It’s all about the computers, and if you’re clueless here’s a chance to fix that…

I’m not sure how I missed the online education revolution, but apparently it’s happening, for free, while I’m busy drinking beer.  I hate it when that happens…

I think it’s pretty obvious that finance, going forward, is going to be about quantitative skills and computers.  Really that’s been partially true for 15 years at least, and it’s certainly not getting any less true.  Consider:

  • Over 40% of NYSE trades have a program trade (a computerized trade of a basket of stocks) on one side or the other.
  • Most market making is now computerized.
  • The last two major market blowups (flash crash & Knight Capital) have been due to faulty programming.
  • JP Morgan is putting in half billion (with a “B”) dollar data centers
  • Even retail brokerage software is designed now for algorithmic trading
  • Statistical arbitrage is the most respected trading approach at major firms.  This may be partially out of cowardice, but still…
  • Pit trading is basically dead.  The exchanges are moving everything to the screen.

As Bob Dylan reminded us, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.  Mind you, he sang (really croaked) that 4 years before some clowns decided to call themselves “The Weathermen” and blow shit up, so it wasn’t intended to be as sinister as it now sounds.

If the wind is blowing inexorably towards computerized and quantitative finance, then you’d be a fool not to go along.  Unfortunately, computer and quant skills are not the most common things in the world.  There’s probably more than a few people reading this who can’t program a computer at all.  The good news is you can fix that, rigorously, for free.  The kind folks at EdX are offering Harvard’s online intro to computer science course for free.  It’s a course designed for non-majors, so if you have the computer skills to be reading this post you should be able to jump in.  I’ve never taken anything through EdX, but seriously what have you got to lose?  If you’re not competent at programming a computer and plan to take trading seriously, hit them up:  https://www.edx.org/courses/HarvardX/CS50x/2012/about

Thanks to StockTwitsU for turning me on this this excellent opportunity.

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2 thoughts on “It’s all about the computers, and if you’re clueless here’s a chance to fix that…

    • I have no idea if they give you a certificate, but they certainly should!

      It seems like an incredible deal – it’s not every day you get to “attend” Harvard for free.

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