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When I was 18 I made two decisions that changed my life: I learned how to code and traded my first stock. The code was PHP - and it was awful. The stock was MSFT - and I lost money. But I was hooked. I wanted nothing more than to use code to help me trade. To be a quant. So for the next 10 years, I followed the conventional advice: • Get a degree in business (double major in finance and econ) • Get a master's degree (I got a $90,000 master's degree in finance) • Get industry experience (I traded futures and CVA for a hedge fund and a bank) But I still couldn't break into quant finance. The problem? I didn't have a Ph.D., I didn't have a computer science degree, and I thought I needed both. I started trading options non-professionally and my first trade lost $8,960. I realized I needed more than simple Excel spreadsheets to win. I didn't want to pay the $2,000 for MATLAB, so I became obsessed with Python. I took tutorial after tutorial only to be in the same place I started. I got frustrated and quit. Then I asked myself this question: "What if I learned just enough Python to build a simple backtesting framework"? (This was way before all the frameworks we have today.) And I learned just enough Python to build a simple backtesting framework. And guess what? It worked! Gone was my imposter syndrome. Gone was being overwhelmed with where to start. Gone was getting stuck in tutorial hell. And the best part? I was hooked - again! I had a clear goal in mind and regained the momentum to get started with Python for quant finance. Fast forward 10 years and I've worked as a risk quant for an energy derivatives trading firm, a chief information officer for an agricultural trading firm, and head of data science and analytics for a metals trading firm. (I was even a fintech venture capital investor!) Now (after 20 years) I work at Amazon Web Services and build quant code and trade in my free time.
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