I decided to learn how to write code because I thought it would help me to do some parts of my job more efficiently. I have a dual role as an investment advisor and fixed income research analyst. The analyst piece of what I do requires a lot of data work, going through financial statements, calculating various ratios, pulling market prices, ect. to determine if a bond might be over or under valued, or if a company might be close to a credit upgrade or downgrade. Almost all of the data I tend to look at is available digitally and can be delivered through APIs so I knew it was possible to pull data, do calculations automatically, and create some output. I just didn’t know how to make it happen.
After researching a few options I decided to learn python, starting with Codecademy’s python course then building a few projects through trial and error. The course was a nice foundation and it gave me the confidence get started. Since then I’ve been able to create a few work related applications that are huge time savers. For example, at the end of every year I go through my firm’s bond holdings and calculate the amount of investment exposure we have to each issuer. This was a manual process and took a few hours to complete. Now I have a script that automates this and takes just a few seconds to run.
My coding journey has now led me to start a few projects in addition to my primary work, most notably PILLR, which is meant to be a convenient way for python developers to make their applications run faster. It pulls files from a GitHub repository, converts them to a faster executable format, and sends the end result to the user. Building it involved learning a lot of unfamiliar technologies and making them work together. The process of creating it was challenging, satisfying, and it would have been unimaginable for me just a few short years ago.