SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

 
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jomni
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Certified Trading System Developer (CTSD)?

May 8th, 2006, 12:00 am

Article
 
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linuxuser99
Posts: 835
Joined: March 26th, 2004, 2:51 pm

Certified Trading System Developer (CTSD)?

May 8th, 2006, 7:23 am

Better to get ordained Universal Life Church and pray that you hire good developers.Seriously - this sort of thing only works when it gets a critical mass and the prospects of that are low indeed.
 
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Andrew
Posts: 55
Joined: August 20th, 2001, 7:33 pm

Certified Trading System Developer (CTSD)?

May 10th, 2006, 2:58 pm

I agree that such a certification really works when it is widely accepted, which prevents people from taking it, lessening its acceptance.The first people to take it will be students of the Financial Markets graduate program at Illinois Institute of Technology Stuart School of Business. The founders of the CTSD teach at that school are very competent in their respective fields and offer a challenging set of exams.However, early adopters are on the vanguard of quantitative finance, right?
 
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DominicConnor
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Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

Certified Trading System Developer (CTSD)?

May 15th, 2006, 7:06 am

Linuxuser is right.Speaking as a pimp "Certified" is not a word I'd take seriously unless I was convinced about the program.With all due modesty I'm vastly more up to speed on this stuff than the average HH or recruiting manager at a bank, and I have no warm fuzzies about it at all.For a start it would it have to be used by a variety of institutions, not just one"institute".The day will come when such a cert has value.But not today.I can see some value in certification in a particular product. I don't know TraderDNA very well but I'm suprised at the idea you can become a master of it in 2 days.
 
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Knoppus
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Joined: May 13th, 2006, 2:46 am

Certified Trading System Developer (CTSD)?

May 17th, 2006, 2:38 am

While it is true that a certification does not ensure a good employee or even a certain skill-level, it does help immensely in the initial weeding-out process. Having gone through the unenviable process of trying to locate good developers with very specific quantitative finance and trading skill-sets, I sincerely wish I had a "tag", if you will, like this that would help to draw my attention to applicants worth a second look. I am certain that I have spoken to far more people than I would have liked in the fear that I might miss a strong candidate with a mediocre resume; I am fairly confident that some of those strong candidate/mediocre resume combos probably slipped through anyway.I have worked with graduates of the various IIT Master's of Financial Markets programs, and on the whole they have been substantially stronger "out of the box" than graduates of most other programs. I have likewise encouraged employees and peers to pursue a degree with this institution, and approved substantial levels of tuition reimbursement to make it possible. All of this leads me to take umbrage at the use of the quoted term ["institute"] with respect to this school. Do not confuse it with the like of ITT - it is a prestigious private university, not a graduate-in-30-days diploma printing house like you imply.No, certifications cannot succeed without critical mass. No arguments there. No, this brand-spanking new certification does not have critical mass yet. How could it, since it has not inducted its first certification-holder yet? I can tell you that it has FLUNKED every single one of the graduates that attempted to pass it, except one, and he has only taken one of the three tests. Maybe we're being a bit premature in marginalizing this idea before it even gets started, hmm?With all due modesty I'm vastly more up to speed on what I look for and what would help me in the candidate selection process than anyone whose comments I have read on this forum. And whether someone gets warm fuzzies about a program they know nothing about concerns me not in the slightest. I hope this certification takes traction so I can use it. I hope it attracts the kind of quality people it has stated it is looking to certify, so that I can hire them. I'll give it some time to achieve those goals (like YEARS, not days), and only then will I pass judgement on it. I suggest you do the same.
 
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hollander68
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Joined: May 15th, 2006, 8:25 pm

Certified Trading System Developer (CTSD)?

May 17th, 2006, 4:07 pm

I think CTSD is for financial engineers, not just programmers. Ive been programming for 10 years, but I dont think I could pass either the quant and trading tests.
 
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DominicConnor
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Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

Certified Trading System Developer (CTSD)?

May 17th, 2006, 6:26 pm

I've interviewed people as well, and there's huge waste in that process.One MD at a bank told me that recruitment occupied around 25% of his (rather expensive) time.So a good label is useful, and of course logos & brands evolved at a time when it changed from knowing the man who sold you good to it being some random stranger.My problem with the qualification is that it's not industry standard, and lacks grading.
 
