also think about risk management and how to preserve capital. This knowledge gave me a broader angle to consider professionally as I continued my studies. I have many colleagues who have been in the industry for a long time and getting input from them has also been important because they have seen the markets going up and down over many different time periods.
I completed my final project on a trading theme and that has helped in my work since then, particularly in generating reports and testing ideas rigorously.
When starting my CQF studies, I focused hard on the maths primer because I knew that math might be an obstacle for me and I wanted to address it effectively. Within the program, several other CQF delegates and I started a small study group; just as I did not have a strong math background, some people did not have a strong computer science background, so we had complementary skill sets and were able to learn from each other throughout the course. This helped make our CQF journey very smooth and pleasant. I completed my final project on a trading theme and that has helped in my work since then, particularly in generating reports and testing ideas rigorously.
I had a knowledge of algo trading already, but the CQF enhanced my understanding and now when my colleagues are talking in quantitative terms, I can see what they need and help in creating solutions.
Since completing the CQF, I have joined a company in India called IIFL Securities as a Deputy Manager and I look after the IT infrastructure and their algo trading desk. This includes working with Open APIs and their migration and integration with our system. I had a knowledge of algo trading already, but the CQF enhanced my understanding and now when my colleagues are talking in quantitative terms, I can see what they need and help in creating solutions. I would also note that the books we received during the CQF have been useful – I wasn’t able to read all of them cover to cover when I was on the program because we had to focus on the specific course material, which was so descriptive that it took time to master those concepts. But since then, if we take the book on Python for example: I read it once while doing the course and I read it again afterwards and this time the insights were very different. I can see the examples in a deeper way now. I will keep these books on my shelf and keep referring to these great reference materials quite often. I also stay in touch with the CQF through access to the lectures and the Lifelong Learning offerings that are available to us. My hope is that the alumni will find new ways to keep the learning going – there are many opportunities to connect and stay in touch on the journey through the world of quant finance.