So the most important question I get all the time is “how can I become a trader…a PM…a fund manager some day” . I decided to survey friends on the sell side and the buy side and come up with some of the skillsets that I think can help you succeed or get hired as a junior on a Sales and Trading desk.
I myself was an engineering undergrad. I think the main reason you see many engineers as traders is because of the quantitative and skills learnt from going through ha rigorous program. I believe the main thing also is that many engineers come with strong quantitative skills that are very important on most trading desks.
Some ways to enhance your undergrad or education if you don’t have a quantitative undergrad is to take math, statistics and programming courses or minors to build up the technical skills.
Graduate School: Many people nowadays entering trading join Masters in Financial Engineering programs. It is important to note that there are only a few programs that provide the strong career services into sales and trading and the many other programs are just bucket shops churning out degrees for cash so make sure you do your research. Quantnet.com is a good resource on MFE degrees.
Programming: There is a big demand for people able to handle big data in finance currently as everything is getting automated so any knowledge of big data is a plus if you want to go that route.
Being strong in Python, R and if possible C++ will only help you get your resume ahead as most applicants nowadays have Python and R skills. You obviously have to be an expert at Excel/VBA as well for most front office junior positions.
Math: having strong quantitative skills is a must. You have to be able to understand differential equations and have a good understanding of basics. Statistics and various types of statistical and econometrics courses is very important to have. Being able to create great charts out of data that mean something will add a lot of value on the trading desk and so will any form of forecasting techniques.
Nowadays almost everyone hits the minimums of the above so it really is about how to stand out from the rest. For that I would suggest looking at my other article on research projects.
You can also buy my courses to get a good base knowledge on macro bond trading to be able to outperform in juniors seats or do well in interviews.
Other than that you will learn everything about how to trade, how to think about investing, how to make views on the desk. The above should at least help you get ahead of the most applying for the limited seats.