QuoteOriginally posted by: thexyz- is this plan realistic?- I will be in early 40s by the time I apply for my first job as pure quant analyst; is age going to be big limiting factor?Very interesting issue here indeed. I want to share my own story, because I felt xyzneeds a little bit of encouragement..I am currently 38 and working for an investment bank at fixed income trading unit as analyst and developer. My job includes pretty much everything from pre-research of certain trading strategy to build dll stuff in c++ to be used in excel. I started this career at the age of 31, when I enrolled into university to study finance. Before that, I worked as professional musician, playing electric guitar for about 15 years. I had basically two sources of income: teaching job at the local music school and my own top-40 band playing cover songs. At the best year we did up to 100 gigs practically playing everywhere, starting from your toilet, ending up to big parties crowded by hundreds of drunken people. At some point of my career I realized, that I actually never wanted to be professional musician. Since I was a kid, I was only interested in listening music to the point, that I wanted to be able to play things like some of those great guitarists I listened on the records. My love for the guitar and music led me into obsessive practicing routines at my teens, and for years I lived like a monk, only caring about learning the music. Anyway, it is hard to make living as being a musician, where ever you may live in this planet. And it's getting harder. Even you're working hard, you still end up being "semi-poor" person without any excess cash to have a decent car or possibility to make holiday trips into exotic destinations (exclude all these rap superstars). It's cool when you are 19, but close to being 30 it's not. After all, I come from middle-class family. Finally I made very rational decision to change my life, when I bought the books used in university entrance exams..After some introductory courses I discovered great fascination in finance and derivatives. I really do not know why. Maybe, because there is some extremely tough intellectual challenge implied in these issues. Very soon I also realized, that to be able to really understand that stuff, you have to be able to do a bit more than just some compulsory math. Besides my full-time studies, I had managed to get some assistant jobs at finance department, like collecting raw data the staff needed in their own research. Job had quite lousy payoff and inhuman working conditions, but I saw this as a chance to learn something new and useful, and especially getting connected with these people. At that time I was afraid about, whether anyone will ever hire me, especially when they would learn about my "unproductive years" in the past. Anyway, after two years, I got my first summer job at option trading in investment bank. Do not ask me why. Of course I was not authorized to do any trades on my own, but this experience taught a lot about the greeks and options. Also, significant part of my job there was actually doing some vba/excel stuff for traders, so it was actually there I really started to realize the importance of being able to do some programming. Moreover, I did not feel that it was just something you were expected to be able to do. Everytime I managed to do something useful for these guys, I felt extremely great inside. Pretty much the same way, as learning a new set of chords or scale with the guitar. After that summer, I got part-time job as VB6 developer at one small sweatshop doing some commercial risk management software. The boss there was really a nice guy, who actually taught me a lot of very useful stuff by himself. We were sitting so many nights at the office after midnight when trying to solve some programming problem or making some model testing and validations. Two and a half years ago I finally got my current position at this investment bank. I think one of the reason was my ability to do some database programming, and the guys in the bank were actually asking me to do some programming tasks during the interview..At some point I defined three issues for myself to be studied a bit more closely: applied mathematics, financial instruments pricing and mainly c++ programming. I know what Ihave to able to do and also, how I will get there. The rest is basically just a function of time and intelligence (both are unfortunately limited). So far I've been studying these issues outside working hours. I usually spend my evenings with code editor or spreadsheet or books. Because I do not have any kids I am well able to do that. Anyway, I am aware that odds are definitely against me, and I am working against the clock. But for me, the deepest motivation in these days seems to be more the issue itself: to learn more about markets, models and programming. My view is, that everything else is just a by-product, which you will get sooner or later, if you can do something useful for somebody. I have not discovered any type of age racism yet. So far, everybody have only been interested whether I can do the job or not. Anyway, realistically I know there is a lot of jobs out there I will never get into, even if I wanted to. I will never get a chance to be a quantitative developer at some house like Goldman. Fortunately, there is a lot of work to do out of these big houses after all..Have a nice springtimemike
Last edited by MikeJuniperhill
on April 29th, 2009, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.