Which Practical Skills Module to Choose at CFA® Level I ?

You have recently enrolled in the CFA® Level I exam and are wondering which practical skills module to choose. This article is for you !

CFA Institute introduced practical skills modules in the 2024 program to closely address the needs of the job market by adding a practical aspect to the curriculum. These are video training modules with knowledge-check quizzes, simulation exercises, or practical cases to complete in order to obtain your exam results (within 5-7 weeks after the exam). It takes approximately 15 to 20 hours to complete these practical skills modules.

For CFA® Level I candidates in 2024, two options are available: Financial Modeling and Python Programming Fundamentals.

All About CFA® Level I Practical Skills Modules :

Financial Modeling module :

Skills in financial modeling have become essential for pursuing a career in finance. Models synthesize a huge amount of information, enabling you to make better investment decisions. However, the model can only be effective if you master it; it's the user's technical know-how, understanding of the business, and ability to design or improve the model that determine its effectiveness!

In the financial modeling module, you will learn to build financial models with three- statements. You'll discover best practices, the steps in model design, and enhance your Excel skills through practical cases.

Prerequisites: To take the Financial Modeling module, it is recommended for candidates to have a basic understanding of financial modeling principles or to have completed the content of the Financial Statement & Analysis program at Level I.

Additional details and a demonstration video can be found on the CFA Institute website here : https://www.cfainstitute.org/programs/cfa/financial-modeling

Python Programming Fundamentals module :

More and more employers expect their teams to have knowledge of Python. Python is the most widely used language for machine learning, artificial intelligence, and big data projects in the field of Data Science due to its efficiency, versatility, and scalability.

In the Python Programming Fundamentals module, you will explore the basics of Python and how to use Jupyter Notebooks to develop, present, and share data science projects related to finance. Throughout this module, you will quickly develop your coding skills by practicing on dozens of industry-specific examples. By the end of this module, you will have the tools needed to immediately apply what you have learned.

Prerequisites: To take the Python programming module, it is recommended to have a basic knowledge of the CFA Level I quantitative methods content.

Additional details can be found on the CFA Institute website here : https://www.cfainstitute.org/programs/cfa/python-programming-fundamentals

So, which module is more suitable for you ?

The choice between the Financial Modeling module and the Python Programming Fundamentals module largely depends on your career goals, personal interests, and the job market requirements of the finance industry.

Here are some factors to consider to help you decide :

Career Goals :

If your primary goal is to work in roles related to financial analysis, financial planning, or portfolio management, the financial modeling module might be more relevant.

If you are considering areas such as quantitative finance, risk management, or financial data science, the Python Programming Fundamentals module might be more suitable.

Skills :

You may choose to strengthen and deepen your existing knowledge in one of the two modules or decide to explore a new topic. If you choose a module with concepts you are unfamiliar with, don't forget to check the prerequisites.

Market Requirements :

Research the market requirements in your region or the financial sector in which you plan to work. Some companies may value financial modeling more, while others may prioritize programming skills, especially in Python.

Personal Interests :

Choose the topic that you are more excited about ! You will have worked hundreds of hours on your CFA® preparation already, so you should go for a module that is fun for you. This typically leads to better results and increased professional satisfaction.

In the end, it can be beneficial to consult industry professionals, mentors, or colleagues for more personalized advice. Regardless of your choice, both skills—financial modeling and Python programming—are extremely valuable and can open up interesting professional opportunities.

If you are not yet enrolled in the CFA® exam and wish to train yourself or your teams on these topics, feel free to contact us !

Source : CFA Institute

What changes for the CFA® exam in 2024?
We had announced back in March that we were expecting major changes to the CFA® program for 2024. These changes have now been unveiled by CFA® Institute, and we are glad to share the details with you.