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hollander68
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Certified Trading System Developer (CTSD)?

May 17th, 2006, 6:41 pm

I think the question should be: would you hire someone who passed the CTSD? Have you looked at the body of knowledge? Sheesh!
 
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DominicConnor
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Certified Trading System Developer (CTSD)?

May 17th, 2006, 7:47 pm

With all due modesty I'm vastly more up to speed on what I look for and what would help me in the candidate selection process than anyone whose comments I have read on this forum.With all due modesty, I'd go head to head with you, interested also to see the logic behind your statement.I have two hats here, a former head of IT who hired people like this, and now as a pimp, and is my way, I'll call it straight.I don't like industry certificates, and this looks like one of them. Maybe I'm wrong, I hang out here to get educated about this sort of thing, 99% of the people who look at CVs don't.That means as a pimp, I don't see so much that helps me sell such a person.I will make some effort to correct people's views, but tell me the truth, I'm a big boy. As an employer exactly how much of your view of the value of a qualification is going to change from a headhunter trying to sell to you ?If I know the certification, preferably by meeting alumni then my prejudice will degrade.The way it works is that you have to convince pimps like me that the course is good, else we don't choose such candidates over others.No, I don't think it should be that way either, but it is, but you knew that didn't you ?I admit freely I haven't looked at the body of the course, hold on, Ok done it now.Yeah looks nice. Worry about the references to TraderDNA though. Rather odd about languages...
 
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hollander68
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Certified Trading System Developer (CTSD)?

May 17th, 2006, 8:29 pm

Re: I admit freely I haven't looked at the body of the course, hold on, Ok done it now. Yeah looks nice. That's what I thought you'd say! In general, its a good idea to know what you're talking about before you form opinions. You know what happens when you assume!
Last edited by hollander68 on May 16th, 2006, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Knoppus
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Certified Trading System Developer (CTSD)?

May 17th, 2006, 8:35 pm

DCFC, you make a reasonable request for explanation, and one which I will honor.In general, industry certificates are not worth more than the 3 to 4 letters that are expended on a resume to note them. However, they do indeed help to tip the scales from "toss" to "chat" when a candidate is borderline on paper and the recruiter selling them to me is unable to push my magic buttons and peak my interest. In my experience, there are two reasons why a candidate is borderline on paper: 1) s/he is borderline, skill-wise; and 2) s/he has a hard time selling him/herself. Neither of these are great, from an employment perspective, admittedly; but sometimes we must overlook some marketing deficiencies when examining a candidate who will be performing quantitative analysis and trading system development work. If I have a star player who can program circles around most of my developers, out-quant most of my dedicated quants, and out-trade most of my traders, I don't care if that person has two heads and one of them is constantly singing at the top of its lungs. We'll just put them in a sound-proof room and let 'em rip.Finding people with broad enough and deep enough knowledge in the three areas that this CTSD thing seems to test is very difficult. Like a prospector kneeling in a Western Wyoming stream, I sift a lot of mud before I see that gold nugget. Any improvement to my equipment is a good thing.Is this particular certification an improvement to my prospecting equipment? I don't know. No one does, since it's only just now getting rolling. All I am saying is that we shouldn't shoot it down without even looking at its requirements. Give it some time. Let it certify a few folks. If you are as big a player in this small industry as you claim to be, you will undoubtedly have opportunities to evaluate one or more of its alumni in the course of your daily business. If you find them to be more capable than the random group of misfits one finds at a resume churn-and-burn house, then the developers of this CTSD thing will have achieved their goal. If not, then please by all means blow the whistle and shoot it down. But until then, let's remember that ignorance of an idea does not necessarily imply it is a bad idea.I am loosely acquainted with some of the people involved in the body of knowledge development, and it is clear to me that their motives are pure: they want to create a system whereby they improve the industry as a whole, and help the best students and practitioners they come in contact with to succinctly state their capability contexts. They have no intention of limiting this designation to IIT grads. On the contrary, they hope to convince the best and brightest from all similar programs to participate so that cross-comparisons are more meaningful.With all due respect, however, convincing recruiters (or pimps, as you like to colorfully call them) of the value of this or another course is not high on my priority list. If I am looking for a particular designation or achievement on a resume, I expect the recruiter I am working with to limit the resumes I review to those containing that designation or achievement. Failure to work with me appropriately on that is very easily rectified with a single phonecall. In my experience, recruiters do not do the appropriate homework when looking at candidates or when attempting to grasp my hiring needs. They look for keywords and make snap judgements based on what they've seen before. Your statement "I admit freely I haven't looked at the body of the course," after you've already done quite a bit of judging in your previous posts, tends to kind of prove my point. Tags like this help catch the eye of uninformed and ignorant recruiters who are scanning for keywords. Hell, maybe in a year or two I'll be able to simply google for it.But I'll agree with you on the TraderDNA stuff. No idea what that requirement is all about.Enough rambling. I hope this helps you understand where I'm coming from.
 
