I know there are lots of posts of techies doing CFA and asking how it will help them. There is a lot of good and bad advice out there ranging from cynical responses to encouraging ones. But do you personally know any success stories where a doing CFA gave a career boost to a software guy? Appreciate your help and feedback!
I think there are many success stories as passing exams are concerned. Success stories about getting real jobs in finance seems not many
Thanks ymc for your reply. I meant success in getting a significant boost in career after passing the exam. Cm’on guys, I need some fuel for the motivation to carry on. I took L1 and hope to pass, but I am seriously thinking of dropping the effort if it does not help in a significant way (results do not fall within 95% confidence level ;).
Not exactly what you’re looking for but: http://www.analystforum.com/phorums/read.php?1,692450,692450#msg-692450
Thanks Grimer. That was quite inspirational…sort of like pursuit of happyness movie. But I am looking for 2 signs: 1) Even if a techie remained a techie in a finance company, did CFA help him/her in any way? For example, did it help in getting to front office or middle office? Did it improve the way he/she interacted with business users and hence result in faster promotions/fatter bonus? 2) If a techie switched the field and started in finance from the bottom, what was the payback period considering the opportunity cost? ( sorry for the CFA lingo).
I know often people pursue the CFA charter in order to switch careers and perhaps there are some success stories out there, I know of one personally. You should look to use the CFA charter and these examinations as a way to enhance what you’re already doing. If you’re looking to completely switch careers, you may have a hard time convincing potential employers that passing 1 or 2 levels towards a CFA designation without any actual work experience is worth their time. If you’re planning to switch completely, consider grad school, either MBA or Masters, and if you’re in new york, there are a number of great resources right next door whether you do it part time or full time. If you’re planning to stay in the industry, having the charter itself will certainly help you, but the problem lies in gaining the proper experience to earn that charter. The tests themselves should gain you the knowledge in order to move internally within the company to a more finance or managerial type role, or perhaps horizontally through different companies within the same field, coupled with your expertise of course. As for any drastic changes, this will not happen quickly without holding the actual charter. As for payback period, if you so manage to get an entry level position somewhere, compared to what you’re making now, it would take awhile with just passing the CFA Level I examination. Do not think of the CFA examinations as a magic ticket into the finance world, but it’s definitely a useful tool. You should also consider which area of finance you would like to end up in. The CFA Charter is more valued in some sectors than others.
It will never happen in this environment. Switching from the back office to the front office will be virtually impossible with the mass number of layoffs that have happened in recent months and the large quantity of experienced unemployed people. There’s nothing wrong with fixing computers. It pays well and the hours are far more decent.
>> But do you personally know any success stories where a doing CFA gave a >> career boost to a software guy? I think the answer to this one depends on whether doing a better job at work will benefit your career… If you develop financial software (as I do…) knowing the CFA curriculum will hopefully make you understand your domain better, communicate with your business contacts better, give you the ability to mentor others, etc. All of that amounts to you being better at your job than you’d be otherwise. Hopefully being better at what you do will be good for your career. It can’t hurt. I don’t think you can make more money or qualify for a better job just by the virtue of having the charter, but I think you’ll benefit in some way from the knowledge. I finished my masters in CS last year - while working full time - same story. It’s not like I can show my degree to someone and demand more money but the stuff I learned in school made me better at my job and I think that’s been helpful to my career. By the way, if anyone is looking to do financial software development in NYC, shoot me an email. The domain is Gmail.com and the name is the same as the name here. -ed
Thanks guys for your insight.
does workiing in financial s/w risk s/w count towards CFA work experience?.i dont think so.
cfa_newyorker I spent the early part of my career writing IT systems to support front/middle/back office departments. The CFA and a part time masters took a total of 4 years to complete, and i have since moved into predominantly private equity work. I think the CFA provides you with the opportunity at least to move internally in your company to a more finance related role, as long as you have a boss who is willing to think out of the box and not to pigeon hole you. in terms of compensation, i recouped my money in the first year n made many multiples on my previous salary. good luck… theres no guarantee that you will succeed… need alot of luck, and the cfa helps put the odds in your favor…
Thanks wilier, this is very encouraging. Can you share about what is your work like now? Also, what was the part time masters? Was it MFE? I am assuming you have moved into the business role and not working in IT any more, but I just want to know what kind of avenues opened for you after CFA and Masters.
