What is it like being a trader?

Facebook F1bonacci
Apr 18 24 Comments

I'm a junior still in undergrad (top 10 USNews despite not being a typical CS target) and am pondering trying my hand at quant/trader interviews. So I wanted to ask, what is it like being a quant or trader at firms like Citadel, HRT, Jump...etc?

Is it high pressure and how are the hours like? I trade stocks in my own time and I think this would be a field I'd be potentially interested in.

Thanks in advance

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TOP 24 Comments
  • New PoloMan
    You're not going to be a trader. You're going to be a SWE supporting a trader, expect big pay, potentially long hours, using pre-existing tech to get the job done. It's not exactly glamorous, but it pays well. If you're a CS major this is probably what you'll do. You can probably switch to quant/trader after understanding the business. My suggestion is to work at a couple of big tech companies first then move to fintech/hedge funds, that way you will command respect and make big bucks. I can tell you this from experience having interviewed for these places and rejecting them.
    Apr 18 1
    • Facebook F1bonacci
      OP
      I'm thinking about prepping and interviewing for trading positions and not SWE positions (for the trading companies); although I do think working a couple years in tech then swapping over to finance would be a good move as well.
      Apr 18
  • Facebook RNNAtttn
    It's high pressure, but not in a bad way. The pressure is merely to produce results - very little politics, ass-kissing etc.
    The hours are self-determined. Most people work 50ish. Some work 60.

    Source - was a quant trader at Citadel (quant traders are called quant researchers at Citadel)
    Apr 18 7
    • New Kusha
      How’s the change been from Citadel to FB ? In terms of TC / WLB / stress ?
      Apr 18
    • Morgan Stanley hotChicken
      How much were you making as a quant at citadel? Also yoe when you were earning that amount? Thanks
      Apr 18
    • Facebook RNNAtttn
      I'm an SWE now. I moved for idiosyncratic reasons - wanted to do something different.
      FB vs Citadel: better WLB, less stress, less TC.
      Apr 18
    • Citibank FCGDPX
      Can you tell a little more about how much would the TC decrease? 20% or more?
      Apr 19
    • Facebook AdaGrad
      The exact TC drop depends on too many factors to be generalizable. There's a wide TC band in quant finance, and there's also a wide TC band in FANG offers.
      Fwiw, my TC drop was much more than 20%. But that doesn't mean much.
      Apr 19
  • Goldman Sachs not_Lloyd
    lots of yelling and eating lunch at your desk.
    Apr 18 1
    • Nuveen Investments cfa
      You get lunch?!
      Jul 16
  • Zenreach PrezDTrump
    Working as eng supporting trader is bad imo. U basically are a script kiddie for traders, they come and tell u one off strategy and u just implement what he asks.

    If u wanna be trader u can do masters in financial engineering
    Apr 18 2
    • Facebook RNNAtttn
      MFEs rarely get hired as traders, except maybe at some banks.
      Top undergrad, or PhD.
      Apr 18
    • Bloomberg / Eng THNK<GO>
      I disagree , it’s extensive business knowledge working directly with a trader.
      Apr 18
  • Bloomberg babasheep
    For everyone saying “If you don’t get in as a trader, don’t bother”... it doesn’t work that way. Nobody in this world is going to hand over their money or client money to a fresh grad. You start as a “junior” or “algo analyst” (just read both as trading assistant)... get to know how to read market and write strategy enough for the desk to recognize you. Prove some alphas with trader backing your analysis skills and find the opportunity to step up. People who can’t step up soon retire to just being front-end to backend analysts or be risk managers...
    Apr 18 2
    • Bloomberg / Eng the1
      Well that was the case. There's less and less trading in general. A lot is automated, margins have been squeezed. Your more successful in sales or being a broker.

      I personally don't think it's worth it. Its kind of like trying to make it big at pro sports. Your chances are very low
      Apr 18
    • Bloomberg babasheep
      Yeah most are all “algo trader” and you make more money in the tech nowadays. The big ones... well they are a tough thing to become and no standard path towards it.
      Apr 18
  • Bank of America / IT
    biggie8

    Bank of America IT

    BIO
    I have 20+ experience in tech and banking
    biggie8more
    I know CS and Math guys from TOP schools who are traders. If you don't get in as a trader don't bother. U need a PhD or MFE to be a quant otherwise u will be their lacky.

    Trader life sucks come early no lunch but leave early. My traders only took 2wks a year vacation since u have a book u need to watch or get 0 bonus if you aren't making $$.

    Huge bonus for the 20% of successful traders and fired otherwise. But heydey of trading careers is somewhat past...
    Apr 18 0
  • Bank of America / IT
    biggie8

    Bank of America IT

    BIO
    I have 20+ experience in tech and banking
    biggie8more
    Making tons of money it's great
    Apr 18 4
    • Facebook F1bonacci
      OP
      Is it higher than FANG?
      Apr 18
    • Facebook RNNAtttn
      Significantly higher
      Apr 18
    • Bank of America / IT
      biggie8

      Bank of America IT

      BIO
      I have 20+ experience in tech and banking
      biggie8more
      Trading is about bringing in revenue it's like sales and you get a random cut (or your boss takes it all). A cousin at GS Sr bond sales got $2m bonus one year then fired the next year.

      I saw once the avg tcomp across an entire business at a town hall and it was 500k and that includes admins who make 70k and MDs who make 5m so it's hard to say .. I figure Jr mid trader doing ok is 400-600k tc.. Sr traders making numbers 1m
      Apr 18
    • Bank of America / IT
      biggie8

      Bank of America IT

      BIO
      I have 20+ experience in tech and banking
      biggie8more
      Btw I also know many traders get 0 bonus every year ... It's feed or famine very competitive
      Apr 18

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