The hottest and coldest programming languages in banking right now

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The list of the most in-demand programming languages in banking isn’t all that much of a surprise. Most every developer can rattle off the first three or four and may even get the order right. However, knowing which ones will be utilized the most in the future is a much more difficult task.

To get a better idea, we looked at all the tech-related jobs that every big bank posted in the U.S. and the U.K. in October of this year and cross referenced them against a list of the most popular programming languages in banking, courtesy of analytics provider Burning Glass. We then compared the percentage of tech openings that listed those languages as a prerequisite to the same data from October of 2017. Some programming languages are just as hot as they were last year; the popularity of others have shifted somewhat dramatically considering the relatively short time frame and the large sample size.

As you can see, Java remains the go-to programming language in banking, with more than 40% of all tech-related job postings including it as a required skill – the same number as last year. Banks appearing particularly desperate for Java developers include Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan; roughly 45% of their tech postings contain the word Java.

However, Python has made a huge leap over the last year. More than 23% of new tech jobs are asking for Python experience, up from 19% a year ago. Roughly one-third of tech openings at Barclays list Python as a required skill. Credit Suisse actually has more openings mentioning Python than Java. Other firms that require Python more often than competitors include Citi, Bank of America and UBS, with the latter two relying less on Java than the rest of the industry.

While the use of Python at big banks has increased progressively over the last decade, this year’s jump may be partially due to the fact that non-developers have recently begun utilizing it. Python’s unique modeling capabilities and relative ease of use have caught the eye of analysts, traders and researchers, who now use it in their own work. In fact, Citigroup just started offering Python coding classes to banking analysts and traders as part of its continuing education program. Perhaps banks are catching on and are now hoping more non-tech candidates come in with Python experience.

While Python job openings have increased, so have the number of candidates. In research conducted earlier this summer using our own database, we found there were 26 candidates with Python experience for every related job, up from 14 in December of 2016. Competition is on the rise.

Meanwhile, one of the “colder” programming languages in C#, which has seen a drop in demand due to new requirements in the current trading landscape. “C# is still in use but now pretty much only for quanty, low-latency things,” said Christian Glover Wilson, vice president of technology and strategy at Tigerspike. However, top C# developers often demand greater salaries than some of their colleagues due to the type of work, he said.

***Banks that were included in the research: Bank of America, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Nomura and UBS.

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