Just sharing my little success so far. Maybe I am lucky, but after passing CFA level 1 in June, I am close to getting an offer from a major IB in their front office IT. In addition to my technical skills, they were impressed with my pursuit of CFA also. With the new job, I hope my work will be much closer to investment professionals now and it should help my career.
What is front office IT? Also, why do so many people want to switch out of IT? Why do you? Why did you go into IT to begin with? I am not picking on you, but I am curious since it seems like half the people on this board are trying to get out of IT and into finance. To answer your question, CFA probably won’t do it. All of the tech to finance people I know got MBAs first.
Here is my 2 cents on the IT exodus. When IT was a less mature discipline (A time often referred to in IT as the wild-wooley west), it was easy for the smart people to accomplish good work really quickly, and get rewarded. It was super-easy to come up with a number for the value of each developer. It was very run-and-gun, and the rewards were good. Cut to enterprise risk management. Senior management began to realize that IT people had pretty much unlimited power to do just about anything, including damage companies very badly. To mitigate this risk, they created layers and layers of security, and change management, and approvals/signoffs, etc. Now it takes a long time and a vast number of people to deliver something simple. As a result, the rewards for producing value are now spread across a lot of people, and its much harder to be a software rock-star than it used to be. For me, the effect is both financial and psychological. It sucks to know the problem, know the solution, build the solution, test the solution, then wait 8 months for paper-pushers to approve your work. Just my take. I’d be interested to hear comments from other software guys.
And what makes people think it’s EASY to be a rock star in finance? Enjoy your work first. I made the switch from mechanical engineering to entry level buy-side analyst (long details, hardwork, will go into details if needed) because I enjoyed the work. So far, i think I would’ve made a lot more had i stayed in engineering (petroleum work) and worked the previous years instead of break out of the career track to start over.
Kev, Not really saying its easy to be a rock-star in anything. You get back what you put in to any job. The point (which I should have articulated a little better) is that IT used to be a department composed only of really bright people, who were given the freedom and tools they needed to do the job. In the early days of IT it felt more like a revenue-center than a cost-center. Now that IT departments have ballooned into massive budget-black-holes, its really becoming micro-managed. Now that front office employees are writing VBA macros, small scripts/programs and producing increasingly complex excel and access documents, they’re getting to do all the fun parts of IT work (thinking/analysis) without all the drudgery.
bromion Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > What is front office IT? > > Also, why do so many people want to switch out of > IT? Why do you? Why did you go into IT to begin > with? I am not picking on you, but I am curious > since it seems like half the people on this board > are trying to get out of IT and into finance. > > To answer your question, CFA probably won’t do it. > All of the tech to finance people I know got MBAs > first. Money. If i could earn 300k+ in IT without having to have 20 years of experience and being a Director, i would stay. I mean i love IT. i Code at home for fun, but money just cant cut it when you live in NYC and have to support a family
bromion Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Also, why do so many people want to switch out of > IT? Why do you? Why did you go into IT to begin > with? I am not picking on you, but I am curious > since it seems like half the people on this board > are trying to get out of IT and into finance. > Bored. I encounter the same five problems in networking all the time. My team is one of the best in the company, so there is no challenge in management for me. There is limited movement for me in this country with my skillset. I started taking some accounting and business courses to start my own business. I found I liked the math behind stock and investment evaluation, so I decided to change careers. I don’t have an undergrad (yet), so an MBA was not an option for me. I’m doing a B.Comm now. I want something that will challenge me. I like reading the news and seeing how the market reacts to the news. I like the courses I’m taking at school.
For an investment bank, is IT considered a cost center or a revenue center? That should answer your question.