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Total Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2019
Posted: 2019-06-29 06:00
Hello everyone,

Just a quick question, which field would you enter if you were to start from scratch this day and age?

If it was up to me I'd go into quant finance any day of the week but not sure if it's really worth it due to a lot of talented dogs fighting for an ever-shrinking bone, living in high CoL areas, and other impracticalities.

I've been thinking a lot about cybersecurity which could grow exponentially with upcoming cyber wars and unlike data science still only attracts nerds with poor communication skills - which I believe could me an edge.

Obviously, if you'd still go the finance route, perfectly fine. Might I ask why?

Cheers :)

The Doc

Total Posts: 9
Joined: Jun 2019
Posted: 2019-06-29 15:42

Finishing my first year in CS i find myself interested in:
1. Venture Capital: I want to aproach this field from a more technical perspective. Today its like Private Equity but for startups. Pure money lending/buyouts, boring stuff.
2. Online transactions: Something big might come out here, but prob not. What do i mean? Well, we have like 3-4 (w/e) payment methods for OT right? OK. What if we only had 1? Too many problems for that to happen though.
3. XAAS: Subscriptions are the future. From OS and CRM to gaming. Cloud will be/is the umbrella. Ill bet my money here. Not that interesting though imo.
4. Genetical Engineering/Body modification: To early to talk about it. In 100 years something interesting might come.

1. What do you think about the above? Would like to hear some opinions.
2. What will be the next social platform for the masses? A few years ago we had FB. This shit is dying now. Insta took its place. Whats next? I know. "Only if i knew". The only pattern i found is that every thing that becomes very popular in this space has at least one new feature that the previous thing hadnt.

P.S 1: Its very hard to read some posts in this forum. Too small letters xd.
P.S 2: Me no speak english good :)


Total Posts: 110
Joined: May 2016
Posted: 2019-06-29 20:10
No offense but it sounds like you're just listing out what's buzzy right now.

1. Venture Capital - this stuff isn't technical unless you're deep in a given industry or area of expertise, which would kind of render your current question pointless. I guess it can be technical from a deal structuring perspective, but I sense that wasn't your question. Correct me if I'm wrong.

2. Online transactions - weren't you just saying there's too many dogs fighting for an ever decreasing bone?

3. "X"aaS - I would disagree. Myself, and many others I've spoken to, are getting fucking tired of having subscriptions forced down our throats. The software companies that are going public off of this model may not realize it, but some of their biggest users are actively working to get rid of them. (Tableau comes to mind...MathWorks... the gaming communities reactions to in-game transactions...) So anyways, I'd take the other side of your bet, particularly if we're talking timeframes that match up with a career.

4. Genetics - what gives you the right to say "it's too early to tell" if you're not an expert in that field?

If you're genuinely talented in the technical aspects of finance, there is much less competition than you might think. But most people don't need really talented number crunchers, they need talented number crunchers with a talented commercial sense. (How many quants that you've met have also, or could, successfully manage a non-technical business for a period of time, convince people to give them money, know how to deal with office politics while still advancing their own career, and/or propose new deals/opportunities to management and go out, get buy in, and get them done?)

Edit: I see you're a 1st year CS student. Your post sounds like you're finding things interesting as they're proposed to you. I'd encourage you to think about what you were interested in before you found out about how rich people were getting, or before you cared all that much about that. I'd encourage you to do the same with thinking about where your genuine talents might be. Then I'd encourage you to think about how the skills you're learning could be combined with those things in an industry, or doing something, that may not have the "prestige" but are things you can actually close your eyes and see yourself doing in the future. That's what I wish I had done 10+ years ago.


Total Posts: 253
Joined: Mar 2018
Posted: 2019-06-29 20:48
If you're genuinely talented in the technical aspects of finance, there is much less competition than you might think.

@rftx713 what do you mean by the technical aspects exactly?


Total Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2019
Posted: 2019-06-29 22:54
I think you're mixing The Doc and me up. But thanks for the advice, I feel like I have been giving my future the thorough analysis you suggest but each time I tihnk I have finally found my career path I find a 1000 reasons why it wouldn't work. Maybe in the end I might as well throw a dart blindfolded and just go for it, or worse become an M&A banker.

The Doc

Total Posts: 9
Joined: Jun 2019
Posted: 2019-07-03 21:00
"things you can actually close your eyes and see yourself doing in the future. That's what I wish I had done 10+ years ago."

Yeah. OK. Nice to meet you! Easy to say hard to do. If i already knew i wouldnt be here. I guess i will drop out and commit into beatmaking :)

1. I dont see the current model working with a lot of success though. Making 10 investments and pray at least 1 of those makes you money is so old school. Idk what needs to be done. I just think something else has to happen. Maybe the tech sector is the problem to begin with. Idk.

2. No. Thats an increasing bone.

3. You will remember my words when Windows becomes subscription too.

4. Pointless question sorry. Not the right place to ask something about this.

Thanks a lot for your time @rftx713. Really appreciate your response!!
Anyone else having something to add?


Total Posts: 10
Joined: Jul 2017
Posted: 2019-07-05 11:10
Data science for me.


