Back to Blog

How To Become a Quantitative Analyst 2023 Career Guide
Data Analytics

How To Become a Quantitative Analyst: 2024 Career Guide

10 minute read | May 19, 2023
Sakshi Gupta

Written by:
Sakshi Gupta

Free Data Analytics Course

Jumpstart your journey with 25 essential learning units in data analytics. No cost, just knowledge.

Enroll for Free

Ready to launch your career?

If you’re interested in a career in data, and have a knack for finance and accounting, then you should definitely consider a job as a quantitative analyst. Quantitative analysts use data to guide decision-making when it comes to money and investments, and they’re upending the idea that investing is as unpredictable as forecasting the weather. 

What a quantitative analyst does is clear, but how to become one is less certain. One of the most challenging aspects of building a career as a quantitative analyst is the breadth of knowledge and expertise one needs. To excel in this role, you’ll need an aptitude for business and finance, but you’ll also need technical chops—this is a data science role, after all. 

Wondering how you can acquire such a wide range of skills? Then you’re in the right place. Below, we’ll tell you about what skills you need to work in quantitative analysis, and how you can land a job in this industry. 

What Does a Quantitative Analyst Do?

Quantitative analysis is a multidisciplinary field that combines mathematical models, financial analysis, programming skills, and investment strategies. The goal is to help financial institutions use quantitative models to make better decisions. Financial sector institutions like hedge funds, investment banks, and insurance companies all hire quantitative analysts for financial analysis. 

How To Become a Quantitative Analyst: A Nine-Step Guide

How To Become a Quantitative Analyst A Nine-Step Guide

It’s evident that any company that operates in the financial markets relies heavily on quantitative analysts. Follow these nine steps to launch a career in the field:

  1. Learn About the Industry and the Fundamentals

  2. Research and Plan Your Specialization

  3. Meet the Educational Requirements (And Keep Learning)

  4. Hone the Essential Skills

  5. Build Your Portfolio

  6. Remember: Your Network Is Your Net Worth

  7. Find a Mentor

  8. Pursue a Quantitative Analyst Internship

  9. Prepare, and Then Start Applying

Learn About the Industry and the Fundamentals

One of the reasons quantitative analysis isn’t a more popular choice among data professionals is that it draws from such a wide range of fields. You need to have a strong understanding of statistical models, quantitative methods, mathematical finance, and data science if you want to work in this role. That’s also what makes it an exciting and lucrative opportunity for people who bring all those skills to the table. 

So to start off, you need to understand what quantitative analysis is. This is a field that revolves around helping the financial industry take business decisions that are supported by data. You will help institutions like commercial banks reduce investment risks, improve their trading strategy, and identify new profitable opportunities. 

You’ll need to shore up your financial knowledge if you want to work as a quantitative analyst. Apart from leafing through The Financial Times regularly, you’ll have to invest some time learning about things like algorithmic trading, financial models, and statistical arbitrage. 

Here are a few other projects that you might be assigned as a quantitative analyst: 

  • Conducting pricing analysis for your own or a competitor’s financial products 
  • Carrying out risk assessments on investments, portfolio companies, and loan applicants 
  • Building analytical models for stock trading systems 
  • Studying current market trends to assist with portfolio management and helping your organization gain a competitive edge

Research and Plan Your Specialization

Even within quantitative analysis, there are a few different areas that you can focus on. If you’re somebody with a strong background in mathematics, then you might consider a career in computational finance or statistical analysis. Data scientists with more financial skills tend towards roles in quantitative finance and investment banking. 

You should do your own research before picking your niche. It’s essential that you make your final choice based on what you’re most passionate about and the area that your skills cater to. 

Meet the Educational Requirements (And Keep Learning)

Most quantitative analyst jobs will require you to have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, finance, or information technology. You can really boost your chances if you get an advanced degree in financial engineering, mathematical finance, or statistics. 

Although you might pick up some essential skills as part of your degree, your learning journey doesn’t stop there. You will need to work on your financial skills, basic data science knowledge, and problem-solving skills if you want to have a quantitative analyst career that’s on an upward trajectory. 

Hone the Essential Skills

Let’s take a closer look at the skills that you will need to work on so you can land quantitative analyst positions. 

