Same Skills – Different Goals: How Successful Investor And Author, Andrew Aziz, Went From Being Jobless To An Exciting New Career

Written in partnership with DN News Desk

Andrew AzizPhoto Credit: Andrew Aziz

“My Dreams and Ego Were Crushed”

In 2015, Andrew Aziz thought he had found his dream job. An honor graduate with a Ph.D. in clean technology, he was working on the development of hydrogen fuel energy and had been recognized for his high-impact journal publications and patents. His career goal was to help the automotive industry to move away from fossil fuel and towards a clean, pollution-free alternative. It was something he could see himself doing for the rest of his working years.

Then his employer dropped a bombshell by announcing that it was abandoning that area of research. Aziz and his colleagues were given severance packages and shown the door. After 23 years of study and research in his chosen field, he knew that nanotechnology jobs were hard to find, and he was emotionally devastated. He recalls, “When I lost my job, my dreams and ego were crushed.”

Like many people, Andrew Aziz was familiar with the concept of transferable skills, but also like many people, he didn’t think it would ever apply to him. He was about to find out how much it would.

A Different Path

Hoping to find a different career path that would restore his enthusiasm and self-respect, he decided to try developing a new job out of something he was already doing as a hobby – day trading on the financial market. At first, that venture went very badly. Within the first few months, he had lost over $10,000, including all of his savings and his severance package.

But Aziz was not deterred. “I have a Ph.D. and have plenty of experience in research,” he reminded himself, “so I will just work hard to learn everything I can about trading. Research and learning – that’s what my Ph.D. is all about.” He picked up a very ordinary day job to cover his living expenses and spent most of his personal time learning how to trade. He started waking up at 5 a.m. so he could actively trade the market from 6:30 to 8:00 before leaving for work at 9 a.m.  He devoted much of his evening and weekend time to studying online sources, books, and periodicals to learn even more about trading.

Acquiring as much knowledge as he could about the stock market was not a quick or simple task. He eventually spent two years on his self-assigned curriculum, utilizing the analytical training he had gone through in his doctoral program to reconfigure himself from a professional engineer into a professional stock trader. There were certainly some hurdles to jump, but as time went on, he was gratified to see that his beliefs in the transferability of skills were being confirmed, and that reason, logic, patterns, and numbers were, in a sense, part of a universal language.

Transferable Skills

Numerous books and articles have been published about transferable or portable skills – abilities that can be useful in various work settings as well as academically and socially, and many prospective job seekers have attended courses and workshops on the topic. Although there are numerous listings of what these skills are, most include such work-related skills as technological literacy, teamwork, organization, multitasking, critical thinking, and communication, as well as such personal qualities as dependability, adaptability, human relations, creativity, and leadership.

The particular skills that can be usefully transferred from one type of career to another will vary, of course, with each situation. Andrew Aziz needed to develop a high level of working knowledge about all aspects of day trading.  Fortunately, his research skills, even though they had originally been applied to chemical engineering, had an element of universality that made them applicable to many other fields, including, in his case, the stock market.

Although day traders appear to be working alone, they are actually part of a community of traders, so the skills for working with others that Aziz had learned over the years were clearly relevant. He would soon become a mentor for thousands of other traders around the globe.

“Same Skills, Different Goal”

Trading stocks is notoriously complicated, which keeps a lot of people from really learning to trade,” Aziz says. “I explained the process of trading in the ‘If A, then B’ format that I learned while getting my doctorate. It was a lot like creating my dissertation. Same skills, different goals.”

Today Andrew Aziz is a Canadian trader, proprietary fund manager of Peak Capital Trading with net worth assets of $20 million, a successful investor, and #1 best-selling author. He has ranked as one of the top 100 authors in the “Business and Finance” category for over four consecutive years (2016 to present). Aziz recently published his fifth book: Mastering Trading Psychology, and it’s already a best seller on Amazon. His previous books have been translated into eight languages and have sold over 250,000 copies worldwide. Aziz is the CEO and founder of the multimillion-dollar companies Peak Capital Trading and Bear Bull Traders and a valued mentor to thousands of other traders.

“Using What I Already Had, Just in a New Way”

“I went from Point A (nanomolecular engineering) to Point B (successful stock trader and author) by using what I already had, just in a new way,” Andrew Aziz says.

Even though he is now working in a field that is very different from electrochemical engineering, he doesn’t consider the five years of his life that he invested in a Ph.D. to have been a waste of time and money. He points out that he is now able to apply the skills he used in engineering to his new career in stock trading.

“On the surface, I had been developing nanotechnology. But underneath, my real ‘skill’ was research. Give me any topic in the world, and I could become an expert,” Aziz explains.