"each time I tihnk I have finally found my career path I find a 1000 reasons why it wouldn't work"

A meta-answer: your problem is not the 1000 issues in front of you, but you fretting over it like a girl. Go to the gym if you don't already, get good at some competitive sport. You will then avoid decisions based on insecurity (bad ones) and make ones that, while not necessarily good, you will not regret.

The widespread low social skills and common brilliance in cybersecurity means the field does not offer great salaries and yet requires amazing dedication. Only go there if it fits you psychologically. If you're >18 and think this is just a specialisation like any other, that you can pick at your leisure, you may be already too late.

@The Doc

1. Interesting work by my definition is R&D-like, and therefore risky, so you'll never get rid of that. You already have a very destructive mindset for the job. (It does not work the other way though; risky stuff is not necessarily interesting.)

3. Easy, look at what work is available inside Netflix or Google. If you like, go ahead. Who cares about Windows.

4. Genetic modification of plants is done already in many labs around the world. The free and abstract mind of a computer scientist is perhaps not fit for lab work however.

The Doc

Total Posts: 9
Joined: Jun 2019
Posted: 2019-07-10 18:10
Thank you @sigterm !!!

1. Why Data Science? Everyone is self-proclaimed as a DS these days. Oversaturation is a thing in this domain imo. There might be a scarce of experienced people that actually know what to do with the data though.
As far as i know, "Cloud" services are booming but this is the present not the future.

2. What do you mean in no3?

P.S I feel like the tech sector is slowing down.

The Doc

Total Posts: 9
Joined: Jun 2019
Posted: 2019-07-23 20:11


Total Posts: 392
Joined: Mar 2005
Posted: 2019-07-24 23:41
Turnaround specialists like FTI.

Learn how to buy a turd and crush it into a diamond.

"Yeh, after that blow out I bid the bonds at 76 and you hit man...You're 77/81 now? Cool man...What? Do I care at 80? No mate... I'm 73 bid now...I'm sure you didn't just load up just for me...".

The Doc

Total Posts: 9
Joined: Jun 2019
Posted: 2019-07-25 11:38
So, the private credit/debt industry?


Total Posts: 10
Joined: Jul 2017
Posted: 2019-07-31 09:16
@The Doc

1. This is the perspective of an IT worker, mind you, not a quant. Data Science is a buzzword. It can probably be defined honestly as traditional statistics plus the new computational stuff popularised by e.g. The Elements of Statistical Learning. As you wrote, lots of people advertise "data science skills" but few truly are good at computer science and mathematics at the same time. It brings value yet can still be done "in a garage", with little capital, compared to most engineering, which ties you to moneyed people you'd rather not have to report to. So choosing Data Science would be optimising my career for autonomy, not money. I don't like working, and I especially don't like taking orders; other career goals will direct you in other ways.

2. I meant, look into big cloud providers' papers/talks/job offers, to see what kind of work is behind XaaS and see if that tempts you. Not everything cloud makes sense, but cloud services make economies of scale, and that's going to stay true indefinitely.

Everything is slowing down. Technology that actually brings value to the world will need smart people to prop it up for a long time, don't worry. If you want a very high-level perspective, think about what's essential: finding and distributing energy, food & water, controlling people, etc.

BTW, rftx713's advice is genuine. Do not be dazzled by the lights, they're there to enslave weak people with no internal compass. If you're really that good at making beats, then give it a shot. Just try to avoid Avicii's fate.


Total Posts: 1182
Joined: Feb 2007
Posted: 2019-08-02 14:15
There is still money to be made in tech. I can't stand the culture though. Zippity doodah new framework angularjs, twee nincompoops making simple shit complicated because muh engineering, "product managers" who don't know anything, patches on patches masquerading as engineering improvements, insane political witch hunts, greasey VC antics, 80 hour a week death marches, "work for me for free" hackathons, trans-people on roller skates next to the ping pong table and catered lunches, plus virtually all of it visibly makes the world worse. I know people who had fun in early Google days and stuff like that, but I don't know anyone in the Valley having much fun now.

Always thought observational astronomy was pretty cool. Surprisingly everyone I know who went into it continues to do it, so it must be OK; better than physics anyhow.

I've thought about going into oil and gas. Tons of interesting mathy problems to work on, you can don the safari hat to visit remote locations, good compensation with potential for wall street sized upsides, I won't be persecuted for being who I am, and evil idealistic ding dongs are off trying to make solar panels that work at night instead of doing honest work drilling giant holes in the earth and drinking dat mofo's milkshake.

Criminally underrated: operations research. Practitioners are usually vastly more hard headed and well trained in fundamentals than "data scientists." It's also the type of engineering job where you can go home after an 8 hour day.

"Learning, n. The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious."


Total Posts: 253
Joined: Mar 2018
Posted: 2019-08-02 14:44
@jslade "but I don't know anyone in the Valley having much fun now." because of all the previous?

"good compensation with potential for wall street sized upsides," whats the job though ;)


Total Posts: 1147
Joined: Jun 2007
Posted: 2019-08-02 16:17
Agree with jslade on the OR stuff.

