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How to break through algo trading/Hedge funds firms

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Senior Software Engineer [L5] at Google5 months ago

I have been working at FAANG companies for 5+ years and would love to consider changing my industry to algo trading / hedge fund firms such as Capital, Jane Street, etc. I heard these companies offer amazing compensations and learning opportunities.

I was wondering what is the best way to break through the industry? Any tips or learning experiences for those that have undergone this transition?

Thank you

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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    5 months ago

    I can understand the appeal of working in one of these fancy high-tech firms: high cash compensation (not tied to RSUs), high prestige, and fascinating work.

    However, just to make sure you do it with eyes wide open, here's a counterargument from friends who have made the transition:

    • At most financial firms, the traders are at the top of the hierarchy, and software devs can be treated as support functions for traders. Contrast this to FAANG, where engineers are treated with the highest regard. (Of course, this depends on the firm, and if you're in a purely algorithmic trading firm, this is less likely to be an issue.)
    • Work/life balance can be a lot worse. There can also be more stress since it's easier to identify each person's contributions to PnL (profit/loss). FAANG will generally have better hours than finance firms.

    Here's the masterclass on finding a company which is a good fit: [Masterclass] How To Choose A Good Company And Team As A Software Engineer

    To answer your question directly:

    • Most of the normal advice for finding a job will apply as you explore algo trading companies: relationships are key. Find other ex-FAANG folks (either in Taro or your Google friends) who made the transition and ask about their experience.
    • Step 1 is getting the interview, step 2 is passing the interview. Are you confident in your ability to pass step 1? If not, don't spend much time on step 2; most of your time should go into developing a prioritized list of companies, and connecting with those people.
    • My sense from doing these interviews a decade ago is that they're much more mathematical/theoretical than Big Tech interviews. Showing mathematical prowess or some trading project will likely help.

    Some additional resources:

    Good luck!