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The six hottest programming languages to know in banking technology

05/09/2016

If you want to work in a banking technology role these days, it helps to know where the demand is. Yes, there may be plenty of jobs out there for certain skill-sets, but if the candidate market is saturated or the skills commoditized, the chances are your job will be sent to a lower cost destination.

With this in mind, we looked which programming languages are being asked for in major financial centres – through the jobs advertised on eFinancialCareers – and how many candidates on our CV database possessed these skills.

Based upon this analysis, these are the hottest programming languages to know in the financial sector right now.
1. Python: 6.8 candidates for every available job

The rise of Python in investment banking has been rapid and widespread. Banks use Python for pricing, risk management and trade management platforms. More recently, they’ve been reprogramming their trading systems to run off Python rather than other, clunkier languages.

Most banks ask for Python in conjunction with Java. With or without Java, however, our stats suggest there aren’t that many Python jobs out there. – There are fewer jobs requiring Python skills than any other programming language. The good news is that candidates with Python skills are rarer still, with the result that the ratio of candidates to roles is very favourable (for candidates).
2. C++: 8.5 candidates for every available job

C++ has enjoyed something of a reversal of fortunes over the past 12 months, largely because of increased demand from less obvious sources, combined with the relative shortage of programming expertise.

“C++ is used in situations where speed is everything,” says Paul Elworthy, director of tech recruiter iKas. “We’ve seen more requirements not just from the large banks, but also high frequency trading and smaller prop trading houses.”
3. C#: 10.7 candidates for every job

Investment banks are bringing in C# WPF developers from the bottom up – offering packages for graduates willing to make the move into an investment banking tech role. They’re also hiring old hands to assist with everything from front-to-back projects to cross-asset class trading platforms.

“C# remains a sought-after skill-set in investment banking, but there’s a challenge finding people not just with the skills, but with the depth of knowledge that banks require,” says Paul Bennie, director of IT in finance headhunters Bennie MacLean.
4. Java: 15.3 candidates for every available job

Java is pre-eminent in investment banking, but as banks’ need for new developers diminishes, Java programmers have fallen out of fashion. This is a problem when, as has long been the case, there’s no shortage of people on the job market with the knowledge of Java.

The key now is to present both your domain expertise, along with any complimentary technology skills you may have.

The most employable Java candidates now are also well-versed in Scala and – increasingly in the Big Data-led world, Oracle’s Coherence, says Bennie.
5. SQL: 16.7 candidates for every available job

There are more technology jobs asking for knowledge of SQL than any other programming language in banking. Unfortunately, it’s often as a secondary requirement for other development roles and is coupled with a huge supply of candidates claiming to have knowledge of it.

“SQL is part of a developer’s tool-kit, not a core requirement,” says Bennie.
6. HTML 5: 23.4 candidates for every available job

Getting programmers on board who can develop mobile apps or online banking solutions in the retail space, or client-pleasing front ends for trading applications is a key concern for financial services firms. Unfortunately, knowledge of HTML5 is relatively commonplace.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that these jobs are easy to fill. “From a client perspective, demand has picked up for HTML5 and the issue a lot of banks face is not finding the skills, but finding people who can create the kind of scale needed by large financial institutions,” says Elworthy.

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