I take a lot of free “continuing education” classes through Coursera – to be broadly interpreted as “oh, that looks interesting”. I’ve taken VLSI classes (a minor of mine in undergrad), thermodynamics, Greek and Roman mythology, Greek history, EU law, etc. It lets me learn new things in a “structured” environment without paying anything. I’d be a perpetual student if funds would allow, but Coursera comes pretty close.
I wanted to let you all know about the Computational Investing class that just started yesterday (August 26, 2013). I’ve listened to the first set of lectures, and I’ve already learned more about the markets than I ever knew – like how a market price is set. The viewpoint that the class is taught from is that you want to be a hedge fund manager, and now you’ve got to figure out how to do that. The prerequisites are pretty low if you’ve got any programming skills: interest in the stock market, and programming skills. I haven’t run into the programming requirements yet. I know they’re in Python, which isn’t one of my stronger languages (C all the way!), but I haven’t delved into any of the assignments yet. Dad is an expert Python programmer, so I expect to need to ask for help at some point.
The professor covers how the stock market works, what incentives managers have, and how to measure performance (so far). I know how to figure out standard deviation of a fund now, so I can apply Modern Portfolio Theory more rigorously and figure out the right risk/reward for us. I don’t intend on changing too much of our portfolio at this point, but I’m taking in all of this knowledge like a firehose. I think it’s fun (others may disagree with me). The “end project” seems to be a market simulator with which you can play with various strategies.
Are you taking Computational Investing? Are you enjoying it as much as I am?