What is currently most desired in candidates by employers in quantitative finance/algorithmic trading? Strong quantitative academic background, for example, MSc/PhD in Physics, Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Finance or solid practical skills in C++, Python, R used in the finance context and applications of machine learning and AI in finance?
I totally agree with Vanity, but I would add that it really depends on the employer, and especially at the entry/junior level! Some want a strong quantitative academic background and are asking for an adequate knowledge of programming skills. Others, insist on the practical skills and care less about the academic/educational background (as long as you can prove that you have a certain level of numerical/quantitative knowledge).