If you haven’t coded before
Read the experience of some students below who started with limited coding background.
Value you’ll get from this course¶
uses all methods and skills from our objectives
can be on your resume
teaches peers/myself something
demonstrates accumulated finance knowledge
shows off ability to deliver reports/work product that bosses love
several new skills employers pay $$$ for
two completed projects showing off those skills (which employers pay $$$ for)
personal website showing off your work
If you haven’t already, I STRONGLY encourage you to visit and use the tips, help, and resources in the Finance Department’s job hunt coursesite page. If you can’t access that page, let me know, and I’ll give you the secret handshake to get in.
Experience you can take to interviews (see the student stories below!)
You’ll view hard problems as solvable instead of intimidating
What previous students say¶
“This class is the real deal - it teaches you the skills you need to succeed at solving data-driven problems. The course has a brilliant focus on practicality, and all of the things you’ll be doing here are being used today in the real world. I’ve used the skills I developed in this course probably over a dozen times since the class finished, including both personal projects and 400-level CSE courses, and it’s opened up a huge number of doors for me professionally.
“The job market is only getting more and more competitive, and having Python with a collection of popular data science tools at your disposal will help you stand out tremendously. If there’s one thing that the pandemic has shown us, it’s that the technology will only continue to grow in importance - and by taking this class, you’re putting yourself on the right side of that curve.”
“Fin 377 was undoubtedly the most interesting and useful class I took at Lehigh. I began the class with essentially no coding background, and finished with the skills to text scrape 10-K’s, build regression models, a strong understanding of packages such as pandas and numpy, in addition to a finished research data science project that I’ve been able to leverage in every interview I’ve had since (regardless of the type of firm). This class inspired me to pursue a Master’s in Financial Mathematics at UChicago, where these skills have been instrumental to my success. In fact, I have used them in every single class I have taken so far! As I had no coding experience going in, Fin 377 was challenging, but in a rewarding, inspiring, and exciting sense. If you put in the work, you will emerge from this class with an abundance of quantitative skills that are key within the industry.”
“FIN377 prepared me for much of what I have been asked to work on in my masters program, and provided me with core skills that have allowed me to excel in many of my analytics classes. Even more crucial, the course’s projects have allowed me to speak intelligently about data science and analytics in interviews with prestigious investment, consulting, and financial technology firms. I can confidently say, the class is one of the most rewarding offered at Lehigh.”
“Knowing Python is definitely an important skill for any job in business, especially financial services. Python can be used for many different types of analyses and is getting used almost as much as Excel. Especially for larger datasets, Python is much more efficient and saves time. In my current role, I use Python frequently for analyzing loan tapes/performance data for ABS deals, running collateral stratifications, and more. I am one of the few people in the group who knows Python, which has proven to be extremely beneficial for me, especially as a first year analyst trying to add value. In this class, you get exposure to various libraries in Python. As the semester progresses, you’ll notice how things build on each other and be able to experience a lot of what Python can do and how powerful it is. When the final project comes around, it’s nice to be able to see all of the skills you’ve learned come together. At the end of the semester, I definitely felt accomplished, that I had acquired a lot of new skills and was in a good position to apply what I had learned to any job/continue to build upon my Python knowledge.”
“I came into the class with some experience with coding, but with very limited knowledge of Python. However, after leaving this class, I had a much firmer grasp on the program and how to use it to my benefit. I especially enjoyed how this class was so interactive and relied upon working with my peers. From day 1 in my real-world job in the financial products analytics field, I realized just how valuable this knowledge can be, especially since data analytics and coding is our world’s future!”
“I wanted to give you an update on the work I am doing at Ernst & Young in relation to what you taught me through Fin 377. I am currently using Python (specifically pandas, maybe some ML down the line) to develop an algo for trade spoofing detection. Its in the very beginning stages, but hopefully something good comes of it. I am also going to be doing some work soon using Python and SQL to do large scale data manipulation for anti-money laundering purposes. There’s also a huge emphasis on data visualization - the higher ups aren’t in the weeds but what to see at a high level what the data is showing in any easy to see dashboard. Its crazy how the first question I am always asked when I say I know python is if I have experience with Pandas and Numpy – which I can now answer yes to!”
“While interviewing for jobs nowadays, you no longer stand out as a candidate for being excellent in excel or Microsoft office; everyone has that skill set. The ability to have coding languages on your resume not only allows you to differentiate yourself in more traditional finance interviews, but it can also broaden your job prospects to all sorts of data science roles. This course is so valuable since it combines a solid finance foundation with far more versatile ways to interpret, analyze, and visualize data in python. I didn’t have any real coding experience going into this course, but Professor Bowen moves the class at a pace that allows less experienced people to stay up to date while still challenging students as everyone catches up to speed. The open-ended nature of the final project also allowed me to explore a topic that legitimately interests me, and I talked about it in multiple interviews. While the class can be difficult at points, Professor Bowen teaches it in an incredibly manageable way while challenging you to think about new ways to solve problems.”
“FIN 377 is a practical, challenging, and accessible class. Having completed the class, I was able to directly apply the techniques taught in it to projects I have since become involved in as a graduate financial engineering student. From basic exploratory data analysis to the intro to Natural Language Processing techniques, everything taught in class has had a direct and fundamental role in everything I do with Python today. The things you will learn in this class will stay with you. The projects I am working on (constructing an index similar to the S&P 500, and NLP on 10-Ks) would not have made it far without what I learned in this class.
“The lectures are interactive and fun, the resources made available are vast, and the projects/assignments are challenging yet extremely rewarding. I will continue to recommend this class to every Lehigh student interested in the overlap between data science and finance.”
“Each time someone asks me what my favorite class has been at Lehigh, I answer with FIN377 without hesitation.
“As someone with an interest in both tech and finance, this course gives practical, hands-on experience on important tools emerging across both of these fields: including topics within machine learning, data science, and predictive analytics. Not only is the course itself well-organized and filled with interesting lectures and projects, but is challenging enough so that you’ll not only learn information, but retain it. This class allowed me to realize what kind of work I would be passionate about, prepared me for future interviews, internships and jobs, and gave me knowledge to pursue personal projects I am still working on nearly 2 years after class. Professor Bowen himself is also a great resource - he genuinely cares about each student’s success in the classroom and will take the time to work with you on difficult assignments. If any of the above sounds remotely interesting, take the class!”
“FIN377 was by far my favorite class at Lehigh. I felt as though it was the most applicable to real life. Finance and technology cannot be separated and this class is a great example of that. Learning about machine learning and natural language processing has been incredibly useful at my job at EY because it taught me how to pick up new dev skills on the go. At EY, I’m on the blockchain team so the understanding of finance and where tech fits in is incredibly important, and this class has set me up for success as it exposed me to new skills every single week and helped me develop the ability to be agile, find something I’m interested in, and learn about it on my own. Would highly recommend it for anyone who wants to be successful in the finance world.”