Technical Skills

Quantitative analysis is a technical field, so you’ll need to be proficient in the following categories:

Mathematics

Quantitative analysts are good with mathematical techniques. It’s a foundational skill that will help you with just about any task that you will be given on the job. Calculus, linear algebra, and statistics are the topics that you should focus on. 

Data analysis

You will use data analysis skills for most of the number crunching that you do as a quantitative analyst. Most of the predictive modeling, quantitative techniques, and regression analysis that you do will demand a strong understanding of data. 

Programming

Not all quantitative analysts use programming. But it is a skill that comes in handy on the job for things like algorithmic trading application development and building other financial applications. You should have a working understanding of at least one programming language for data science

Finance and Game Theory

As we’ve already mentioned, you do need to up your technical finance skills if you want to work as a qualitative analyst. That includes things like trading, investment strategy, financial planning, and risk analysis. 

Having a basic understanding of game theory can help you understand financial markets in a deeper way. You can use it to figure out why competitors behave the way they do, how consumers will react to a change in prices, and so on. 

Soft Skills

We’ve talked plenty about technical skills, but there are also soft skills that are essential to a career in quantitative analysis. Prime among them is teamwork. You have to be a good collaborator and work well with financial analysts, financial engineers, and others who you interact with. 

Here are some other key soft skills: 

  • Problem-solving mindset 
  • Communication 
  • Reporting and presentation 

Build Your Portfolio

Having a strong data analytics portfolio is a prerequisite to landing a job in just about any data-driven role. This is especially true in quantitative analysis, where recruiters need to know if you have real-world skills to get the job done. Here are a few ways that you can build a portfolio: 

Open-Source and Other Projects

Open-source projects are a great way to ease your way into quantitative analysis in a real-world setting. Once you have some experience contributing to other projects, you can work on some of your own passion projects that you can add to your portfolio. 

Quant Competitions

Competitions such as the International Quant Championships can be a great way to fast-track your development in the field. These competitions are structured in such a way that you get to learn a lot of new things quickly and have to apply what you learn in a practical environment. 

Volunteer Work

Every non-profit and small business out there can use help with their finances. You can reach out to such organizations to see if you can volunteer your time working as a quantitative analyst. This can be both a learning opportunity and a rewarding experience.

Get To Know Other Data Analytics Students

Cana Curtis

Cana Curtis

Research Analyst at Virginia Commonwealth University

Read Story

Sarah Ganihar

Sarah Ganihar

Business Intelligence Analyst at Amazon Web Services

Read Story

Bart Teeuwen

Bart Teeuwen

Global Business Analyst, Global Talent Intelligence (GTI) at Meta

Read Story

Remember: Your Network Is Your Net Worth 

According to one estimate, as much as 70% of open vacancies are never publicized by companies. That goes to show just how important networking can be in your job search. Here are a few ways you can network in the field of quantitative analysis:

LinkedIn

If you’re new to networking, LinkedIn is a great way to ease into the process. The site lets you look up professionals and recruiters in the quantitative analysis space. Once you connect, watch out for job openings or listings. 

Online Communities

There are several communities and forums online that cater to quantitative analysts (you can find a list here). These can be another avenue to meet others in the field online. Don’t forget to read up on the best practices and rules of each community before you begin to engage with it.

Conferences and Meetups

It is possible to meet others in the quantitative analysis field at offline meetups. Even if you don’t find conferences dedicated specifically to the field, you can start off by attending ones that are focused on data science or finance. Websites like Meetup.com are good places to find casual congregations of people in this industry.

Find a Mentor

Learning from someone who’s worked in quantitative analysis for a long time can be a huge advantage. If you aren’t in the workforce yet, you can ask a professor or family friend with experience in the field to mentor you. Those who are working can turn to analysts in their company or professionals on LinkedIn with a request for mentorship. 

Pursue a Quantitative Analyst Internship

Internships are a great way to get a taste of working in quantitative analysis. You can look up job sites like LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter for these opportunities. Completing an internship will help you figure out whether you’re actually interested in a career in quantitative analysis and if there’s a specific discipline within it that you’re interested in. 

