What is a Quant Trader?
Quant traders, also known as quants or quantitative traders, use their knowledge of math, finance and computer programming to research and identify financial trading strategies and opportunities. Specific duties of a quant trader might include designing and implementing trading algorithms, analyzing market data and market structures, and performing risk analysis.
In addition to creating, testing, monitoring and troubleshooting their own trading models, quant traders must be able to use and customize existing models to fit their needs. These professionals usually are employed by banks or financial services firms; however, they also might work independently, investing in trades with their own money.
|Educational Requirements||Minimum of a bachelor's degree in computer science, financial engineering or another quantitative field; some employers require a master's degree|
|Job Skills||Trading experience, proficiency in one or more computer programming languages, innovation, willingness to take a risk, teamwork skills, oral and written communication skills|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$130,974 (quantitative trader)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)**||10% (for financial specialists, all other)|
Source: *Glassdoor.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Prospective quant traders typically need at least a bachelor's degree in a quantitative field, such as computer science, operations research, quantitative finance or financial engineering. These programs tend to be heavily focused in math, finance and computer programming, with students taking courses like calculus, data structures and algorithms, micro- and macroeconomics, probability and statistics, financial management, and risk analysis.
Some employers prefer - or even require - that job candidates have earned a graduate degree in one of the noted quantitative fields or a Master of Business Administration with associated quantitative courses.
Employers typically seek quant traders who have at least three years of experience in a trading environment. Quant traders also should be proficient in one or more computer programming languages, such as C++, Java, Perl, Python or Ruby, for building their own algorithms.
Because of the dynamic nature of their work, quant traders must be innovative, willing to take risks and able to work in a fast-paced, high-stress environment. Additionally, they must have the wherewithal to move on if their ideas don't succeed. Quant traders typically work as part of a team that includes researchers, software developers and other traders, so they must be able to collaborate with others, in addition to having excellent oral and written communication skills.
Career Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't offer career outlook statistics specific to quant traders. However, the BLS did report that the group 'financial specialists, all other' should see job growth of 10% in the decade spanning 2016-2026. This was above the average growth for all occupations.
Job and recruiting site Glassdoor.com reported that quant traders earned an average annual salary of $130,974 as of April 2018.
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