I feel productive with coding when …

… when I Google and find solutions or “machine-verifiable” insights
… when I spend time hacking code at home
… whenever I hook up a debugger
… when I managed to gain “control” (or wrap my mind) over an opaque system

! This is in stark contrast to textbook theories.

I feel the thrill when I get the code to work. In terms of my long-term career and long term financial stability.

I feel this interest, satisfaction, positive feedback and drive is arguably more important than my aptitude. Some people are probably more brainy than me but don’t feel this thrill.

Open source systems are more rewarding than Microsoft technology. I would say scripting tools are esp. rewarding but sometimes too “transparent” to be challenging.

feeling competent(GTD+)with linux,java,perl..!cpp/py

See also post on “beat us” to understand why I feel less competent with cpp.

Nowadays I feel more competent developing in linux than windows.

If you look hard you realize this is relative to team competence. If my team member were familiar with linux but struggling in windows, then I would feel very differently!

Same thing could happen between java and Quartz — in a java team, my Quartz know-how may be quite visible and hard to match.

Perhaps the defining examples is Perl. In so many teams no one knows more about perl than me. When perl was important to the team, I felt very competent and strong, and almost effortless. In GS, there were several perl old-hands, but I still felt on-par. Key reason – not many people specialize in perl, and also none of the OO stuff was important in those projects.

I gradually grew my competence in java. My theoretical knowledge grew fast, but competence is not really about IV questions. More about GTD know-how where instrumentation (including tool-chain) /knowledge/ is probably #1.

Big lesson — get a job to learn portable skills. You don’t want to do years of python programming but only in some proprietary framework.

Within finance, technology outlives most job functions

Look at these job functions —

* Many analysts in finance need to learn data analytics software ….
* Risk managers depend on large risk systems…
* Quants need non-trivial coding skill…
* Everyone in finance needs Excel, databases, and … financial data.
…. while the IT department faces no threat, except outsourcing. Why?

Surely … Financial data volume is growing
Surely … Automation reduces human error, enforces control — operational risk…
Computer capabilities are improving
Financial data quality is improving
Computers are good at data processing, esp. repetitive, multi-step…
Financial info tech is important and valuable (no need to explain), not simple, requires talent, training, experience and a big team. Not really blue-collar.

Many techies point out the organizational inefficiencies and suggest there’s no need for so many techies, but comparatively is there a need for so many analysts, or so many risk managers, or so many accountants or so many traders? Every role is dispensable! Global population is growing and getting better educated, so educated workforce must work.