Prepare, and Then Start Applying

Once you’ve put in the legwork, it’s time to start applying for jobs. Remember to craft a strong resume by tailoring it to the role and including portfolio projects. Also, make sure to prepare with our list of commonly asked data science interview questions

Career Transitioning to Quantitative Analyst: Where To Start

Career Transitioning to Quantitative Analyst Where To Start

There are a few different paths that you can take on your way to a career in quantitative analysis. Let’s take a look at what they are and what you need to do at each stage to increase your chances of landing a job. 

No Experience

If you don’t have any experience in the professional world yet, then you need to focus on two things. The first is gaining key skills. This is a field where the learning process is quite intensive and you can’t skip past any of those steps. The second thing you need to do is start building a portfolio and resume—both will help you get your foot in the door. 

Related Career Transition

The easiest way to get into quantitative analysis is via a related career, either as a data analyst, financial analyst, or some other professional in an adjacent field. 

If that’s where you’re at, then you’ll need to spend some time filling in the gaps in your education. You can then start by checking if there are open roles for quantitative analysts within your company. Most companies tend to prefer hiring from within whenever possible so that will make your job hunt a lot easier. 

Unrelated Career Transition

Transitioning into quantitative analysis from an unrelated career is akin to breaking into the industry as a beginner. So you will need to work on your quant skills and build your portfolio.

The advantage that you do have is that you know how the professional world works and you have professional connections. You can lean on those connections to find open roles and don’t forget to let recruiters know that you have general professional experience. That’s something they value because it shows that you know what it’s like to have to deliver work in a professional setting. 

How Much Can You Earn as a Quantitative Analyst?

Let’s now take a look at how much you can command in the job market at different stages of your career as a quantitative analyst. 

Entry-Level Quantitative Analyst

Junior quantitative analysts have an average salary of $96,875. 

how to become a quantitative analyst, junior quantitative analyst salary

Mid-Level Quantitative Analyst

The median quantitative analyst salary for those with five to ten years of experience is $121,467. 

how to become a quantitative analyst, mid-level quantitative analyst salary

Senior Quantitative Analyst

Senior quantitative analysts make $165,390 on average annually. 

how to become a quantitative analyst, senior quantitative analyst salary

Resources To Find Quantitative Analyst Jobs

Here are some ways in which you can find openings for quantitative analyst jobs: 

Job Boards

Besides the most obvious and more general job sites, check out these that are more specific: 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is perhaps the most dependable way to find open jobs in quantitative analysis. All you need to do is search the site for the job role and you’ll instantly find vacancies. You can also set up an alert so that you receive notifications whenever new jobs are posted in this field. 

Network 

Don’t forget to build your network as you apply for jobs on the aforementioned websites. Networking will help you find roles that aren’t on those sites and getting referred to a job is a much easier path into an organization. 

How To Become a Quantitative Analyst FAQs

We’ve got the answers to your most frequently asked questions:

Is Quantitative Analytics a High-Paying Job?

Quantitative analysis is one of the more lucrative jobs out there. The median salary in the role is $120,000.

What Degree Is Best for Becoming a Quantitative Analyst?

Degrees in computer science, finance, or mathematics are your best bet if you aspire to a job in quantitative analysis.

Is It Too Late for Me To Become a Quantitative Analyst?

It’s never too late to work towards a job in quantitative analysis. You should start by working on your skills and building up a portfolio of projects. Once that’s done, start applying for jobs and networking with others in the industry.

Do You Have To Be Good at Math for a Career in Quantitative Analysis?

Math is a foundational skill for quantitative analysts. More specifically, you need to have a good grasp of linear algebra, calculus, probability, and statistics.

Do You Need To Know How To Code To Work in Quantitative Analysis?

Quantitative analysts might be asked to code for data analysis and application-building purposes. Python, Java, and C++ are the programming languages most commonly used in the industry.

Since you’re here…
Switching to a career in data analytics is possible, no matter your background. We’ve helped over 10,000 students make it happen. Check out our free data analytics curriculum to gauge your interest, or go all-in with our Data Analytics Bootcamp.

About Sakshi Gupta

Sakshi is a Managing Editor at Springboard. She is a technology enthusiast who loves to read and write about emerging tech. She is a content marketer with experience in the Indian and US markets.