Need quick and dirty on Algorithmic Trading

Was stuck in traffic on my way into philly on Friday. Got a call from a place in the Midwest that is looking for a Jr. Trader Role. They said the were very heavy into trading via algorithms. I checked it out on wilkpedia and know the very basics. Anyone have any experience with this or opinion? Do the traders write the programs? If a computer is determining the execution, what is a trader needed for? And explanations appreciated…no smart a$$ comments pls…its monday and this is a valid question. I could look it up but im heading out of the office in a moment. Thx JB

Traders probably have no role in the algorithms but are important to the process. In general the algorithm spits out something like buy crude at 84 limit and the trader needs to watch that (probably) and then try to get the trade off with limited slippage. At some places traders have some discretion about whether or not to execute the trade if markets are doing [blah] (I hate that). The rubber meets the road at the trading desk and traders probably can’t fix a bad algorithm, but they can sure as heck screw up a good one. A Jr. Trader role on an execution desk is probably not a particularly good path to be for a prop trading role (possible, but not all that likely) and can be a stressful and difficult job where you take grief for all your mistakes but never get kudos for doing things well. You can also find yourself working rotating and odd hours. Be careful about the job.

i agree with joey, but for somebody right out of school or with no/little inv. exp, it’s probably a great resume builder (don’t know your situation). as joey said, very high stress is probably pitfall of this, you will absoutely get blasted if you make mistake, which will happen. need thick skin. positive of this is if firm is good and grows you could make bank… (think renaissance tech, if only half/quarter as successful as them…)

Its an RIA for about 400mil AUM. They also run a HF. They are pretty small. Less than 10 employees. A few PMs and a few Quant Analysts. They currently outsource their trades to boutiques and whatnot. Sounds like I would be the second line of defense on the trading desk. Under the wing of another trader. Thanks for the input. The salary offered is much higher than my current comp. I’ll likely entertain the idea of flying out to take the next step to learn more about the opp.