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Total Posts: 215
Joined: Mar 2011
Posted: 2017-11-01 12:58
"Write what you needed to hear when you were younger."

In a phield where it's easy to get lost in sophistication at the expense of the basics (read any of my posts, or my first NP handle for example), I want to share some recommendations for a college grad who heard there's money in banking but can't† get a seat:

  • coding: learn node. Javascript, not ruby or python, is the language I recommend to newbies these days. Yes, depending what you eventually end up doing, you might learn C, C++, design patterns, who knows what. But writing a few tiny working programs you can share with others is the first step.

  • trading: tastytrade youtube channel. This is one place you can listen to veteran floor trader banter. You can also find squawkbox and pit audio online. If so far the only adults you have listened to are math and economics professors, you need this.

    Learn what is "locals", "paper", "handle", and "lift". Watch some prices move around.

  • volatility: volcube. You can get a 1-week free trial. Youtube videos show the market-maker scenario: someone chats you an offer or asks you to make one; you look at your book and see if it balances what you already have. Basic arithmetic of how options with differing strikes and expirations add together in a moving-price environment.

  • sitting at a screen: download the free interactive brokers traders workstation and open a free demo account. Just have a look around at the instruments. If you have access to a Bloomberg terminal spend some time there too.

  • formality: take a look at exchange documents, lawsuits, SEC filings (eg D and 13-F, or edgar). Forums, blogs, textbooks, and chatrooms may or may not be real, but somebody really got sued, a real person with a real phone number really raised that money, etc.

  • biography: check out Fred Schwed's The Pleasure Was All Mine. Stories of his father shouting at the curbside market in the days of hat and horse—when turnover < market cap.

  • microstructure: have a look at Larry Harris' book and Dale Rosenthal's online notes.

  • A lot of young people, not just me, think that doing the hardest thing is the answer. I saw a CalTech phorum where the (smartest) kids (ever) were thinking in terms of "Whichever major is the hardest". In quant land, the measure/gauge/quantum stuff is actually more likely to be wrong—and even trendy computer stuff (DL, FPGA) may be less portable than you think.

    Depending where you interview you may need to teach yourself to whiteboard various computer science 101 stuff, like write a Vector class or discuss time and space to do some task in some way.

    Finally be cognizant that the world is a big place; many people respond to that by saying "I don't know; how about whatever makes the most money". (Bill Deresiewicz in Excellent Sheep documents this mentality among Yale students. Paul Graham actually advises people to think this way.) An alternative is "I don't know; something that uses my major." It's O.K. and in fact common to not have much self-knowledge or a well developed professional identity when you finish university.

    My 2¢. HTH someone.

    † Check two of Peter Cappelli's recent books: Will college pay off? and Why good people can't get jobs for insight on the phenomenon of training oneself in things employers used to train you in after completing a liberal higher education.


Total Posts: 1599
Joined: Sep 2006
Posted: 2017-11-01 13:30
1. It's who you know, not what you know.
2. Learn how to have a coffee meeting (including small talk).
3. Then get into the tech stuff.


Total Posts: 215
Joined: Mar 2011
Posted: 2020-03-10 23:02
Hey check it out. It turns out the head of FPGA for Allston provides better information than your professor.

(NB: This no longer falls under “basics”.)


Total Posts: 500
Joined: Mar 2005
Posted: 2020-03-10 23:22
1. It takes x3 as long
2. Money makes money
3. You can't buy reputation
4. Always do the right thing - however hard. You will feel good/better than the alternative and you lead to #3.

On a laager on a hill. A long way from Avondale.
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