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DominicConnor
Posts: 11684
Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

Certified Trading System Developer (CTSD)?

May 18th, 2006, 7:50 am

Knoppus, you have an advantage over me here. I don't know the people doing the CTSD, so I can't judge the purity of their motives.Of course I know the 7City guys, and my work brings me into contact with educators, and I'll be 100% honest that it's stupidly hard to keep track of it all.I came up with a stupid number a while back. My guess is that around 8,000 people are currently studying to go into some variant of quant work.It may be more.My intuition rejects this, but when you look at the fact that every university has at least one finance course (my alma mater has the record with about 25), and that people from physics, maths etcare moving this way you end up with silly numbers.You're right, many recruiters are lazy and ignorant. I like to think we're neither, but I will share with you that the most lazy and ignorant ones have a much larger market share than us.They must be doing something right Some of the better recruiters are forming relationships with course providers, and that makes everyone's life better, but if the course is to serve it's alumni well, it must take into account the process by which people get jobs.
 
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Jeriot
Posts: 97
Joined: January 16th, 2007, 11:54 am

Certified Trading System Developer (CTSD)?

May 1st, 2008, 12:04 pm

A friend of mine sent me the link to their website, so I took a look. Good idea, I thought, a qualification so I can become a program trader!Alas when I googled the term "CTSD", the only relevant link was with the Technical Analyst on the 3rd page. The body of knowledge looks good, and I got pretty excited when I saw the range of recommended books, but I thought the sample examination questions are totally disappointing. (One of the questions asked what a martingale is =S. ) Examination format is in the form of MCQ, which means it's really not very "quanty". I mean, I don't know what they are trying to sell here. Technologists with a basic understanding of financial maths? (I don't know any programming so can't comment on the programming paper.) Or are all industrial qualifications at about the same type of level? (Not sure about you, but I thought it reminded me a little of CFA Part 1, although CFA does cover a large syllabus for one exam, which is kinda the point, I reckon). Would be handy if someone can compare this with the CQF. Is this the closest qualification one can get for program trading? The upside is, of course, the cost is significantly cheaper than the CQF. Makes it that much more accessible for unemployed guys like me.
 
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MichaelL
Posts: 22
Joined: July 31st, 2002, 6:45 am

Certified Trading System Developer (CTSD)?

May 2nd, 2008, 3:39 pm

Just a personal view, but '** Certified ' on a CV is something that I immediately ignore at best. I think for Oracle DBA's maybe it would be useful, I don't really know. But really I've found such certifications for developers to be meaningless, in practice. Through experience, I'm actually wary of people that have such certifications on their CV. A diploma/Msc/ fine. Sometimes I think Certification means little more than 'I paid the fee to sit the easy exam'. When it comes to 'sifting' candidates as described below, would I trust a certification - absolutely not, no way. I would look at the CV, how it has been edited, and meet the person (if the cv looks good enough). I should point out I also ignore most psychometric testing, which personally I regard as useless.
Last edited by MichaelL on May 1st, 2008, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Jeriot
Posts: 97
Joined: January 16th, 2007, 11:54 am

Certified Trading System Developer (CTSD)?

May 3rd, 2008, 12:30 pm

Having said that, the total cost of the qualification is only £495, and they guarantee you a job or your money back. Might be worth treating the £495 as some sort of recruitment agent's fee. The knowledge is useful anyway, if you want to get into that line of work. Seems like there's nothing to lose actually.
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