I am a programmer and I have no finance background. I am looking for advice as to how to get started in the quant finance industry. My goal would be to have solid understanding about the industry and be able to program something interesting, side project projects. But so far I have no idea how to get started.

So far I think I need to know: math (Statistics in particular), finance (can someone elaborate? share market? economics? options? or are all these just the implementation of the finance theory?).

Also what are the different areas in quant finance. In computing there are say, web, desktop, windows based, linux based, database, business analyst, user interface, designer etc etc.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure this is really on topic, but I guess it could be used as a community wiki later on, as many user might ask the same question and it is somehow related to quantitative finance. $\endgroup$
    – SRKX
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 10:07
  • $\begingroup$ possible duplicate of What is a Quant $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 11:26
  • $\begingroup$ Also see here for an answer about what you need to know. We get this question a lot in various forms. Bottom line, if you're really interested in the answer to your question, spend a bit more time perusing the site first. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 11:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This question is off topic. (Read the bolded words in the FAQ.) And even if it were on-topic, it's too broad for the Stack Exchange format. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 12:05

1 Answer 1


Well I guess as pure programmer, you could be looking to "evolve" to:

An algorithmic trader

which is in a nutshell a programmer designing algorithms which automatically trade in the market.

or a Quantitative developper

A quant is basically a person with strong quantitative background looking, for example, to find models to apply to the financial markets. Such people sometimes want to have people implementing the models for them (sometimes they do it themselves).

I think it will be very difficult to become an algo trader "out of the box". You will first have to get into a financial institution (maybe as a quant developper) and find your way up.

Reading all the books will take ages if you do it as a side project, I would try either to get a master degree in financial engineering, or to look into programs such as the CQF or the CFA, the former being more focused on quantitative finance.


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