2016: Year in Review

I started EnlistQ in December 2014 as a way for me to express my thoughts and to reinforce technical concepts that I was learning (on my job or elsewhere). This is the first time I have thought of doing a review of my year. It probably has to do with the fact that a lot has changed this year – EnlistQ, my personal and professional life, and the World! All these changes convinced me to take a step back and look at what I have accomplished this year.

Let’s begin!

I started coding in Python

It’s always nice when you pick up an important skill and this year, for me, that was coding in python. Last year, I had started dipping my toes into the world of python but it was this year that I really got into it. I started watching Python videos (there are so many of them!), writing blog posts about python, doing side projects in python and even working in python! In fact, my most popular post so far was my last post about writing idiomatic python.

Speaking of side projects, my first project in python was for analyzing my portfolio. I wanted to take my transactions and use market data from Yahoo! to track my portfolio’s performance. My second project, which I am still working on, is called Mercurial (github) and is a framework for writing a strategy, backtesting it, analyzing it and finally, executing it via Interactive Brokers.

I am doing more and more programming in python at work. It always helps to be able to use the language at work in a real production environment than just side projects.

I started following the market

This year I really got into making sure I knew what was happening in the market. I started reading the news daily in the morning during my commute and following important financial websites. If there was an article which I liked but didn’t have time for, I would save it via Pocket and read later. Knowing the current state of the market really helped me do a better job at work. For example, knowing about the FOMC and when FOMC statements will be released allowed me to be cautious of market volatility.

There are many alternatives out there to stay up-to-date with the market but my favorite is SeekingAlpha’s daily newsletter. It provides highlights of all the important events happening around you. I highly recommend you create an account and sign up for their daily newsletter.

 

I started trading

Raise your hand if you work in the financial industry and have been thinking of trading but never did. There are so many restrictions and rules to be aware of that it can get overwhelming. This year, I told myself I will take care of all of that and start trading. And, I did. Once you are finished with the initial setup, it is really not that overwhelming. If you have been thinking about it like I had, I recommend making it your new year’s resolution!

As a side note, I would like to mention that trading and following the market compliment each other very well. It’s definitely helpful to know what’s happening in the market when you are trading. For example, don’t buy a commodity ETF right before an FOMC announcement (here is why).

I read ‘a lot’ of books!

I have always enjoyed reading but it’s so difficult to pick up a book and start. But once I start, I love it and can’t wait to read another one. It’s very much like going to the gym – which I need to start doing soon! I have mainly focused on financial books this year because I enjoy the topic and they are very related to my daily job. It’s a win-win situation. Here are the books (and their reviews) I read this year:

  • Fooled by Randomness – taught me about how everything in life is more random than you think!
  • The Quants – taught me about how famous quants of our time came to be who they are today!
  • Flash Boys – taught me about high frequency trading and different types of market orders.
  • Too Big To Fail – taught me about the complexity of the financial crisis.
  • Dark Pools – taught me about ECNs and background of stock exchanges.

If I had to pick, I enjoyed Too Big To Fail the most. At first, I was put off by the length of the book but I slowly started appreciated every single detail that was presented in the book. It is fantastic piece of work by Andrew Ross Sorkin.

I started organizing my thoughts and goals

Everyone should have some goals. However, things can get out of control easily and you can end up with too many goals and your mind can be cluttered with thoughts. This year, I learnt to organize my thoughts/goals and prioritize them. All of my goals are important to me but not all of them need to be achieved in a year or two. Many can wait a bit. I learnt to focus on goals that matter now.

Finally,

2016 was a year of change. The world changed a lot and so did I (in a good way hopefully). Thank you to all who have been following my blog and who have left comments or sent me messages separately about my blog. I wish you all the best in 2017! Happy new year!

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