is CFA worth for an IT professional

Hi All,

This is my first post and expect to hear from all of you over the worthiness of CFA program for an IT professional.

As I am working for a project of an investment company in IT and wants to opt my career in Finance.

Can u pls highlight the benefits of CFA(US) in India/abroad for 2 yr. experienced IT professional.Should I invest my time in this. me.!!!


its probably not worth it. level 2 and 3 are very dificult and even if you pass after 1 or 2 tries you still wont have the designation.

I literally laughed out loud at this. It’s probably just a translation issue, but it sounds as if you are commanding that each one of us must give you our opinion, or else…

“…expect to hear from all of you over the worthiness of CFA program for an IT professional…”

‘Worthiness’ of CFA (or for that matter any other professional qualification ) more depends on the ‘worthiness’ of the aspirant in terms of his/her experience, relevance and scope of work and capability/dedication to achieve future plans not the other way round.

Many IT people ‘needed’ CFA to prosper and grow due to the type of job function and tasks they elected to focus on in investment field from programming to PM. More number of IT professionals are prospering in finance and investment field than IT professionals with a CFA. So decide specifically what you wish to do in the long run and how far the specific knowledge and skill earned by doing CFA will be essential to do so. If it seems to be an essential need (not merely a percieved need) then honestly evaluate whether you have the time, energy and competency to actually complete CFA while doing the job you are doing, as it is one of the most rigorous programmes, specially at level 2 and 3, presuming you get the necessary 48 months of ‘acceptable’ work experience by then. It may not be easy.

As individual’s choice, liking and preference for job functions differ within the wide spectrum of investment field for IT professionals the ‘worth’ of CFA too varies accordingly - from minimal to essential. If you think you need it essentially for future growth and have reasonable amount of confidence to put in the time and effort to do it then only think of ‘investing’ at least 3 years of hard labour without any other diversion just for the CFA charter but be prepared to do so even without any immediate visible financial gain during this period!

We have a new record ladies and gents.

It’s been only 9 days since the last person from India asked if taking CFA tests will let them break into finance.

The type of question the OP asked should seriously be a sticky. As should:

-IT to Finance?

-MBA or CFA?

-Will CFA help my career? (asked in a very generic way)

-CFAi ethics violation related

It seems like 50% of the posts in the General CFA forum are some kind of combination of these…

Oh and I forgot to mention:

-Will CFA help me get into IB?

-Passed Level 1, can I become a PM now?

Just go to NYU or Columbia or UPenn for undergrad with finance and math or stat degree. Then you can work in IB or maybe as an analyst. With an undergrad from some Southwest Oregon Ocean RIdge University or whatever and working in operations and passing the CFA exams… boy… good luck with that. You might get hired for senior operations analyst role but that’s about it.

Or… take some linear algebra and/or multicariable calculus classes at NYU or Columbia for a year if you are not a math major in undergrad or lack GPA. Then you can take the GRE and try to get into their Masters or Ph.D program. I’m sure the Masters program in financial engineering from NYU will give you a much better chance at working in finance than CFA exams. Just my opinion from living in NY and seeing my friends.

I’m waiting for the day where I see someone asking “Portfolio manager with CFA looking to break into IT”.

I actually do know someone who started out as a Research Analyst at a fairly respectable firm and then transitioned into IT while he was studying for L1. I kid you not.

That would totally make my day. I won’t even care if it’s fake, just make it sound convincing!

American portfolio manager with CFA seeking IT jobs in India.

I agree with infinitybenzo. I would look into doing a quant finance master’s instead of CFA. I think this would complement an I.T. only skill-set better than doing CFA.

Yeah I mean seriously, most of these IT guys or SDEs (software development engineers) are very good at math and most likely minored in math for their undergrad. In that case, screw the CFA exams and take the GRE and get the Masters in financial engineering. And if you’re really hard working like most of the SDEs are, then study for CFA exams while attending school.

i am in finance and i am wondering if CFA is worth it, but i figured i leave that though till after level III, you dont want to think about how wise it was to sky dive while you are still on the way down…

Thanks dear

Thanks dear


So i work in IT and i passed all 3 levels of CFA. My math is decent, but one thing is to take undergrad level math and another is to study for MFE program. MFE is very competitive and you will have probably > 60% of class who are Ph.Ds. I don’t want to compete against people like this.

CFA programm was very informative and i learned a lot, but did it make me more competitive? I don’t think so.

From my experience there are 2 paths for IT professional in Financial.

  1. Software Developer -> Senior Software Developer -> Team Lead -> Director -> MD.

This path is on a management / software architecture track, as you will be responsible for hardware procurement, resource management, budgeting. This is a very treacherous path and ridden with political (office) obstacles. You start at 100-120k total comp and end up at 300-400k total comp

  1. Quant Developer -> Quant/Trader -> Quant PM. This is a more lucrative path but A LOT more competitive. You start at 150k+ and upside is limited only by your ability to generate P&L.

In both these paths CFA is rather useless. Path 1) Would probably benefit from MBA. for Path 2) You need to have MFE (minimum) Ph.D much preferred.

As i have been interviewing, agents were like ‘Oh CFA… yeah that is nice…’ and no one ever mentioned it again.

I have chosen path #1.

Also, for 1) counts are as 1000 > 100000 > 5000 > 500 > 50. For ever MD there are literally thousands of foot soldiers.

Good luck