fixation@ROTI/payoff/success/result/accu … dampens job satisfaction+joy@learning.

This affects my “engagement”. Granted, we should not Ignore these ROTI factors, or those “smells” … instead we should evaluate our direction and take stock, but let’s not overdo it.

  • +ve Eg: Barcap option math
  • +ve Eg: Barcap swing learning
  • +ve Eg: RTS socket programming
  • -ve Eg: git
  • -ve Eg: curve building
  • -ve Eg: WCF

Consider a tour guide aiming for the tip at the end.
Consider Grandpa in his research career.
Consider a singer like 王杰 or the last few years of 邓丽君。

Q: has that increased your income or benchmark score? # more time in office, shorter commute, MSFM, c# ….

  1. This question can be posed to grandpa.
  2. This question can be posed to any education institute including the “top schools 名校”. Ironically the same questioners seem to be /fixated/ on these top schools for their kids. So for these people, this question is self-contradictory.
  3. This question can be posed to my friends engaged in quantitative investment analysis.

This question is harmful, misleading, derogatory, discriminatory, browbeating, pessimistic/fatalistic, myopic, … This question tosses aside many important things to our lives, our joys, and satisfaction —

  • career safety net
  • exploration of personal talents and personal interests
  • “in-demand” satisfaction
  • market depth
  • mobility between firms
  • freedom — I don’t want to feel “trapped”
  • observation (even conviction) on various topics, based on in-depth personal research

self-help industry: your life is stuck in a rut

The self-help industry’s messages (SMS) resonates with me.

  • burn or rot
  • I often feel a lack of direction
  • i often feel my spare time is not productive
  • I often feel left behind on the slow track, but most of us are, anywhere I look, including the managers.
  • I often feel I’m not living life to the full
  • I often feel I’m not growing, learning anything new, but it’s the norm
  • When I feel my life is “not that bad”, the self-help industry would question me “Really?”
    • marketable skill — i feel lucky that I moved into finance tech, but a non-finance job like telecom would be fine too.
    • marketable skill — I feel it’s good that I moved out perl into java with MktDepth…
    • marketable skill — I feel lucky to discovery personal strengths in lowLevel java/c++/threading/unix…
    • I feel good about the father’s job I’m doing
    • I feel good about my investments
    • I feel good about my Singapore home and my commute
    • I feel 80% good about my healthy lifestyle
    • (just a brief subset relevant to this topic)

GS, Mac: 1-year contract would have been 10 times better

My first year at GS and first year at Macquarie were very positive experience. If these were contracts and somehow it ends after 1 year, then I would have positive experiences.

Even with the OC experience, I could say that as a contractor, I would not have received such negative feedback. I would probably end the first year on a positive note and leave.

What if my 95G, Barclays, RTS had converted to perm roles? I don’t know.

j4 stick2c++: Score big{losing@quant/c#

See also vindicative specializations , what if I transition to desk quant role but don’t rise up@@ and j4 c#: hind sight

I already give up several “investments”. If I take a java job, I would again forgo so many years of investment in c++. Now after I got more c++ offers, I feel /triumphant/vindicative/.

swing py c# quant 2010~13 quant af 2013 c/c++  (Zoom out …)
 $0 $0  $0 S$70k $ invested
 $0 $0 S$5k/Y  $0 $1k/Y cf
nonQuant job
up to USD20k/Y pretax opportunity cost
6M 2Y since barc 2Y  1Y 3Y 6Y since 1998 nominal effort
3M 4M 1Y  6M 2.5Y 3Y serious effort incl. STS
3M 2M 1M  2M 2Y 1.5Y spare time sacrificed(STS)
-2 -3 -6  -5 #more than py -15 -15 points invested
Barx passed some IVs OC, Bbg, Reuters 95G/OC Stirt/Mac/CVA ~14 offers job “offers”
Trex,bbg..  -> DRW; Nomura; Mako; Trex; Pimco analytics many help interviews
helps my WPF xx value@algo IV deepens java nlg  -> brain teasers; math cfd; contrarian
insight into bigData/quantTrading;
deepens java nlg other ROTI
2 more than
3 #built real
professional xp
 3 9 #50%+ more than invested points SCORED
 no loss? no loss -3 -2 -7 no loss net points lost

%% poor accu ] quantDev: Sg+U.S.

