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xploring
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Joined: September 30th, 2010, 1:49 am

Getting a job with a MS in CS

October 20th, 2013, 10:16 pm

Hm it sounds like at least a basic level of computer science is necessary. Guess I'll try to finish up a few core courses in the MSCS before attempting to switch to MS Math. I am not good at programming and it's frustrating to study Quicksort for 3 hours using textbooks, websites, youtube videos and still not understand exactly how it works. Then watch classmates fly through this stuff like reading a comic book. Out of curiosity I went through a real analysis textbook used at my school and learned the monotonic convergence theorem and its application to infinite / harmonic series on a 30 minute bus ride home. I studied discrete math the same way too--just read the assigned textbook and didn't bother going to lectures. What a surprise to discover computer algorithms are so much harder to learn...
Last edited by xploring on October 20th, 2013, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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ArthurDent
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Getting a job with a MS in CS

October 21st, 2013, 12:34 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: xploringHm it sounds like at least a basic level of computer science is necessary. Guess I'll try to finish up a few core courses in the MSCS before attempting to switch to MS Math. I am not good at programming and it's frustrating to study Quicksort for 3 hours using textbooks, websites, youtube videos and still not understand exactly how it works. Then watch classmates fly through this stuff like reading a comic book. Out of curiosity I went through a real analysis textbook used at my school and learned the monotonic convergence theorem and its application to infinite / harmonic series on a 30 minute bus ride home. I studied discrete math the same way too--just read the assigned textbook and didn't bother going to lectures. What a surprise to discover computer algorithms are so much harder to learn...Most of your time as a quant will be spent trying to get computers to do things for you so you will struggle if you have trouble in school understanding how quicksort works.Frankly, I would advise trying to find another line of work.Do an MBA, you will pay will increase too...
 
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capafan2
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Getting a job with a MS in CS

October 21st, 2013, 1:23 am

QuoteHm it sounds like at least a basic level of computer science is necessary. Guess I'll try to finish up a few core courses in the MSCS before attempting to switch to MS Math. Without good programming and IT skills you will not be able to become a quant on Wall Street (most of the time anyways). But there are many career options available even on Wall Street. You could do an MFE or as AD said and MBA. Your math will come handy and you could use Excel as your tool. MS is math is unlikely to get you such as job on Wall Street in my opinion.I know a guy who did Operations Research and is a very good Quant and he went to work for a Startup which does credit scoring for individuals. He learned SAS on the job. He has no CS background. His job was to create Credit Scoring Models using SAS and test them. Eventually they went to the C++ team who scaled them to larger data. His entire role for 10 years was to develop and validate the models which were eventually scaled by the C++ team.There are plenty of roles for Math guys who do only Matlab programming and eventually hand them to the Programmers to scale. I went to school (MS in Statistics) with a lot of these people. They are quite successful but not quite as successful as maybe good Quants are on Wall Street. But they have a decent career. This is how the majority of Math majors work and live by the way. If you want more, consider an MBA or MFE depending on how good your social and communication skills are. Or you won't be successful as an MBA if those are not very good. Most MBA's are light on details. You need to compensate that with soft skills.Not an easy call, I agree. But you need to think hard. Also don't judge your programming acumen with your ability to absorb QuickSort. You will never need it. You need to be able to get comfortable with Algorithms just so you understand space and time complexity. You rarely if ever will use them but it is good to be aware of them. Your everyday programming is simpler yet a very persistent beast. The question is can you live 50 hours a week doing that. You won't know until you try a year at it.
Last edited by capafan2 on October 20th, 2013, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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xploring
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Getting a job with a MS in CS

October 21st, 2013, 4:56 am

Eh, I am the classic nerd--average to below average social skills and somewhat socially anxious, so a MBA is out of the question. I've tried doing sales in the past and it was a disaster. If I had to support myself through commissions I'd starve to death.So, a quant / strategist type of person on Wall Street MUST have good programming skills? I guess if I've come this far with the MSCS I shouldn't stop now. I've worked as a web developer for the last 6 - 7 years before starting grad school, so I do know how to program, but I think it's true that you are either a great programmer or an average one. I know I can get better, but I'll never have a passion or innate talent for it like what I see in some classmates and coworkers.I find the time complexity stuff to be ok, it's mathy and has visual graphs I can understand.Are you sure the MFE is worth more than a MS Math? What if it's from a BB target school? I heard on another forum that MFEs often teach things that are out of date and barely used in the industry anymore and a good MS in Math may be more impressive.
Last edited by xploring on October 20th, 2013, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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DevonFangs
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Getting a job with a MS in CS

October 21st, 2013, 9:14 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: xploringEh, I am the classic nerd--average to below average social skills and somewhat socially anxious, so a MBA is out of the question.Or maybe that's exactly what you need?
 