IMHO there are a lot of fascinating problems in manufacturing, supply chain management and logistics. A combination of forecasting, risk management, planing and optimization or even game theory...sometimes coupled with challenging computational restrictions (lattency, availability and even limited cpu or memory).

"Data Science" and more important machine learning are very very relevant and powerfull tools here and OR engineer should know about. But so are simulation, classical statistical and mathematical modelling and numerics.

I do this stuff for a living. I love finance, but I am more interested in it, when it is part of a more "physical" systems, like in commodities.

Ich kam hierher und sah dich und deine Leute lächeln, und sagte mir: Maggette, scheiss auf den small talk, lass lieber deine Fäuste sprechen...


Total Posts: 381
Joined: Jan 2015
Posted: 2019-08-02 16:55
FaceApp is a pretty good reminder that it's still quite possible to make it huge in tech without touching the Silicon Valley nexus. All of those downsides are mostly avoidable by being lean enough to do without VC lucre, and the loss of autonomy that comes with it.

It's just tough to forego because the funding flows so freely. But most startups with $3 million seed rounds could pretty much do the same thing by rotating through $20k credit card limits. That probably means paying early early stage employees with actually decent stock options to keep salaries low, relocating outside the insanely priced tech center metros, writing C instead of javascript, and not paying through the nose for hyped up cloud-based serverless crap.

The way it looks, the FANG/VC/SV ecosystem is today's version of IBM circa 1975. Nobody could imagine a future of computing that wasn't dominated by Big Blue. Until it happened, then it seemed obvious in hindsight. Today's tech giants have built Robber Baron like monopoly juggernauts. But at it's core it's all built on top of the most decentralized platform in the history of the world. That's a house of sand if I've heard of one. There's no way that business model survives in the long-run. The walled gardens are a lot more pregnable than they look.

Right now, this generation's Apple Computer is in a garage somewhere. That garage almost certainly isn't in Palo Alto, and Andreesen Horowitz definitely won't be in at the ground floor. If you're young, insanely ambitious, and want to light the world on fire, imagine some version of 2030 where Google, Facebook or Amazon have been rendered irrelevant. Now figure out, how do we get from here to there?

Good questions outrank easy answers. -Paul Samuelson

The Doc

Total Posts: 9
Joined: Jun 2019
Posted: 2019-08-03 01:39
Some points from all of you:

1. You all mentioned commodities.
Yeah. Nobody gives a f anymore. They take those things for granted. They are busy with their insta stories. They all think Zuck is spying them too. lmao. You can look at the prices though. Metals are stable (dropping in very slow rates). Everyone is waiting for China to boom again lmao. Even battery metals are not climbing. Ags can be interesting but only for specialised crops where the margins are huge but volumes tiny. Energy is oversupplied. Oil consumption is peaking in like 10 years (my guess, i could be wrong but you get my point). As for gas, we produce so much that in SOME cases its price is negative (imagine being a commodity with negative price lol). People are paying others to take it in USA (cause of fracking, now thats a fiasco too, but w/e). Trump is begging EU to take his LNG. I remember when i was 10yo we had power and gas crises. Now its all stable. It takes the excitment out of the game. If you are talking about drilling or production engineering, then yeah, that could be interesting but it might get boring after a while. Still money to be made in commodity trading but i thing the era of commodities is over. Change my mind :)

2. @EspressoLover: FaceApp? That shit is already dead. They probably made big bucks during the week that thing was relevant. But thats not an argument.
"But at it's core it's all built on top of the most decentralized platform in the history of the world." Having decentralised platforms got them where they are. Its a much better experience for the user imo. Maybe you are old school, or im just stupid...
"how do we get from here to there?" Hmm, we dont?
People keep saying "markets are cyclical". Stop it. Use this instead "markets WERE cyclical". I got your point with IBM in 70s but its not relevant anymore. Its like using historical data to predict prices. Useless.
Very interesting poionts about VC. Can you expain this more?

3. @Maggette: Isnt the current state of ML (or at least 80% of it), image recognition, and NLP? The only big think i see coming out from this, is the self driving car. Oh, and very good smartphone camera software/firmware. As for operations and manufacturing, those processes are being optimised for decades. Nothing new or groundbreaking here.

4. @jslade: Agree with the culture in tech. I cringe even with myself sometimes. Space is cool but since its nothing out there i would say its boring. Oh, and you are entirely government funded (i wouldnt like that). Can you explain ops research? Sounds interesting, but my mind goes to boring stuff. Are you talking about manufacturing or tech?

5. @sigterm: So cloud is the future or the present?

- What do you guys think about a career in sales? Maybe sales engineering/tech sales? Maybe people are tired of the typical salesman and want more customised and faster solutions. Money can be good as far as i know but quite boring.

- There are some interesting uses of ML and DS in the finance industry that im interested in. Im talking about private markets though (public markets are kinda dead - dying).
There are some uses in the gaming industry too but its not paying very well xd.
Any opinions about those?

You can make good money by writing code that replaces humans or shittier code. - Me

Thank you all for sharing info and spending your time to respond!!! Sry for bad english..
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