When quants struggle to work from home
If you work in financial services, you’ve likely been working from home for months. Even after things are back to normal, many banks look likely to make work from home at least a partial option. So, if you’re a quant or developer what are the tips to work from home?
Keeping track of what’s going on
Version control tools and platforms, such as GitHub, Git and BitBucket have always been important, particularly if you’re working in a team on the same bits of code. No one wants to be the person knowingly committing code which breaks everything! When everyone is working remotely it becomes even more important to keep track of what’s going on with code changes and to keep an eye on project tracking tools like JIRA, and to be responsive. If you’re a quant, being away from the trading floor, means that it’ll take more effort to monitor the market too.
Your video conferencing setup
Are you on mute? Your video isn’t working? Can you hear me? We’ve all heard a variation of these questions on calls over the past few months. It’s important to get your video conferencing setup sorted properly before any call. If you’ve already got a separate SLR camera many companies including Canon, Nikon, Sony etc. have released webcam USB drivers, so you can use your SLR camera as a webcam. I can assure that the image will be better than anything from your laptop webcam (I even tried a 10 year old SLR, which was way better). If you want to splash out, an HDMI to USB box will deliver even better video quality, provided you camera can output 1080p/4K video.
When it comes to audio, it’s worth considering getting a separate microphone or headset. If you’re on a call for an hour, it’s much easier for the person on the other end if they can see and hear you clearly.
Use the right messaging tool
I don’t think I’d ever heard the term “Zoom fatigue” until this year. Whilst video calls are useful and the next best thing to an in-person meeting, could your video call simply be an e-mail or even an instant message? It’s important to choose the right means of communication for the right task. However, it’s not an excuse to use 10 ways of communicating the same point to someone!
Develop new quant skills and explore open source
You can explore many of the quant webinars that have been running during this period (including Thalesians, which I help to organise). You might want to delve into GitHub a bit more to find interesting open source projects, which could be of use in your work.
You can also try your hand contributing to open source projects (and yes, if you want to move job this can become of your CV). Of course, when it comes to starting or contributing to open source projects, you’ll have to see what your firm’s policy is on this. It should be said that over the years, financial firms have opened up to open source a bit more, eg. Man AHL open source Arctic for storing tick data. In many cases tech firms still contribute much more code to sites like GitHub.
Saeed Amen is a systematic FX trader, running a proprietary trading book trading liquid G10 FX, since 2013. He developed systematic trading strategies at major investment banks including Lehman Brothers and Nomura, and runs Cuemacro, a consulting and research firm focused on systematic trading.
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