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DevonFangs
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Getting a job with a MS in CS

October 21st, 2013, 9:21 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: ArthurDentQuoteOriginally posted by: ashkarQuoteOriginally posted by: xploringI guess in terms of career options I was thinking of working as a front office developer (after getting the MSCS) and then moving into a trading role. Is this still possible or is a MFE required now? Cant say about small companies but switching from dev to trading never happens in large banks. If you want to be a trader then do MFE and give it your best shot. Chances of trading position after MFE is also very small but this is the max likelihood path.As I have said two times in this thread, this is an approach that is bound to fail. You are asking "What pays other people well now, how do I get there in 2 years?"Instead you need to ask, "What can I do well, how do I leverage that into a long career?"+1Also, I disagree with capafan's on his PhD-only idea for good quant jobs but hey, who am I to say. And quant jobs aren't even that good anyway. EDIT I mean in banks, no idea about funds.
Last edited by DevonFangs on October 20th, 2013, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Ultraviolet
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Getting a job with a MS in CS

October 21st, 2013, 10:50 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: xploringHm it sounds like at least a basic level of computer science is necessary. Guess I'll try to finish up a few core courses in the MSCS before attempting to switch to MS Math. I am not good at programming and it's frustrating to study Quicksort for 3 hours using textbooks, websites, youtube videos and still not understand exactly how it works. Then watch classmates fly through this stuff like reading a comic book. Out of curiosity I went through a real analysis textbook used at my school and learned the monotonic convergence theorem and its application to infinite / harmonic series on a 30 minute bus ride home. I studied discrete math the same way too--just read the assigned textbook and didn't bother going to lectures. What a surprise to discover computer algorithms are so much harder to learn... You think you're dumber than coding lovers because you cannot comprehend quicksort described in a book, while most guys studying CS simply learn such stuff by heart. If you have a mathematical soul and brain, you can use a smarter approach to learning algorithms: take a vector and think up a sorting algorithm yourself, then try to optimise it, and once you're satisfied with your solution, look for the textbook alternatives. You should also be aware that what nowadays quants usually have in mind when talking about programming is an object-oriented development. OOP to what you understand by "programming" (as I suspect) is like Hilbert space of operators to mathematics. It's a concept allowing you to focus on the code design, utility and safety, while things like quicksort are already implemented in the standard library. I understand you well, though. I love maths and I hate coding - it's so boring and dull that my brain feels like partially shutting down when I do it. The thing is it's becoming more and more popular (traders code in Python and analysts write macros in VB), even in maths when you try to solve some interesting problems you sooner or later end up doing numerical simulations. I would say programming skills are already as universal as speaking English. I wouldn't choose studying English unless I loved it for some reason - I needed it for studies and work so I've learnt it myself.
 
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Cuchulainn
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Getting a job with a MS in CS

October 21st, 2013, 11:18 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: UltravioletQuoteOriginally posted by: xploringHm it sounds like at least a basic level of computer science is necessary. Guess I'll try to finish up a few core courses in the MSCS before attempting to switch to MS Math. I am not good at programming and it's frustrating to study Quicksort for 3 hours using textbooks, websites, youtube videos and still not understand exactly how it works. Then watch classmates fly through this stuff like reading a comic book. Out of curiosity I went through a real analysis textbook used at my school and learned the monotonic convergence theorem and its application to infinite / harmonic series on a 30 minute bus ride home. I studied discrete math the same way too--just read the assigned textbook and didn't bother going to lectures. What a surprise to discover computer algorithms are so much harder to learn... You think you're dumber than coding lovers because you cannot comprehend quicksort described in a book, while most guys studying CS simply learn such stuff by heart. If you have a mathematical soul and brain, you can use a smarter approach to learning algorithms: take a vector and think up a sorting algorithm yourself, then try to optimise it, and once you're satisfied with your solution, look for the textbook alternatives. You should also be aware that what nowadays quants usually have in mind when talking about programming is an object-oriented development. OOP to what you understand by "programming" (as I suspect) is like Hilbert space of operators to mathematics. It's a concept allowing you to focus on the code design, utility and safety, while things like quicksort are already implemented in the standard library. I understand you well, though. I love maths and I hate coding - it's so boring and dull that my brain feels like partially shutting down when I do it. The thing is it's becoming more and more popular (traders code in Python and analysts write macros in VB), even in maths when you try to solve some interesting problems you sooner or later end up doing numerical simulations. I would say programming skills are already as universal as speaking English. I wouldn't choose studying English unless I loved it for some reason - I needed it for studies and work so I've learnt it myself.Induction (maths) versus deduction (CS) ?
 
