The five hottest programming languages to know in banking technology
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by Paul Clarke

Recruitment of developers into investment banking isn’t exactly buoyant currently, but certain skill-sets remain in demand and, in some cases, difficult to find. Here are our top five.

1. JavaIt may not be particularly new or illuminating to say this, but Java remains king in investment banking. Our own figures show that there are nearly three times as many roles requesting Java than any other programming language, and banks like Nomura, Morgan Stanley, UBS and Macquarie are all currently hiring. Recruiters suggest there’s something of a talent war for a select group of elite Java developers with relevant financial product knowledge.

“Java has been the most in-demand development skill for over 18 months and, while there’s a good pool of talent available, most banks are keen to bring in the best as they move upgrade their front end systems,” said Martin Rennison, head of investment banking IT at recruiters The JM Group.

2. PythonFor developers with a background in object oriented programming languages like Java and C#, getting to grips with Python shouldn’t prove a huge leap of faith. However, as more investment banks have started using it, something of a skills shortage is developing, suggest recruiters. J.P. Morgan has been a long-term advocate of Python, as has Bank of America Merrill Lynch and both are currently hiring developers.

“Banks are under pressure to develop a lighter framework, rather than stick with a huge code base, and Python is much more agile than other object oriented programming languages in that regard,” said Andrew Keene, director of IT in finance recruiters Thomson Keene. “There has been a big uptick in development roles requesting Python in the last six months.”

3. HadoopA few banks, notably Morgan Stanley, announced their intention to use Hadoop to tackle the growing issue of Big Data last year. Hadoop is an open source software platform that allows firms to analyse large data sets, accurately and without the prospect of crashing. In the past few months, banks have started asking for knowledge of the software in job descriptions, suggest recruiters.

“Banks want to manipulate Big Data for commercial reasons, as well as accurately report for regulatory requirements and this is driving demand for technologists with Hadoop skills,” said Keene.

4. C++C++ may have lost some its shine as more banks turned to Java, but in the quant developer space, it remains one of the most in demand skills, said Ben Cowan, director of recruiters Astbury Marsden.

“Banks are looking to tie quant library development across multiple asset classes, and the primary programming language is C++. Quant developers with these skills remain in demand,” he said.

5. PHPAs banks look to upgrade their web platforms and develop more innovative digital products, they’re looking to poach PHP developers from digital agencies, suggests Rennison. As with most tech roles, persuading people to move from boutique tech firms into banks is proving to be a struggle.

“More and more banks are looking to develop trading apps for clients and staff, and develop cutting edge websites, and are targeting digital agencies for talent,” said Rennison.