There are three key skill sets that will be in high demand in workers of the future. These are higher cognitive skills, social and emotional skills and technological skills. A successful career as a “quant” requires all three. Thus individuals who can fill these roles are increasingly in high demand in the world of work. But what exactly is a “quant”?
Quants are, generally, people who studied maths, statistics, physics, economics, engineering or computer science. They fill roles in which they model, visualise, analyse, interpret and explain data to inform critical business decisions. Quants have, and use, the three critical skill sets of the future to do this work well.
Critical skills for Quants
- Higher cognitive skills. These skills include advanced literacy and writing, quantitative and statistical skills, critical thinking and complex information processing.
- Social and emotional skills. These include advanced communication and negotiation, empathy, the ability to learn continuously, to manage others and to be adaptable.
- Technological skills. These embrace everything from basic to advanced IT skills, data analysis, engineering and research.
Using these skills allows Quants to work with data and models in order to:
- Find the hidden insights large volumes of data.
- Tell the story of business analytics to the wider organisation in a way that decision makers can easily understand.
- Use the data story to inform sound business decisions.
Quants often sort through messy and unstructured data to provide good clean data that other people can use for their work by developing and constructing technology architecture (like databases and data-processing systems) or developing and implementing complex mathematical and computer models that help make decisions, reduce risk, and contribute to an organisation’s profits.
A rapidly emerging career
What makes Quant careers “emerging careers” is this combination of highly analytical and technical skills with the ability to communicate well, empathise with other people and adapt quickly to change. Traditionally, technical and analytical skills have been seen as separate from social and emotional skills. A technical person often wasn’t required to have very good social skills, and people with good social skills were seldom expected to be technical and analytical as well.
As the world of work changes, though, so individuals who can combine good social, technical and analytical skills are becoming more and more important. The ability to think critically and solve problems creatively is critical in dealing with Big Data and advancing technology such as AI and Machine Learning. At the same time, understanding how these changes affect human beings and being able to communicate, negotiate and ultimately gain support from those human beings to act on data insights and changing technologies will make the difference between successful projects and failed ones. This is the world of the Quant.
Whether your career interests lie in analysing data, constructing solutions, innovating, interrogating complex data sets or using data to inform decision making, there’s a Quant career path for you.