Quant traders use strategies based on quantitative analysis—mathematical computations and number crunching—to find trading possibilities that can involve hundreds of thousands of securities.
An aspiring quant trader needs to be exceptionally skilled and interested in all things mathematical—if you don't live, breathe and sleep numbers, then this is not the field for you.
A bachelor's degree in math, a masters degree in financial engineering or quantitative financial modeling or an MBA are all helpful for scoring a job; some analysts will also have a Ph.D. in these or similar fields.
Lacking an advanced degree, a candidate should at least have on the job training and experience as a data analyst; experience with data mining, research, analysis, and automated trading systems are a must.
Traders also need soft skills, such as the ability to thrive under pressure, maintain focus despite long hours, withstand an intense, aggressive environment and stomach setbacks and failures in pursuit of success.