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capafan2
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Getting a job with a MS in CS

October 21st, 2013, 11:37 am

QuoteI would say programming skills are already as universal as speaking English. I wouldn't choose studying English unless I loved it for some reason - I needed it for studies and work so I've learnt it myself.This! You put it well. I don't get the universal hatred for programming. It is only a tool to get the job done. Why attach so much meaning to it. If you grind your teeth and just learn it like a foreign language. DF - I meant that Quant jobs are still heavily competitive right? I don't know as I am not in those circles anymore. But the bad thing about careers which are very competitive is that you are usually competing with a lot of qualified candidates. If you don't have the right credentials you may be good for the job but you will not make the cut. Those areas Ivy League badges count for a lot. I always thought that Phd. was a badge of honor for Quant jobs as almost every quant I came across was a Phd.
 
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DevonFangs
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Getting a job with a MS in CS

October 21st, 2013, 12:05 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: capafan2DF - I meant that Quant jobs are still heavily competitive right? I don't know as I am not in those circles anymore. But the bad thing about careers which are very competitive is that you are usually competing with a lot of qualified candidates. If you don't have the right credentials you may be good for the job but you will not make the cut. Those areas Ivy League badges count for a lot. I always thought that Phd. was a badge of honor for Quant jobs as almost every quant I came across was a Phd.I ain't no PhD and so aren't some other folks here, but we all had some work experience before FO and just elbowed the way up. Like small steps towards the elite -- which BTW is not so glamorous as people think. But yeah, most of the guys are hardcore academics who wish they could go back and do topology again.
Last edited by DevonFangs on October 20th, 2013, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Cuchulainn
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Getting a job with a MS in CS

October 21st, 2013, 12:21 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: DevonFangsQuoteOriginally posted by: capafan2DF - I meant that Quant jobs are still heavily competitive right? I don't know as I am not in those circles anymore. But the bad thing about careers which are very competitive is that you are usually competing with a lot of qualified candidates. If you don't have the right credentials you may be good for the job but you will not make the cut. Those areas Ivy League badges count for a lot. I always thought that Phd. was a badge of honor for Quant jobs as almost every quant I came across was a Phd.I ain't no PhD and so aren't some other folks here, but we all had some work experience before FO and just elbowed the way up. Like small steps towards the elite -- which BTW is not so glamorous as people think. But yeah, most of the guys are hardcore academics who wish they could go back and do topology again.There's another group of applied/numerics mathematicians (CFD, numerical analysis, engineering) for whom computation is part of the experience.Just take John von Neumann as the greatest polymath of the 20th century.// Topology is basically useless.
Last edited by Cuchulainn on October 20th, 2013, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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DevonFangs
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Getting a job with a MS in CS

October 21st, 2013, 12:24 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: CuchulainnQuoteOriginally posted by: DevonFangsQuoteOriginally posted by: capafan2DF - I meant that Quant jobs are still heavily competitive right? I don't know as I am not in those circles anymore. But the bad thing about careers which are very competitive is that you are usually competing with a lot of qualified candidates. If you don't have the right credentials you may be good for the job but you will not make the cut. Those areas Ivy League badges count for a lot. I always thought that Phd. was a badge of honor for Quant jobs as almost every quant I came across was a Phd.I ain't no PhD and so aren't some other folks here, but we all had some work experience before FO and just elbowed the way up. Like small steps towards the elite -- which BTW is not so glamorous as people think. But yeah, most of the guys are hardcore academics who wish they could go back and do topology again.There's another group of applied/numerics mathematicians (CFD, numerical analysis, engineering) for whom computation is part of the experience.Just take John von Neumann as the greatest polymath of the 20th century.// Topology is basically useless.A topologist is a man who doesn't know the difference between a coffee cup and a doughnut.
 
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DevonFangs
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Getting a job with a MS in CS

October 21st, 2013, 12:25 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: DevonFangsQuoteOriginally posted by: CuchulainnQuoteOriginally posted by: DevonFangsQuoteOriginally posted by: capafan2DF - I meant that Quant jobs are still heavily competitive right? I don't know as I am not in those circles anymore. But the bad thing about careers which are very competitive is that you are usually competing with a lot of qualified candidates. If you don't have the right credentials you may be good for the job but you will not make the cut. Those areas Ivy League badges count for a lot. I always thought that Phd. was a badge of honor for Quant jobs as almost every quant I came across was a Phd.I ain't no PhD and so aren't some other folks here, but we all had some work experience before FO and just elbowed the way up. Like small steps towards the elite -- which BTW is not so glamorous as people think. But yeah, most of the guys are hardcore academics who wish they could go back and do topology again.There's another group of applied/numerics mathematicians (CFD, numerical analysis, engineering) for whom computation is part of the experience.Just take John von Neumann as the greatest polymath of the 20th century.// Topology is basically useless.A topologist is a man who doesn't know the difference between a coffee cup and a doughnut.One for farmer:Moebius strippers only show you their back side.
 
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Cuchulainn
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Getting a job with a MS in CS

October 21st, 2013, 12:49 pm

Why study topology?
 
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Cuchulainn
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Getting a job with a MS in CS

October 21st, 2013, 12:53 pm

Quote
Last edited by Cuchulainn on October 20th, 2013, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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