My past experiences are underwhelming. I thought that once I become experienced and proven in quant dev domain, things will be easier and I could move from one job to another. Wrong!

  • Barclays? helped me get into OC since OC interviewers are interested in how things are done in Barclays. Didn’t really help me go anywhere else
  • Stirt? helped me a bit with Mac interview
  • MSFM? didn’t help me get anywhere, partly because I didn’t try.

OC/Stirt/Mac gave me no insight no breakthrough in my understanding no thick->thin->thick

The number of quant dev positions is much fewer than in market data!

widely in-use, no longer quizzed #spring/Apache..

I see a pattern — a new technology is getting adopted and quizzed in-depth at interviews. After 5 years, it is still a favorite, perhaps dominant solution, but 1) the know-how has become common knowledge and candidates are assumed to know it and 2) usage is now standardized and simplified, so the “bar” is lower, and candidates without the knowledge can easily pick it up.

No more in-depth questions needed. Therefore, time previously invested here is wasted, since only superficial knowledge is required now.

  1. Eg: spring/hibernate
  2. Eg: java servlets and JSP — From 1999 to 2008 these topics were heavily quizzed. Still widely in use but often invisible.
  3. Eg: Apache web server — In 2000 I was asked a lot on Apache details. Apache is still very popular. See
  4. Eg: php — still widely used, but I feel not asked a lot. See
  5. Eg: xml parsing — I used to get in-depth questions about DOM or SAX etc. Now I believe xml is still widely used
  6. Eg: web services, SOA, SOAP — Still very much in use
  7. Eg: HTTP protocol details like GET/POST, status codes
  8. Eg: Maven and Ant

Most of my examples are in the high-churn domains like Internet, mobile. I believe the same will happen to interview questions on big data, javascript, Android, iOS , blockchain, ..

The opposite list — some essential technologies underlying multiple technology waves were never heavily quizzed, but, after the waves subsided, remain rather relevant to many niche interviews.

  • SQL query — joins, subquery, case, ..
  • SQL and DB tuning
  • Unix automation — It can take years to become reasonably competent with all of bash, piping, subshells, trap, shell functions, string operators, file manipulation, and top 30 Unix commands
  • Unix system administration
  • Pthreads, a POSIX standard C library
  • http client programming
  • regular expression
  • Inter-Process-Communication
  • Java servlet session management
  • Java serialization
  • Java reflection

— You write —
There are still many projects using Spring. My current project is also using Spring, but it’s modified by internal team to create an internal framework. When people discuss in meeting, they say “Spring” to refer to this framework. But there are many pitfalls when I use it. To name a few:

  1. a) restful service is easy to implement in spring, ust add related annotations, but it doesn’t work, and after I spent a few days of research, I gave up and choose to use a internally created annotation.
  2. b) some configurations doesn’t work, parameters couldn’t be passed in. I still don’t know what’s the reason. The internal framework code is not accessible for other teams developers, so I don’t think it worth to spent more time to try to figure out.

For this project using Spring, the interview only mentioned this project is using Spring, but didn’t ask any questions about Spring.

For last year, I went through 5 interviews, 2 mentioned the projects are using Spring, and only one client asked some Spring questions.

I recall 5 years ago, 8/10 will ask spring and hibernate questions. Now, still a few clients asked Spring questions, but none asked Hibernate questions.


donut bonus often precedes job loss#XR

I won’t talk about my personal experiences (too painful) but in general, a donut bonus often means

You are free to go

You are the weakest member of the team

You are not qualified not competent for the role

You will be assigned some unimportant shitty work

You need to improve or get out of here

You are classified as “damaged goods”.

If you choose to remain, you may get increasingly harsh treatment, until you move on.

You may not have the option to stay here and remain an organization deadweight

However, if 1/3 of the team members get donut bonus, then it’s normal and not so bad.