In the interest of having "canonical questions" on this site ... What is a Quant?
Mark Joshi briefly describes the roles of six types of quants in his advice for wannabe quants:
- Front office or desk quant
- Model validating quant
- Research quant
- Quant developer
- Statistical arbitrage quant
- Capital quant
His classification agrees more or less with the taxonomy contained in the Wikipedia article.
"For the past twenty years, throughout Wall Street and the City of London, in most major and many minor financial institutions, small groups of ex-physicists and applied mathematicians have tried to apply their skills to securities markets. Formerly called “rocket scientists” by those who mistakenly thought that rocketry was the most advanced branch of science, they are now commonly called “quants.” (Emanuel Derman, My Life as a Quant).
"A quant is a brand of industrial scientist who applies mathematical models of uncertainty to financial (or socioeconomic) data and complex financial instruments." (Nassim Taleb, The Black Swan).